The Veldskoen is a perennial SA product, the sole of Africa, they didn’t let Covid19 unhinge their business – here’s what they learnt
In the last four months since lockdown was announced, the well-loved SA brand, Veldskoen has transformed into a digital agency, launched in six countries, and had their best month ever.
In a short brainstorm, Veldskoen decided to diversify and become an agency. They had effectively launched a digital business three years prior and had all the competence within the team to offer services and expertise to other small and medium size businesses.
When the management team saw the writing on the wall for the future of traditional retail, they mobilized their networks, harnessed technical capabilities and launched Veldskoen Italy, which will expand to another five countries shortly.
COO Driekie Zondagh shared the lessons the Veldskoen team has learned from this economy-crushing time.
The ‘lockdown’ word was barely out of the President’s mouth and the Veldskoen team were brainstorming, reinventing, cutting costs and reaching out to customers and suppliers.
They had launched a successful digital business three years prior and by using the depth of inhouse talent within the team, were able to re-purpose the business and offer our expertise as a digital agency to other retail businesses. Within a week, we’d produced a TV advertisement for Sportsman’s Warehouse using a big idea, stock photos and a voice over.
We immediately cut costs and added zero line items for Retail sales for the next four months and reduced figures for exports to our financial forecasts to ensure we were working with reality. We didn’t believe we were going back to ‘normal’ any time soon.
Digital is essential, irrespective of business.
We were ahead of traditional retail competitors. Because we were already digital, we had built a community and owned our customer information. Many retailers believe that above-the-line advertising and messages on a Facebook page is building community, but it’s not. We know our customers.
Engage with your audience and find other ways to talk directly to them.
Our team wrote every single client a personalised email which offered resources designed for families to stay sane and entertained during lockdown. It included links to kid’s stories, digital puzzles and games and included a discount code for a pair of shoes ordered during lockdown, with delivery to come later.
Our clients loved the personal interaction and we had our best on-line sales month without delivering a single one pair of shoes.
Run your business on the leanest expense line possible.
Examine every line item with the budget and eradicate what’s not essential.
Aim for multiple revenue streams. Don’t rely on one product, have more than one income stream. Our Covid19 pivot means we have income from the agency, which is 20% of our revenue.
Who you go to war with
Our team boasts talent, skills and a very high work ethic.
They have gone the extra mile, but without our accountants, Iridium Business I doubt we would record such success.
Aside from their fantastic accounting skills, they have introduced us to our inventory management system and dealt with the systems integration between the real stock system, our online store and accounting software.
They have ensured we’re 100% SARS compliant and have successfully claimed our TERS payments.
They are not your ordinary accountants, they’re an essential part of our team
Don’t take business for granted
Forecasted sales figures for 2020 were looking good. But five weeks of strict lockdown, no retail activities or exports have created a very different reality. Our belief in the business and the devastation that we see in all sectors is a constant reminder not to take business for granted.