It’s not an exaggeration, but a simple fact, to say that the Coronavirus pandemic paused every single economy in the world. And what was perhaps once a promising financial forecast for 2020 has been drastically reduced as most have fought to stay afloat with the sudden and unexpected disruption of the now famous Covid-19. Whilst we couldn’t have even begun to imagine the past few months and although we’re definitely not out of the woods yet, with restrictions easing and cases falling, it’s important that as an eCommerce business, you’re ready to bounce back stronger and smarter as we navigate the post-Covid marketing world. This will no doubt require the re-thinking of your current marketing strategy – which this blog will explain a little more about.
Prepare for changes in customer behaviour
Now more than ever is a time to put the consumer and their needs first and businesses that recognise these needs and cater to them accordingly will be sure to stand out amongst those that don’t. The priority of your future campaigns in a post-Covid environment must be to boost lifetime value and customer experience as well as continue to (and try even harder to) deliver a meaningful, purpose-driven brand. Of course, if it was any good, your previous digital marketing strategy will have already taken into account the needs of your customers as well as the needs of the marketplace, but things are different now. Smart companies will adopt a proactive approach to ensure that they are aware of what needs to be changed and are prepared to do so when needed, in order to meet future consumer needs. Steps that you can take now to ensure you are ready include:
Gathering new marketplace insight
Develop a plan that enables you to assess the marketplace as it now stands so that you and your team can begin to understand how to validate the new behaviours we’re all seeing as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. The best way of finding out what your customers need, is to ask them! Conducting market research, surveys, Twitter polls and customer feedback by other means will mean you can analyse comments, attitudes and data and prepare yourself to make changes accordingly.
(The left graph shows the results of a survey conducted by mckinsey.com during which consumers were asked about new shopping habits during Covid-19. This is a great way to determine the behaviours of your target market and see if they ave changed over the lockdown period).
Turn to chatbots and AI
(The right graph is by revechat.com predicts the use for chatbots towards the end of 2020).
With uncertainty surrounding just about everything, you need to reassure your customers that you’re operating as normal (if you are). Cue: Artificial Intelligence. AI is developing at a fast-paced rate and changing the way that brands do business with their customers, and what better time than emerging from a pandemic and coming back bigger and stronger than ever, to introduce it into your marketing strategy? A HubSpot survey conducted in January 2020 among 500 marketers in the UK revealed that 25% of companies that don’t use bots in marketing in 2020 are planning on implementing them this year alone, with chat bots greatly exceeding pre-Covid levels. Of course, there are reasons for this, with a few undeniable benefits to using AI showing that you need to get on board, sooner rather than later. Does the increase in chatbots signify a rise in conversational marketing full stop? The benefits of such a strategy mean that you can answer consumer questions and queries in real-time as well as automate lead qualifications and even book meetings/arrange appointments. The speedy way in which you can interact and engage with people who are interested in your brand, makes meeting the demands for faster and more direct responses from companies that consumers are now making, a lot easier and more achievable.
Still focus on improving visibility and generating online traffic
The lockdown of Covid-19 forced shoppers to turn away from physical stores and focus their attention on all things e-Commerce and in response, a lot of retail brands upped their online presence and their digital marketing strategies to attract this new flurry of online traffic. Now that restrictions are easing and shops are re-opening, it’s important not to take your eye off the ball when it comes to having a successful digital marketing strategy. Remember, that although shoppers can return to physical stores, it doesn’t mean that they will – with many hesitant to make unnecessary outings and preferring to stick to online purchases after the pandemic. In fact, according to a survey shared by econsultancy.com, 40% of 1050 shoppers who had returned to shops in the UK had found the instore experience ‘less enjoyable’ than pre-Coronavirus. If you moved more of your operations online during the Coronavirus pandemic and in turn, expanded your e-commerce offerings, you may have captured a reliable flow of online traffic. Don’t neglect this now that your stores have opened and continue to take the measures necessary to convert these visitors into customers.
Outsource if you need to
It’s no secret that Covid-19 put a lot of pressure on companies to come up with ground-breaking digital strategies in a bid to attract online customers, with a lot of industries having to re-invent themselves to cope with the changing consumer landscape. As we emerge out the other side, you might still be struggling to re-assess your digital marketing strategy and budgets, in light of what is still an uncertain economic situation. At a time like this, when a digital marketing strategy with a multi-channel focus is paramount, it can be helpful to outsource your marketing efforts to an agency who can ensure you are focussing on the channels that are going to most help with reaching your brand’s goals and therefore spend every penny of your budget wisely. Calling in a more experienced third-party can ensure that you’re not wasting energy and resources when working out how to best approach your digital marketing strategy post-Covid-19. At Hitsearch, we have plenty of experience when it comes to implementing strategies that are going to reach your business goals and therefore present you with plenty of opportunities for conversion. There has never been a more important time to perfect your digital marketing efforts, and we can help with that! Get in touch today to begin your company’s post-Covid comeback.