As Covid-19 measures are slowly being lifted, marketers need to make sure they can emerge from lockdown and regain ground as quickly as possible. Whilst there is still a lot of clarity required around what the eased safety measures will mean for businesses and all areas of daily life, for retail marketing teams the preparation work for trading in the new normal must start now.
Marketing in the post-pandemic world doesn’t mean simply reverting back to the plans and activities that were in place before the crisis. As we all know, a lot has changed in a short space of time and will influence consumer behaviour on the other side. The tactics that were effective in early March may not be so powerful now, so understanding how shopping patterns and business requirements have changed is going to be more important than ever. Whilst in-store retail has been shut, and may remain impacted in coming months, many online sectors have seen a dramatic increase and represent a huge opportunity.
With potentially the biggest recession for 300 years on the horizon, retail brands need to look to the marketing tactics that will deliver maximum value across the channels they own – email and the website. Post-pandemic, purse strings are likely to be tighter and competition even more fierce, so getting the basics right will matter more than ever: Demonstrating a deep understanding of an individual and making their life easier.
Let’s look at three key marketing tactics that brands should focus their attention on now.
Focus on loyal customers
With acquisition marketing budgets cut, it makes more sense than ever to focus efforts on re-engaging shoppers that have bought from you in the past. We all know that encouraging loyal customers to purchase is more cost-effective than attracting new shoppers, but it requires a brand to provide a tailored experience. Don’t expect a customer to simply re-purchase because they have done so in the past. Having web and email content primed for their individual preferences and behaviours will be vital to convert them.
Remember that the experience counts more than ever when consumers are more cautious with their spending. Move quickly to get products they buy regularly in front of them and make it easy for them to find items they might be interested in. With customers more likely to comparison-shop to find the best deal, the goal should be to make their experience as convenient and seamless as possible. Times of recession will bring out bargain hunters, so tailoring product recommendations around a customer’s price point is going to be effective in capturing their attention in the first place.
Setting the scene with contextual data
Whilst an increased focus on your existing customers is a sensible decision in an economic downturn, it’s also critical to convert the new shoppers that come to your website. Relevant offers and experiences will keep their interest for longer, increasing the likelihood that they will go on to purchase.
The challenge that many marketers come up against, however, is having to do this without any previous purchase or browsing data. This often leads to estimated guesses in terms of what products and offers to display on the homepage, in the hope they might strike a chord.
In tapping into contextual data – of which there is a lot – brands can quickly add a layer of personalisation to the experience, even before a visitor begins to browse or cart an item. From the consumer’s geolocation, the weather at the location and time of day through to the type of device and operating system they are browsing on, all of these factors should be used to inform the type of experience a new shopper is given.
Armed with these insights, marketers can then apply it to show targeted, dynamic website content to the individual, making them feel instantly understood. From displaying items available in their nearest store, to recommendations tailored to their local weather forecast, it all contributes to providing a relevant experience.
Don’t dismiss a lost sale
Shoppers add items to their basket and then leave the site without completing the purchase. It’s an ecommerce challenge that has faced the sector for as long as online shopping has existed. Cart abandonment can be caused by many different reasons, from the shopper being distracted during the checkout process to having second thoughts about parting with their money.
Having smart tactics in place to help recover these lost sales should form a key part of your recovery strategy. Sending triggered emails with the subject line and creative tailored to the items in the abandoned cart are an effective way to remind a customer of what they have left behind. Incorporating social proof elements, such as reviews from happy customers or showing how often the item was purchased in the last 24h, helps build trust in the product and gives the shopper the confidence to complete the purchase.
As the nation looks towards the next stage of the COVID-19 crisis, it’s likely to bring with it new challenges, as businesses and consumers slowly adapt to the new world. For retail marketers, putting the right plans in place now will empower them to deliver experiences that matter to shoppers during this recovery period and beyond.
For more on this topic, see Econsultancy’s retail hub.