Back in the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, we decided to open our hearts and our phone lines to local businesses who needed a hand with navigating marketing in a completely new world. One of the businesses who took us up on the offer is Weehelp Foundation, an Edmonton-based children’s charity that collects gently-used children’s clothing, toys, strollers, etc. and sells them at extremely low prices to raise money for The Stollery Children’s Hospital. Beyond The Stollery, the Weehelp sales offer an affordable option for parents who need to provide for their families. Weehelp depends on one big spring fundraiser to keep the charity running for the rest of the year. This year, the Spring Sale was scheduled for late April.
You can probably guess the fate of the event. Weehelp’s founder, Andrea, had to find a way to transfer her big, bustling in-person sales event into an online shop and quick. That’s where ZGM comes in.
When I realized I wouldn't be able to have hundreds of shoppers jammed into our large sale venue, I panicked.
Step 1: Getting Online
Andrea knew that Shopify was probably the best fit for her situation, and that if she wanted to sell online, she would have to start photographing and uploading information for thousands of items as soon as possible. That didn’t leave her much time to figure out the details of establishing a Shopify account, so we rolled up our sleeves and got to researching. With Andrea’s direction about the needs and goals of her online shop, and our expertise in delivering custom solutions, we quickly had a Shopify account set up, tailored for Weehelp, and ready to raise some money.
I was exhausted, disappointed and feeling completely defeated before the call, but they brought a whole level of excitement, ideas, encouragement and motivation to my situation.
Step 2: Promoting the Shop
Historically, Andrea depended on social media shares and word of mouth to spread awareness for Weehelp’s sales and found success in the city’s online community of parents. Her Facebook page alone wouldn’t be enough to spread the word about the sudden transition from large, in-person gathering to online shop though. Our Public Relations team pulled together a press release and helped establish media contacts to spread the word about Weehelp’s new digital sales platform while keeping costs low.
Step 3: Troubleshooting
Of course, with every digital transformation, there are going to be some hiccups that require troubleshooting. In this case, complications in coding created trouble with the shopping cart function of Weehelp’s new online shop. On the day of the scheduled launch, some early morning emails to our digital product team had the problem solved with minutes to spare.
In the end, Andrea’s online shop has been a success. Hundreds of orders raised thousands of dollars for The Stollery and ensured that Weehelp could continue helping others for another year. It also opened the door to exploring an online shop that would be available year-round rather than limiting sales to short-term events. This avenue would provide Weehelp with steady income throughout the year rather than depending on occasional bursts of revenue at their sales events. Andrea has already received positive feedback, encouraging words of support, and excitement from her shoppers at the prospect of purchasing from Weehelp closer to birthdays and Christmas. Plus, for those parents with busy days, the convenience of online shopping means they don’t have to shuffle their schedule to accommodate browsing and wait times at the in-person event.
We also found this option to be safer—a way to adjust to the times to keep folks safe and to limit the spread of COVID-19 while giving back.
It takes a lot to give.
If you’d like to donate to an Edmonton charity, please consider helping Weehelp Foundation help local kids and families.