How the Corona crisis catapulted Matas into the future

Meet one of our supernovas. Matas is of the best omnichannel retailers in Scandinavia.

Beauty and health retailer, Matas, benefited greatly from being digitally up-to-speed when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down Denmark.

Last year, Matas landed a third place in IMPACT’s Omnichannel Index, partly due to their willingness to enter new digital territory.

But if you had told E-commerce Director at Matas, Brian Andersen, pre-pandemic just how much new digital ground Matas would break in 2020 over the timespan of only a few months, he probably wouldn’t have believed you.

But the fact is, that when the corona virus locked down the Danish society, Matas reacted swiftly and launched several new innovative initiatives to cater to their customers from a distance.

Initiatives that altogether skyrocketed Matas’ digital sales.

The first thing we did after the announcement of the lock down was to set up a taskforce that analysed our opportunities in this new scenario. One of the things we looked into was what the retailers in China, that had performed well under their lock down, had done.

Brian AndersenE-commerce Director, Matas

This resulted in a massive focus on the online division of Matas’ business. In a matter of days, they had upgraded 80 of their most skilled in-store materialists and made them omnichannel-materialists.

“That shift enabled us to offer advice to our customers through a live chat on their tablet, computer or smartphone. So now the customers were suddenly able to get the somewhat same counseling experience online that they normally would have had in-store,” Brian Andersen explains.

matas-omnichannel

The first live chat was in text form, but Matas quickly thereafter also developed a video chat – originally roadmapped for next year. This video chat made it possible for the materialist to livestream directly from the Matas shop providing an even more lively experience for the shopper at home.

Initiatives result in impressive index score

Another initiative Matas launched in the wake of the virus was live online shopping events that had proved to be a major hit in China. At these, Matas customers gathered online and watched omnichannel-materialists, experts and relevant influencers present different topics within the field of beauty and health

At these events, the attending customers would ask questions and be in dialogue with the materialists and experts. Underway the mentioned product would appear on-screen and, if interested, you could add it to your event basket that was integrated with the customers basket on matas.dk.

Simultaneously, Matas also deployed more digital muscles to their digital skin test, which was a Matas initiative from last year that suddenly had become more relevant than ever, now that people were encouraged to stay at home – and a lot of Matas shops were closed.

Overall, the several new digital initiatives fared so well with the customer that Matas soon found themselves at a higher index than before the lockdown.

Hit COVID-19 at high speed

A question that arises when you learn about Matas’ merits amid the pandemic, is how the retailer unearthed both the guts and the capacity to react with such determination and speed in the wake of the unforeseen lockdown.

Brian Andersen explains:

At Matas, we had that great advantage that we development-wise already were moving at high-speed when the Coronavirus appeared. Having the digital team in place meant that our digital motor was up and running. Therefore we didn't have to consider whether we should make an investment in digital or not, when the crisis hit.

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matas-omnichannel

Not having to start-off contemplating if a digital investment was the right response to the COVID-19 pandemic was a significant factor for Matas.

The digital direction had already been set in motion three years prior with an ambition to digitally transform the traditional shop-based retailer, Brian Andersen tells and elaborates:

We didn't have to sit down and consider how much these new features were going to cost us or if they could affect our traditional sales. Let's just follow our digital mindset, explore the opportunities, and see what we can create.

Top-level trust and mandate to act

According to Brian Andersen, the single most important factor in our successful reaction to the pandemic has been a clear definition of Matas’ digital goals and total support from top-level.

“Our top level management wants digital progress and they have both the courage and willingness to back it up economically”, Brian Andersens says and continues:

“The top-level management trusts us and we have a mandate to try new things out. As an organization, we carry the mindset that should a crisis occur then we would build a windmill than a shelter”.

Post-pandemic permanence

Matas’ new online features have generated sales and heightened customer satisfaction, but what’s going to happen to them when society is fully back to normal?

All our new features have proven to be so successful, that they are to be permanent features that we plan to scale further. We believe they are key elements in the way we want to merge our channels.

Brian Andersen

Asked if the recent digital successes are going to affect Matas’ overall omnichannel strategy, Brian Andersen responds:

“We don’t operate with hard defined strategies, but we always aim and act towards a specific goal: The experience we want our customers to have. Every year we want to perform significantly better in regards to all our customers digital touchpoints. The positive side-effect of the Coruna pandemic was that it catapulted us even further than we originally strived for”.