How This Independent Shoe Retailer Generated 2x MORE Revenue During Lockdown — And How You Can Too

The boots may have been made for walking, but for Keith Scarrott Shoes, it was trainers with a personal, local touch that really marched out the door during the first lockdown - can they repeat the success third time round?

Despite the coronavirus pandemic forcing its bricks and mortar store to close during the first lockdown, Cheltenham independent shoe retailer Keith Scarrott thrived.

By using Maybe* the retailer more than doubled its month-on-month sales in April, and its year-on-year performance in 2020.

Over a short period of time the business was able to identify behavioural trends and effectively use social media to continue to serve customers online from an existing and brand new customer base.

Here's how they did it - and how you can, too.

"The Maybe* platform has been a real game-changer for our online proposition. We use it to understand who our audience is and what products will be of greatest interest to them".
Sophie Scarrott, CEO, Keith Scarrott Shoes

When Boots Aren't Made For Walking...

In mid-March, Cheltenham town centre was bustling with visitors for the Cheltenham festival.

But during the week commencing 15 March 2020, Keith Scarrott Shoes saw a massive decline in High Street footfall and increased store closures as the severity of the virus began to take hold.

So, CEO Sophie Scarrott made the heartbreaking decision to close the store. Her last day of trading was Saturday 21 March.

Like many businesses, Sophie switched off all digital advertising, social media activity and email communications just two days later, responding to the increased anxiety surrounding the unknown, and decreased need to receive non-essential communication.

And she waited.

sales data

Orders over time for Keith Scarrott comparing March and April in 2019 and 2020. 

During this brief pause in activity, Sophie recognised the need to stay connected to customers, the importance of supporting other local businesses in the area and creating positive and uplifting messages for its customers.

So she adapted the store's social media content strategy to reflect this new and sales-free approach.

During the exact same time, the business should have been celebrating a major milestone: its 45th anniversary. So Sophie made the decision to take its celebration digital, by launching a local social media campaign.

Sophie dug up some eye-popping relics: archive images of Cheltenham and the brand's beautiful footwear from years gone by. She began to weave the story of the store's rich heritage and its history of luxury and unique footwear on their social media accounts.

Sophie encouraged followers to send and share their own images of the styles customers had bought from them over the years, rewarding participation with personal replies and a £10 gift voucher.


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Making Smart Business Moves That Pay Off

Sophie's team were also sharing their favourite pieces from previous collections, as well as sneak peeks from the new, upcoming collection that was being readied for launch.

Keith Scarrott Shoes' powerful online presence appealed to their local shoe-worshipping buyers, and as the anxiety around selling over the lockdown period lessened, Sophie began to focus on the future.

She then made a bold decision -  Keith Scarrott Shoes was going to  launch its new summer collection online.

But Keith Scarrott Shoes wasn't new to using the Maybe* platform to help make smart business decisions. 

In 2019, Sophie used Maybe*  to help her understand the images and trends customers responded to most online, and used this data to influence its creative brand direction.

While in lockdown, Sophie couldn't organise a lifestyle photoshoot, so instead, she adapted. She busied herself with indoor product shots, set against vibrant summer colours with a playful and quirky twist.


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The Business of Being Personal During a Pandemic

By April 6, Sophie was ready to announce her new collection.

She made the decision to turn the business's messaging back on.

Sophie sent an email to her list announcing the new collection. She turned her social media advertising back on with a tiny ad spend of £10 per day.

Sophie decided to use social media and email to tell her personal story.

She openly communicated that she was working differently - and contactless delivery would be available with some limitations on delivery days and times.

Sophie limited her post run to twice per week, which would impact delivery times, with contactless delivery and reduced customer service hours.

By sharing how the situation had impacted her business as well as being honest about expectations, the business was able to still offer exceptional service to its shoe-loving customers.

By listening to the conversation about #Cheltenham in the Maybe* platform, as well as actively engaging with customers online, Sophie learned about the impact of the lockdown on people, especially mothers.

So in order to help keep little ones entertained, Sophie launched a trainer design and colouring contest online just for fun and re-shared the entrants' creations.

Every participant received a £10 voucher, while the top 4 received an art prize for the child and a £50 voucher for mum.


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Connecting With A New Audience

On 14 April, Sophie recognised an opportunity to connect with a new demographic: local mums.

She decided to launch a new trainer at a lower price point than its usual prices.

This provided mums with the opportunity to treat themselves as they grew weary from homeschooling, DIY jobs and constant requests for snacks.

As well as increasing its online sales and attracting a new customer base, the business has seen sentiment about it soar since the launch of its colouring contest and new trainer range.

Key Takeaway

As Keith Scarrott Shoes plans to increase its Facebook advertising spend using the Maybe* advertising tool, so that it can easily increase or decrease spend, and have crystal-clear insights into which ads are performing.

It will also monitor the sentiment of the conversation in the town and about the brand, so should there be any negativity about their trading, they can quickly respond to it. 

Sophie is continuing to shine a positive light via social media on other local businesses.

At a time of increased consumer activity and attention, a lot of businesses have decreased the amount of connection to their customers by stopping all social media posts.

Keith Scarrott Shoes is a great example of how, if managed sensitively and with insights, a retailer can trade through the crisis, connect with a new audience, and double their revenue.

Maybe* is here to help businesses stay connected to customers via its social media engagement tool. By providing social media and advertising insight tools, we can help your business respond and adapt quickly.

The Maybe* platform helps you manage your social media engagement from desktop or app. Get started for free.