Why Marketing and Ecommerce Go Hand-in-Hand If You Want to Increase Your Digital Prowess

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“Who was the customer? What was the store of the future going to look like? Were we doing the right digital? Was our website where it needed to be? Asking those key questions, doing the key pieces of research that you need to do, is what really unlocked growth.”


Can something as small as changing the color scheme on your website lead to exponential growth? Well, it’s not quite that simple, but according to Sheila Erickson, Vice President, Marketing and E-Commerce at Slumberland Furniture, making basic, obvious changes is the key to unlocking a much larger opportunity to grow in all areas.

Key Insights


What does it take to grow ecommerce sales and conversion rates?

Removing common barriers is one of the easiest and quickest ways to unlock growth online. Offering always-free-shipping, not needing email sign-ups, etc., those are some of the obvious areas of friction that you should start with, and then have a test and learn policy with whatever other digital tactics you enable.

“How did we grow things so much? There were these barriers in place. They were things like, you had to have an email address to add something to the cart. We didn’t have free shipping. We weren’t doing enough smart retargeting. We weren’t incentivizing people to join our e-club. Et cetera. [There were] a lot of really basic barriers, and the amazing thing is, when you clean those up, you will really just enable and unlock growth.”

How do you connect to a younger generation or a new demographic?

You have to understand how your brand looks to the market and what message your marketing is sending. Look at the colors and language you use and figure out if those are attracting younger consumers. If not, make a change. You can have an impact quickly if you rethink your marketing mix.

“The place that I changed things that had the biggest impact the fastest was in the marketing mix. Your marketing mix is basically just what you’re spending against all of your marketing elements. And so when I got here, X amount of the spend was going against things that primarily reached older people — things like print insertions in your new newspapers and direct mail, and of course we did a lot of TV… Where we needed to be doing a lot more was email marketing, text marketing, connected TV, not just broadcast and cable, so every part of the marketing mix changed.”

How should smaller companies think about growing and doing research? 

After periods of intense growth it’s wise to do benchmark studies to understand where you are, what your competitive advantage is, and what steps to take next. 

“There’s a lot of things that the bigger, old established companies do that [smaller DTC brands] don’t need to do. I’m going to say you’ll know when the time is right… I’d say after periods of intense growth, that’s probably the time to say, ‘All right, let’s do some sort of benchmark study here…’ A basic brand benchmarking study, like tell me what are my competitive advantages versus my consumers. And if you find you don’t any, then you know you’re in trouble.”

About the Guest:

Sheila Erickson is the Vice President, Marketing and E-Commerce at Slumberland Furniture. She joined Slumberland Furniture in 2019. Previously, she was Vice President of Marketing at Simple Science, and President at Altus Marketing & Business Development.

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Episode 202