The ongoing pandemic has wreaked havoc across the world. As stay-at-home orders are slowly lifted and businesses resume, they will inevitably have to adapt to the new normal. Restarting will look different for all businesses as companies open at different times and in different ways. Brands that have stopped or paused marketing during COVID-19, as well as those that were completely shut down or were operating at limited capacity during the pandemic will need to develop a relaunch strategy. That will mean rebuilding a digital footprint, as well as the brand’s online presence.
A successful relaunch means communicating with empathy and acknowledging the new normal. Brands should start by recognizing the changes and determining ways to adapt to them. Businesses ought to look for gaps or needs that will help them regain market share, grow their customer base and achieve better brand positioning. The post-COVID-19 world is a different place, and there are several steps that brands need to follow to ensure a safe and successful relaunch.
Change in consumer behavior, powered by Digitalization
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on every aspect of life, including how people shop. Brands around the world are facing new challenges, the sudden boom in e-commerce means they have to respond to a surge in orders to cope with the drastic growth. Consumers have demands, with delivery windows full, they remain more than ever driven by delivery options, visibility, and brand marketing. Since the outbreak, online shopping has been catapulted into complete overdrive. Even the largest brands on the planet are struggling to keep up with the unprecedented consumer demand.
As consumers get used to living in lockdown, they have no choice but to turn to online delivery for their shopping. Working from home is changing customer priorities and values too. As more consumers are forced to shop online to stay safe, they will inevitably habituate searching and buying products online. To combat this, brands need to adapt to the new shopping habits of post-pandemic consumers, and quickly. Many consumers will remember and value brands that meet their needs and form a personal relationship during these times, influencing long-term loyalty.
Digital services have become a necessity for most customers who are confined at home. Adoption has grown strongly, even among the most 'digitally resistant' customers. For some companies, the rapid development of digital functionalities is key to ensuring the continuity of services. It’s likely that many customers who have converted to digital services will stick to brands that have done the same after the immediate health crisis is over. Brands who make this shift to digital and deliver superior experiences have an opportunity to enhance brand identity, increase adoption, and maintain these customer relationships after the crisis.
Consumer journey during COVID-19 & The need for informed purchases
The world has seen tremendous change in the last few months. The dynamics of the customer journey is also constantly changing as we adapt to our new surroundings. As consumer behavior shifts, brands need to better understand their customers. To properly track, analyze, measure, and gain customer insight from unstructured data, brands need a robust platform that unlocks and unifies data from various systems — whether it be a marketing platform, CRM system, or data analytics tool.
Integration is critical to assembling data to construct a 360-degree view of the customer. A service-based approach to integration creates a unified view of the customer journey map in real-time.
The retail marketing landscape looks quite different than it did a couple of months ago. The way that consumers make purchasing decisions has dramatically altered. The post-pandemic consumer prioritizes thorough research, compares prices and product reviews before making the actual purchase.
Prepare your digital landscape for recovery
The coronavirus pandemic and resulting recession caught everyone by surprise. Brands that stop their rebuilding efforts now are bound to experience long-term damage. Brands can gain the upper hand over their competition by readying their digital capabilities and developing a next-generation digital consumer experience.
The lockdown has transformed the way customers research, browse, shop, and purchase. And the trend to digital customer experience will likely continue even after the crisis as people develop new habits and get used to the convenience. For brands that means strengthening their e-commerce capabilities, mobile-first design, cashless payments, and cross-channel communication. Using customer insights and analytics to target specific customers with experiences that meet their specific needs will go a long way in ensuring business recovery. Making sure that a brand's digital customer experience expresses the unique attributes and value of the brand and making it unique will help a brand stand out. Brands that apply creativity to their operations will help them develop new ways to engage customers digitally and to create new experiences.
Now is the time for brands to venture out of their survival mode and ensure that they are well-positioned in the future. Brands that take their digital marketing strategy and customer experience to the next level are sure to achieve that.
Be future-ready for the next big crisis
With millions of brands reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there's an important question that arises: Is there a way for businesses to plan for a crisis or times of uncertainty? The answer is "Yes" and "No". While businesses can't foresee every potential crisis, it certainly is possible for them to plan for the unexpected, and by doing so, better position their brand to come through challenging times even stronger.
Regularly assessing the business to look for vulnerabilities and looking for effective solutions will benefit businesses and set them up for an optimal performance during a crisis. Having a worst-case scenario strategy also goes a long way in ensuring that the brand stays future-ready. Planning for these potential crises won't necessarily stop them from happening, but brands will be better prepared to weather the storm should they occur.
In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has been an opportunity to strengthen relationships with customers and solidify their market stance. Brands that strive to reorganize and reinvent their business model and brand awareness are bound to quickly experience growth and recovery.
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