Winners in the ‘room’, who were seeing sales up on comparable trading periods clearly had embraced communication with their customers.
Even brands with products that can’t be used right now were using content and inspiring customers to identify with the brand and prepare themselves for life after lockdown.
With more time on their hands for dreaming and seeing beyond the doom and gloom, customers are busily building plans. Being present and triggering this spontaneity from your customer base is key, otherwise you will find yourself fighting for share of voice once the rest of the market piles back in at a later date.
TOP TIP: Look through your content archives to find key and relevant pieces to bring back to the fore and repurpose. Use social media to amplify this content and find new audiences.
2. Opportunistic marketers got more bang for their buck, attracting customers through online.
Closely monitoring your competition and market is crucial anytime, but right now this has to be at the top of someone’s to do list.
Some of the brands in the room were able to report drops in CPCs for their product sectors, and with it presented an opportunity to increase performance marketing spend. As the typical competition profile changed, with it came the opportunity to increase their brands’ impression share for search and reach for social media campaigns.
One brand was able to be agile and reinvest budget from marketing and PR into performance marketing channels, and others were able to report new customer acquisition in excess of 6.5k through online channels alone over the last 2 weeks. 65% of these were brand new to the business, with the remaining 35% previously tracked as only ever making an in-store purchase.
TOP TIP: Set up daily alerts from your ad platforms reporting your daily sales numbers / CPCs or increase the frequency of your existing automated reports. Analysing your data by day instead of by week right now allows you to make quick changes and small wins across multiple channels which all add up!
3. Leverage better deals now, but plan ahead for success.
Clearly having retail stores which can’t trade is an issue for any business, but right now landlords are being more flexible than ever.
Some of our Ecommerce Collective group had reported negotiating rent free periods, whilst others had managed to negotiate payment holidays and extending their term instead.
Stock issues were also discussed by many parties who have bricks and mortar stores. Whilst online can pick up the trade, it is a quandary with furloughed staff members not being accessible to help with moving product which is currently under lock and key on the high street.
Our marketers discussed the challenge around stock seasons and how to market product that won’t be relevant once the stores are able to trade again.
TOP TIP: Plan ahead for outlet sections on your website stores – this avoids you having to leap into ‘sales’ and trying to shift product once this stock can be moved back to warehouse. Use the inventory for in store products to build out these outlet categories now, so that the financial planning and discounting strategy is all in place ready to run, along with messaging, content and ad campaigns to boot.
4. The day of omnichannel is now!
One area our attendees could all agree on is that retail will never be the same again.
Some brands discussed their fear over customer’s transition to online purchasing, whilst others were excited by the prospect of change and online no longer being seen as the high street’s ugly cousin making only a small proportion of overall revenues.
While right now, all we can do is embrace this change and adapt our strategies to acquire as many sales through online as possible, the real challenge will be on the traditional marketing teams; how will stores keep up with online when they re-open?
TOP TIP: Keep the sense of community going. Clearly the population is craving social contact and experiences, so leveraging this post-lock down is key. Content can be re-purposed now, building the overall brand experience and ‘throwing back’ to store openings from previous years and months. Let customers know that you haven’t forgotten their local store. Use personal content from store managers if you have it or personalise communications in this way. This will allow you to tell a story of your journey through Covid-19, and that you have learned from the experience.
More flexible returns / click and collect options ought to be considered once stores re-open. Embrace omni-channel and retain your customers, however they like to buy.
We are all facing challenges right now, but the key is that there are solutions out there and that was clear from last night’s discussion. No one has the magic answer to ensure trading isn’t affected at all, but we can make small tweaks and constantly plan to change and then we will be more prepared for what may come.
Some fantastic discussion and points were raised in the session, with brands more than ever willing to join forces and minds to conquer this pandemic. Navigating through the known knowns and controlling what you can by taking action was the key theme.
It was clear that now is the time for “he who dares wins” – the winners amongst the group were actively testing and adapting their digital marketing strategies to make up for lost revenues in other areas of their businesses whose usual trading pattern had been affected.
Infinity Nation are holding a series of virtual meet ups for senior e-commerce marketers over the next 4 weeks.
Find out more about the events and sign up here:
Alternatively, if you would like to have a 30 minute free consultation on your digital strategy and discuss your own challenges in a 1-2-1 session, simply drop us a line and we will be happy to help.