Covid-19 has changed the way we live, socialize and shop. Today’s consumer is trying new brands and moving out of their comfort zone. Their attitudes, behaviors and purchasing habits are shifting—many of which will remain intact after the pandemic. Brands with the gumption and ability to pivot, and in some cases reimagine their business model, take advantage of these shifts and acquire more loyal customers. Here are tips to getting back to business stronger than ever.
Fine-Tune Your Online Shopping Experience
The combination of looming health concerns, physical social distancing and stay-at-home orders have caused the consumer to shop online more than ever before. According to a recent survey by Ipsos—a global leader in market research—41% of respondents said they shifted more of their shopping from brick-and-mortar to online.1 Consumers will reward those brands that are steadfast to meet this demand of a renewed focus on a seamless digital shopping experience.
While Pet Supplies Plus locations were deemed an essential business and remained open since the start of the pandemic, the brand saw their eCommerce business skyrocket over 2,000% from January 2020 to April 2020.2 Franchise Owners had to quickly shift focus to online ordering by adopting new operational procedures like free same-day delivery and 1-hour contactless curbside pickup while the brand continued to thrive thanks to their robust online ordering platform that was able to handle the influx of online traffic.
Make Convenience a Priority
The national rollout of third-party and private-label delivery was originally planned as a Q4-2020 initiative for Tropical Smoothie Cafe. However, the pandemic caused the brand to move faster than planned in able to provide the level of convenience demanded by their guests. The speed to market paid off with comp sales up 25.5%.3 “By offering online ordering, app ordering, delivery, curbside pick-up and carryout, it’s especially easy for customers to safely order in the way that is most convenient for them,” said Charles Watson, CEO for Tropical Smoothie Cafe.
The consumer is looking for safe and easy shopping experiences. Convenience—including touchless and contactless shopping methods—is now expected and will most likely continue to be a priority for brands in the long term.
Adjust Marketing Mix
The pandemic has caused a total shutdown of in-person marketing engagement. Fewer in-person interactions means more time in front of mobile devices and computers, giving customers that additional time to consume your content and see your ads. While you may already have paid digital in your marketing mix, now is the time to double down—but do it smartly. Double down where you know your target audience will be present.
“Targeting is even more important than ever,” said Natalie Wendel, Director of Digital at Hot Dish Advertising. “To ensure that your campaign targeting is spot-on, you need to truly understand your audience, know where they will be and then be present in those moments.”
If someone is actively searching for your brand, you want to be there whether it’s in the form of a paid ad or organic search result. With digital channels, you can track very specific metrics and details of your campaign. Brands can go further and reach more of their consumers through digital tactics, and using the channel-specific analytics, website data and consumer insights will help drive better decisions faster.
Adjust Messaging & Imagery
Consumers are paying close attention to ads, and as you reevaluate your marketing mix, revamp your messaging and creative to be in sync with the times, particularly in terms of hygiene. To venture past only the essential shopping trips, customers want to be reassured that disinfection and cleanliness protocols are being implemented. They want to know their favorite brands are empathetic to the situation they are in—whatever that may be.
- Review website and blog content, ads, in-store collateral, mailers, etc., to identify and change any topics, copy and imagery that may be insensitive.
- Add messages and images of employees wearing masks, cleaning and following social distancing measures as recommended by the CDC.
- Be respectful of the times, but incorporate on-brand humor and warm, comforting messages to help take your customer’s mind off of the pandemic.
- Boost customer loyalty by communicating ways your brand gives back to the community.
Stick and Move
Your customer is watching how you respond to the pandemic, not only in terms of hygiene and safety measures, but how you are treating your employees, giving back to the community and providing convenient ways to consume your product.
More and more consumers are saying a brand’s actions during this time will impact who they purchase from in the future.4 If you are looking for a partner to help build strong strategies to answer the challenges you face due to the shift in consumer behavior, we’re here to help! Let’s talk.