It’s no longer business as usual for the retail sector, with COVID-19 giving the industry a full-body shake-up when it comes to their operations. So far, we’ve seen the outbreak take its greatest toll on consumer behaviours, with people right across the globe looking for more convenient, contactless shopping experiences to help slow the spread of the virus. 

This has obvious impacts on all aspects of retail businesses (who would’ve thought flour would turn to gold?) but it’s the marketing function which has quickly taken center stage. From “How will our customers perceive us?” to “What messages do they want to be hearing?”, this global pandemic has left retail businesses and their marketing strategies in a little bit of a pickle.

Lucky for you, we’re here to help 😉 We’ve noticed a tonne of emerging marketing trends over the last few weeks, as companies look to make the switch over to digital to match recent changes in consumer behaviour. Off the back of these trends, we’ve pulled together our top tips for how your retail business can adapt its marketing strategy (and social, more specifically) to rise to the top of this pandemic.

Show a little love

There’s so much uncertainty in the world right now, so anything you can do to make your customers feel a little more at-ease is going to give your brand that competitive edge. The easiest way to do that is to make them feel in-the-know with what’s happening with your business.

As contradictory as it may sound, start off with a “business as usual” campaign, geo-targeted to your local area or aimed at your current customer database to make sure the people that are important to your business FEEL important to your business.

Then, think of the ways you can make the online experience a little more pleasant for your customers who may be used to (and love) physically visiting your store. Is it by offering free shipping? Or maybe complementary returns? If you’re unsure, go straight to the source by running poll ads to understand your customer’s preferences. Now is a crucial time to make them feel valued and appreciated so that you have sustained brand loyalty once this has all passed.

Play to your strengths

If you already have an online presence where people can purchase your product or service, take full advantage of it. Switch up your messaging to ensure you’re highlighting the fact that people don’t have to visit your store to purchase your product – they can do it from the comfort of their own home! To give you that extra exposure, include a link to purchase your products in your post, and then boost it with the link click or traffic objectives. This will ensure your post is targeting people that are most likely to click through to purchase.

If you’re a smaller retailer that doesn’t already have an online presence or eCommerce store – have no fear! You can still play to your strengths by switching up your messaging to focus on any changes to in-store safety standards at this time, which will ensure your customers feel safe when visiting your store. Get that added exposure by using this messaging in a retargeting campaign, aimed at your current customer database or those that have visited your website in the last 60 days. This not only shows that you care about your customers safety, but that you’re still wanting to bring some normality to their lives – something we’re all searching for right now!

Stay creative

Isolation has got everyone feeling a little cabin fever-ish, with people constantly searching the web for ways to keep entertained at home. As a retailer, it can be a little difficult to keep people entertained offline, especially if your main offering is clothing or something physical.

That’s where your creativity comes in! Think of unique ways you can keep your audience engaged and active while still at home. If you sell clothes, why not host a livestream fashion show on your Instagram, showcasing your latest and greatest fashion pieces? If you sell stationary, look into hosting a colouring in competition, where people can enter to win one of your stationary packs. 

These types of campaigns not only give value to your audience, but will also work to increase your social engagement and build a stronger community of active followers – which in turn, are more likely to favour your brand and become long term supporters.

Find a helping hand

If you’re feeling strapped for time, or all this marketing talk is making your brain hurt, feel free to reach out to us here at L&A. We’ve spent the last few weeks helping brands of all sorts adapt their social strategy to suit the current climate. Whether you want to switch up your messaging, shoot some killer new CC (COVID content), or give your marketing strategy a complete makeover – we’re always here to help.

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2. 1Kristy 300x300 - Industry Insights: How Retail Should Adapt Their Social Strategy for COVID-19

Kristy is a compassionate, fearless team lead, obsessed with the art of baking. With experience in fashion and interior design, she loves the ocean and will never say no to a good bowl of pasta.