Five steps to help retailers survive and thrive during (and after) Covid-19

The retail ecosystem has changed forever. Thanks to Covid-19, major distribution channels have been disrupted, and shopping habits have dramatically changed.

Physically shopping for fashion is, for the foreseeable future, no longer possible. Instead, brands and retailers need to focus on their online offering – a change that provides both challenges and opportunities.

And how you approach it will decide whether your brand survives, thrives or even dies. So what should you do right now? Here’s the five-step strategy we recommend.

1) Don’t panic

The first thing you should NOT do is panic. History shows that a knee jerk reaction that sees you cut your advertising spend will just lead to lower sales, a reduced market share and a tough road back to the brand awareness you formerly enjoyed once the market returns to normal – or a new version of normal.

Yes you’ll need to revisit your marketing strategy, but right now you can’t afford not to be visible, and getting your share of sales. The Mere Exposure Effect is more relevant now than ever.

2) Look to your data

Instead, look to your customers. Understanding their behaviour is more important than ever. You already have access to a wealth of information with your first party data, and now is the time to maximise it, and ensure that you are reaching the right audience, with the right message, in the right place, at the right time.

3) Measure incremental ROI

It’s also important to ensure any money you do spend on advertising and marketing is working as hard as possible for you. So check you are measuring your incremental ROI – the results that would only have happened by running the activity.

If you work with an advertising partner, ask them to provide you with this data, and not simply fob you off with basic ROI. (A company that doesn’t measure incrementality isn’t showing you the whole picture, and is taking credit for sales that had nothing to do with their campaign.)

4) Ask your agency these six questions

While we’re on the subject of working with an agency, here are the six questions we recommend asking to ensure you’re not wasting money on retargeting:

  1. How do you measure the incremental revenue from my retargeting campaigns?
  2. What websites are my ads running on and which performs best?
  3. Which ad sizes and creatives have driven the highest number of sales?
  4. What is my new customer rate (customers that my business have never seen before)?
  5. Which audiences on the website do you allocate the most budget to (top level viewers or abandoned basket)?
  6. Based on 1-5 above, can I choose to optimise and control my audience and creative targeting to invest in the right websites to maximise incremental sales and minimise cost?

5) Ensure your marketing lifecycle is working

While the retail landscape may have completely changed right now, customers are still buying. And they’re spending more time than ever online – research by Neilsen shows that smartphone use has almost doubled to four hours a day, and online media is seeing an increase in traffic of over 60%.

So it’s more important than ever to ensure that your marketing lifecycle is fully optimised and running, and that you are attracting new customers, converting sales and increasing your customers’ lifetime value.

Need help planning a strategy to help your business ride out Covid-19 – and thrive beyond? Contact your local Crimtan office and we’ll be happy to help.