It will come as no surprise to anyone reading this, that a lockdown lasting 21 days in our country is unheard of, not just for a business but for all of us as citizens of this country, a 1.3 billion population made to sit at homes and wait for the war against COVID - 19 to end.
But this lockdown gives us more mental space to think, observe and most importantly persevere. So, how do retail brands which are a backbencher when it comes to essential services but the first to take the brunt of the lockdown and the last to get back?
Well, you have all the time to think over this but you have to decide where you want to invest your time - on something you can’t control or things which are still in your hands to manage.
Just like life, Marketing never stops. Either desperate times or good times, marketing helps your business to stay relevant and succeed.
This is the time when marketers and data analysts can spend more time to deepen the understanding of customer behavior and strategies to come back with a bang and appeal to customers like never before.
All said, let’s ponder over some of the marketing ideas that you can include in your marketing strategy and execute from now on -
Families and relatives are now getting together on video calls, sharing their day, the few highs and many lows, and discussing all the things they’re missing out on most, one thing that pops the most among ladies is going to the mall!
And probably one of the good things to come out of the lockdown is that customers aren’t getting to spend money. That’s a good thing for both customers and brands.
Now, considering this behavioral change in consumers at the current state, you can engage your existing customers and acquire new ones by sending virtual catalogues of products with the upcoming designs for the season, creating looks for coming festivals and obviously family gatherings after such a long period of social distancing.
By offering such virtual experience to your customers, you can make sure that once they get into their shopping mode, your brand would stay on top of their mind.
One of the biggest things that you must have observed is that today being online isn’t an option but a necessity for retail brands to survive in the coming days.
Even though lockdown gets over, the customers might prefer online shopping over visiting stores for at least the next couple of weeks for precautionary measures.
During this period, being online and offering your customers to get things right at the doorstep will give you a competitive advantage and most importantly better customer experience.
The biggest of the biggest brands preferred selling by the look, feel and touch of their products but as consumers are getting more comfortable in living their lives online, the businesses that were once focussing more on offline, now have the time to invest in their online portal and make it better than ever before.
Do people associate themselves with your brand? Or are you still one of the options they explore while having to buy that extra pair of shoes or the black dress they might get from anywhere? Connect to your customers by being topical, relevant and gun for the first-mover advantage.
For eg: Durex creating puns digitally that people share with friends, Amul taking a jibe at every major event in the country, and the reason we haven’t mentioned any small brand here is that brands like yours are still not thinking this way.
What will be the first thing people will do once the lockdown ends? Go to a salon? Run to their favorite restaurant to grab a bite? Get back to the gym? But the most important thing, where will YOUR customers go first?
Well, it’s better you ask your customers themselves while they are staying at home. Conduct surveys to understand what your customers are planning for once the lockdown ends and then use the insights to offer something they won’t refuse.
Collaborate with brands from different industries like restaurants, salons, fitness, etc for cross-branding promotions and offer something that customers of both the brands would love to grab.
For example, an apparel brand can collaborate with a cosmetic brand to offer discounts or coupons. This way, brands will not only delight their customers but attract new ones from the partnering brand.
It’s a win-win deal, right?
A working woman will have completely different buying needs to post the lockdown than a homemaker, from formal pants to summer dresses, talk about the products that your customers are most likely to purchase after identifying their need, knowing them better, and now is the best time, because what are they doing at home anyway?
Humans are most drawn to doing things that are forbidden, we want to stay at home on a working Monday and can’t resist stepping out during a curfew, what does this teach you? Let people know that once the lockdown ends, you will have queues of customers buying that style of shoes for which you only have 20 articles, For eg: Uniqlo was out of duck feather jackets within 2 weeks of the winter season and the demand was more than ever before.
Brand owners need to constantly evolve and improvise their strategies to ensure preparedness when things go back to normal. As predicting and coming up with strong solutions in these day-to-day evolving situations will lead to further confusion. The best bet is to try and improve everything while keeping an open mind. As no one knows for sure how things might turn out.
Take Care, Be Safe and Stay Positive.