10 ways an independent shoe boutique used social media to drive sales through lockdown

Despite the Coronavirus pandemic forcing its bricks and mortar store to close back in March 2020, Cheltenham independent shoe retailer Keith Scarrott thrived through the first UK lockdown. By using the tools within Maybe* the SME 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 our social media engagement platform to continue to serve customers online from an existing and brand new customer base. We’ll share how they did using 10 steps to inspire and help you to do the same.

1. What was the business goal?

Keith Scarrott Shoes has one bricks and mortar boutique supported by a transactional website. Keith Scarrott knew they had to continue to trade and drive sales throughout the lockdown period in order to retain trade and grow business. And that is exactly what they did, doubling sales not only in April vs March 2020, but also doubling its year-on-year performance, despite the shop being closed.

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

2. Telling the Keith Scarrott story

Like many businesses, CEO Sophie Scarrott switched off all digital advertising, social media activity and email communications in the first week or so of the first lockdown. Instead she focused on engaging with the local community and telling the Keith Scarrott story. She responded to the increased anxiety surrounding the unknown, and the decreased need to receive non-essential communication.

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 found archive images of Cheltenham and the brand's footwear from years gone by taking locals on a trip down memory lane. She began to tell her business' story of the store's heritage of craftmanship and luxury and unique footwear across the business' social media accounts.

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

This approach ensured she was staying locally relevant and engaging, staying positive, rewarding and entertaining her community and telling her brand’s story.

When she saw her brand sentiment was in a positive place and customers were receptive to her message, the store unpaused its activity and got back to the business of selling, tentatively at first and then more confidently.

To help do this Sophie ensured she told her personal story of lockdown. She made sure customers knew it was her packing every order, ensuring she communicated updated delivery windows and stayed open, transparent and connected to manage expectations.


View this post on Instagram


🥂 WE ARE 45! 🥂 We hope you are keeping safe and well in these strange and unprecedented times. We wish we could bring you this message under brighter circumstances, but if this crisis has taught us anything, it is that we must revel in life’s positives and celebrate good news. - With this in mind, we are so proud to announce that 2020 marks the 45th anniversary of Keith Scarrott Shoes. - We’d like to take this opportunity to say a HUGE thank you for all your kind support of Keith Scarrott Shoes over the years. You are part of our history and we would not have achieved this amazing milestone without you. - Despite the social distance brought about by COVID-19, the world is more united than ever and that is why we are delighted to invite you to mark this amazing achievement with us. - In lieu of being able to celebrate with you face-to-face as we’d hoped, we would like to call upon our loyal customers, both old and new, to send in your favourite Keith Scarrott Shoes photos and stories throughout the years. - Whether you walked down the aisle in our ‘vintage’ heels back in the 80’s or you wore new boots to the Cheltenham Festival a few weeks ago, we want to see your photos and hear your stories (along with any background information such as dates and locations). - Anyone who sends in a photo either via email or by tagging us on social media, will be emailed a £10 discount code to spend online on our new full price collection as a token of our gratitude. On social media please tag us @keithscarrottshoes and use the hashtag #keithscarrottshoes. - Thank you so much for your continued support and we look forward to seeing your photos. Best regards Sophie and the team at Keith Scarrott PS - We’d like to get the ball rolling with this picture of my beautiful Mum, Vicky Scarrott, wearing black patent over the knee boots from one of our first photo shoots back in 1975.

A post shared by Keith Scarrott Shoes (@keithscarrottshoes) on

3. What did Keith Scarrott want its audience to do?

Keith Scarrott’s knew that it needed to continue to encourage customers to engage with it. By listening to the local conversation the business identified that  mums were stressed at home trying to juggle home schooling, so they offered a colouring contest to engage their audience. They knew mums needed a self treat, so they engaged them with a new trainer and a lower price point online so they could shop.

By knowing what worked for its local customers, and crucially what those customers needed, the business was able to keep communicating and selling to a larger customer base than it had before, without coming across as insensitive to the impact of the pandemic.

4. How did Keith Scarrott engage?

Throughout the first lockdown, Keith Scarrott prioritised engaging with the local community. The business re-shared content from other businesses and the local BID and council to show solidarity.

5. Who did Keith Scarrott need to engage?

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 home schooling, DIY jobs and constant requests for snacks.

In addition to help mums keep the little ones entertained, Keith Scarrott introduced a trainer colouring-in contest online. Offering art prizes for the kids and vouchers for the mums.

As well as increasing its online sales and attracting a new customer base, the business saw sentiment soar.


The Maybe* How They Feel report displaying the social media sentiment for Keith Scarrott from March 15 - April 28 2020

6. Where did Keith Scarrott need to engage and how did they do it successfully?

Knowing which social media channels your customers are on will help you focus your efforts in the right places.

Keith Scarrott used both Facebook and Instagram to engage customers, and used Twitter to re-share messaging, updates and news from the wider Cheltenham business community.

You can find out where your customers are by using the Maybe* Insight Builder to see which platforms your competitors or other local businesses are active on and driving the most engagement.

How to use the Maybe* Insight builder

7. Listen to your customers' conversations and learn about their distractions, pain and passion points

Keith Scarrott used Maybe* to listen to the conversation about their business, but also about the local place, Cheltenham. By doing this Keith Scarrott was able to gauge the local sentiment of the conversation and what headspace its customers were in.

Doing this helped the business know what social media content it should be posting and at what times of day its audience were receptive to sales messaging. Keith Scarrott also listened to the conversation the big national retailers were creating, and when they saw they had unpaused their sales messaging, they felt comfortable doing so themselves.

8. Get your advertising right

Knowing where its customers were, meant Keith Scarrott could advertise on the right platforms. In their case - Facebook. Using the Maybe* Ads Manager meant that when Keith Scarrott was ready to switch  its social advertising back on, they could optimise the ads that were performing and easily switch off any that weren’t.

The Maybe* Ads Manager also enabled them to see any comments on their ads, so that if they received any negativity about selling during lockdown, they could respond to feedback and make decisions whether to switch them off in an instant.

See how Keith Scarrott connected and managed its advertising

A couple of weeks into lockdown, Keith Scarrott chose to start advertising again. They did so when the sentiment of the conversation about them was positive and the engagement with their content was high enough to demonstrate customers were open to messaging.

As an extra sense check, Sophie wanted to know if any other brands had started to advertise again. You can check whether other businesses in your town or place, or your competitors have switched on advertising.

How to see whether your competitors or other businesses are advertising

9. What are your measures of success?

The Keith Scarrott boutique is one of our social media heroes. The business truly knows the value of engaging as well as focusing its content creation on what best inspires and engages it audience.

The Maybe* See What Works report for Keith Scarrott shoes showing the social media content posted by the business and the engagement with it

Using your report within Maybe*

If you want to know whether the engagement you are getting is good, bad or downright ugly, then we encourage you to use the Maybe* Insight Summary. Using this shows you exactly where and how you stack up against competitors or local businesses in your town so you can do more of what works.

How to use the Maybe* Insight summary

10. Has your business goal been achieved?

Like Keith Scarrott, you need to refer back to your original business KPI. The business knew it needed to make sales and continue to engage with customers. It used the Your Report feature within Maybe* to track all its social KPIs and the Ads Manager to see how sales were tracking, and adjusted its ads' performance accordingly.

Key takeaway

Keith Scarrott has thrived because as a business it is clear on what it needs to achieve, what its story is, who its audience is, what its audience needs, and what content best serves that audience and delivers on the business KPIs. It keeps its eye on what’s working well for its customers and engages in relevant conversations. By tracking sentiment Keith Scarrott knows exactly when is a good time to up communication and when it is right to advertise.

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 grow even in the most uncertain of times.

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