With cases spiking dramatically in the UK, and countries in the northern hemisphere bracing for a 2nd wave of COVID-19 infections as flu season sets in, we are likely to see economies around the globe struggle against the pandemic once again. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new “raft of coronavirus restrictions for England that could last as long as 6 months,” per the BBC. Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon went as far as banning visits to other households. But can we expect the economic trends we witnessed during the first wave to repeat themselves? Should brands dramatically change their eCommerce strategies or stay the course? We’ll analyse the data and give you 5 tips to ensure that your brand stays afloat as the 2nd wave washes in.
Consumers who are struggling to understand and cooperate with new restrictions and rules truly appreciate brands that offer guidance and support. Grocery retailer Asda drew raves with their new policy of offering packs of disposable face masks to uncovered consumers, who can pay for the mandated coverings when they checkout. In the eCommerce sphere, finding ways to deliver the goods, offer contactless payment, and ensure that consumer safety and comfort is a priority are ways to build trust. A recent survey conducted by Nielsen and Wizer found that 72% of respondents “cite a company’s efforts in helping people affected by COVID-19 as a reason they would consider their brand of consumer packaged goods (CPG).” The same survey found that 84% of respondents agreed that brands offering support distinguished themselves from brands that didn’t. Remember, discounts and promotions aren’t the only way to provide value.
In an economic slowdown, it may be tempting to cut your marketing budget and keep your costs under control. But the pandemic is actually a golden opportunity to acquire new customers. Most consumers are more willing to experiment with new CPG options, whether to pinch pennies or because their usual choices are out of stock. There has never been a better time to nudge potential buyers to your products, whether through shoppable recipes, promotions, or offering more convenient purchasing and delivery infrastructure online. There has never been a better time to put data-driven campaigns and personalised marketing to work for you!
Analysts have noted that shoppers are using the extra time they’ve gained during lockdown to go on journeys of self and home improvement. As Summit notes, sales of products like Peloton bikes, well-being and mindfulness related apps like Calm, and paint brands like Ronseal have flourished during lockdown. In the CPG sphere, it may be time to push a message of health and well-being in your content. Whether it’s a recipe that substitutes a healthier ingredient, or a line of products like Greek yogurt and Kombucha, consumers are going to be hungry for health. The coming months are also a great time to push alcohol-free and low alcohol brands as the “dry” months (as in Sober October, No Alcohol November, and Drynuary) are fast approaching. We are all likely to spend more time at home this winter, whether mandated by governments or not, and we all hope to emerge trimmer, healthier, and happier. You can profit by giving your customers a chance to embrace nutrition, exercise, and self-improvement.
South Korean retailers have achieved success during the second wave by providing augmented reality (AR) experiences. AR can allow consumers to “try on” clothes before they buy, sample a new shade of lipstick, or see how a piece of furniture would actually look in their living rooms. As brick and mortar shopping becomes more difficult and dangerous, finding ways to make eCommerce enjoyable will be a gamechanger. And AR could be a solution that allows cautious shoppers to replicate the in-store experience.
As cosmetics retailer Amorepacific has realized, AR enabled apps and mirrors can allow the public to try on products without making contact with potentially infectious surfaces. And the new technology has drawn rave reviews. “It was frustrating as I couldn't try cosmetics on my face … but it was fun to find the product that suits me best through this AR device" said a twenty year old student. Another shopper remarked “due to the coronavirus, it felt uncomfortable to test cosmetics after someone had used them. This is very convenient as I can see the actual colour on my face without even touching my face."
FOMO, or fear of missing out, is a powerful motivator. Some liken it to seeing a friend’s vacation pictures on social media as you hurriedly wolf down a sandwich huddled around your work computer. With international travel, concerts, festivals, pubs and restaurants dangerous or impossible to access, mental health experts are finding that FOMO is on the rise as the pandemic rages on.
One way to use this feeling in marketing is to promote the new experiences your products can provide. If you’re selling food, make sure your messaging emphasises the excitement of finding a new recipe, or the decadent nature of a special treat. With clothing and beauty products, emphasise looking your best on Zoom and social media. With lifestyle and health related products, try to illustrate the thrill of an active lifestyle. Lockdown leaves all of us hungry for new experiences, and showing how your products can provide these will be essential.
The first wave of the COVID-19 crisis showed us just how important a lifeline eCommerce can be during these troubled times. Building an efficient and user friendly online sales channel is no longer a luxury or a gamble on your brand’s future. It’s an absolute must for every retailer in today’s marketplace. If you feel like your brand is scrambling to keep up, tap into Adimo’s online marketing expertise today!