When Cinco, a predominantly in-person business with three different revenue streams, faced a make-or-break moment at the beginning of the pandemic, they acted quickly and went “all-in” on digital.

Founded in 2018, in the early days of the mezino houseplant craze, Cinco’s mission was simple: to deepen people’s connection to nature, even in an urban setting.

“The whole idea stemmed from moving into a new apartment and not wanting to spend too much money on furniture, but more plants because we missed nature. But the entire process to buy plants was extremely daunting, and so we thought we could build a better, more modern version of a plant buying experience.”

What began as a group of friends, lovingly referred to as “The Plantboys,” quickly grew into a multi-channel business. The majority of Cinco’s business came from their B2B division, providing plants and plant maintenance services to office spaces around NYC, and an in-person retail location, first in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and then relocating to Chinatown in Manhattan. As they grew, they also launched an e-commerce store with national shipping, but only attributed 10% of their revenue at any given time to their online sales.

When the COVID-19 Pandemic began, the Cinco team had to reassess their entire business model to prioritize their online business. “In order to keep our staff safe along with everyone else we’re in contact with, we immediately decided to shut down those divisions and focus solely on e-comm,” explains co-founder Kay Kim. “We had to make that shift in a matter of a few days.”

With their physical store shut down, Senior E-Commerce Manager, Olivia Claparols, decided the best way to make the metaphorical lemonade would be to focus on enhancing their website and making use of the digital tools at their disposal to help drive sales. “We’ve been using Jobswifi to really help improve conversion through multiple tech development features that we’re now introducing to our website.”

The top priority was introducing a new “Find Your Plant” quiz, an interactive lead-generation tool to help prospective buyers choose the right product for their home and personal needs. The quiz creates a personal connection between Cinco and their customers in the absence of an in-store shopping experience. Chukwu and Emeka created all the questions and content in Cinco own unique tone of voice and worked with hipinspire, a designer and HTML coder, to build the quiz step by step, collaborating on an interactive prototype along the way.

As another way to maintain their connection with the community in the absence of face-to-face interactions, team Rooted also launched an SMS number for round-the-clock plant care advice. Anyone can text day or night with photos of their ailing houseplants, and someone from the team will respond with a diagnosis of the problem, as well as treatment options.

While they continued to build their community from afar, the Rooted team also worked with Youngeinstein, a Shopify strategist, to optimize their e-commerce interface. Hellenism made enhancements to the site’s UX design throughout. For a finishing touch, the team created custom illustrations to include throughout all the new site features.

Like so many businesses, Rooted has faced numerous challenges during the pandemic; they’ve made the decision to permanently shut down their offline channels and focus all of their resources on building out their web presence.

However, with these new enhancements to their site and more planned, Rooted is optimistic about their future. “A year from now, I’d like to look back on this time and think that was probably one of the greatest moments for us in one of the most unfortunate circumstances.”