Covid Response Centre

How Retail and Brick & Mortar Businesses Can Overcome Coronavirus Hurdles

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change our daily lives, the way consumers shop, and therefore, the way marketers conduct business is changing as well. For most, this means reevaluating their marketing strategy and relying heavily on e-commerce. What we’ve seen as the most effective tactic for retailers is the incorporation of interactive strategies, getting successfully closer to consumers during #SocialDistancing measures. Below are some of the best ways to optimize and prepare creative retail strategies to meet online demand.

Gift Cards

Whether you are a small business sharing your personal story and keeping your doors “open” through gift card sales or a big business offering gift cards to send to friends and family in need of something as simple as diapers, the concept allows for an easy in-the-moment purchase.  

Pre-Orders

Though the idea of apparel for summer/fall festivities seems very far away, it does provide hope that things will be better and life will go back to a new normal. Not only do pre-orders allow loyal consumers to look forward to something in these surreal times, but it also allows retailers to plan ahead. Knowing what orders will be placed in advance helps provide valuable information that can inform the logistical preparations for shipping needs and predicted sales for the business in later quarters. 

Online Deals

With quarantine dates constantly expanding and most events, like festivals, on pause indefinitely, certain consumer needs are lower than others. However, there is a spike of “window shopping” online. In fact, buying online has increased by 34% for millennials and continues to rise amid COVID-19. Marking down products that are underperforming due to a lack of current need will increase the chances of consumers buying simply due to a good deal for the future.  

Digital Couponing

Physical coupons are fairly irrelevant today with the need for contactless shopping; however, in the face of economic hardship consumers need discounts today more than ever. Leverage digital couponing mediums such as mobile wallet offers to help drive recall and purchase overtime via mobile phone push notifications and coupons stored right in consumers’ phones for e-commerce usage. 

While the above concepts allow for revenue, retailers still need to build brand awareness for such promotions and continue to engage with their customers. Utilizing influencers can allow for a genuine connection between consumers and retailers while paid media can help spread the message. Below are just a few influencer programs that can help retailers successfully reach their target consumers amid COVID-19:

Virtual Showrooms

Consumers are much more likely to purchase a product if they try it on and receive feedback from others. With no timelines for physical fitting rooms to open, retailers must rely on virtual showrooms. Allowing an influencer to try on and model various looks from a brand at home through video on IGTV or even Stories allows consumers to not only see a real person in pieces they might like, but also see feedback from others.

Real-Time Connection

Videos are great to show off products, but it is also important to have authentic connections with consumers. Live-streaming not only allows consumers to ask questions, but helps build a loyal community. With so much social distancing, people want a real conversation and connection with like-minded people. Using influencers to host live sessions, allows retailers to build a community that can outlast the pandemic.

Entertainment & Distractions

Social media use has increased globally by over 20% amid COVID-19. People are not only checking their Facebook and Instagram pages during coffee breaks, but they are creating fun dance videos on TikTok, on the hour every hour. The new-er platform has gained massive popularity, gaining about 2 million downloads between March 16th and 22nd alone. Brands can work with influencers to create unique challenges on the platform for their brand, whether to encourage consumers to stay home or use their product.

Get Personal & Give Back

While many brands have a unique story behind their start, the vast majority of influencers share their daily stories, struggles, happiness and sadness with the world, creating incredibly loyal followings. Amid the current chaos of isolation and shipping issues, retailers can partner with influencers to showcase sympathy and consciousness. For example, if you’re a grocery store or restaurant work with cooking/foodie influencers to highlight charities that help provide meals to communities of underprivileged families which are growing amidst the economic crisis brought on by COVID-19. 

As retailers or brick and mortar businesses, the challenges brought on by COVID-19 can seem overwhelming. But before you throw in the towel, remember there is always a creative way to pivot your business to meet consumer needs and help keep your company afloat through challenging times. Your efforts can continue to focus on full purchase funnel results leveraging digital mediums to drive online sales and influencers to drive consumer awareness, deeper connections and engagement that will pay off in the wake of the pandemic via consumer loyalty.