Blog Post

Responding to the Coronavirus: How Retail and E-Commerce Advertisers Can Engage with Customers in New Ways

03/27/2020 - Sierra Ducey

Retail companies, like many other industries, are being severely hit by the outbreak of the coronavirus. Over the past few weeks, as stay-at-home orders have swept across the nation (and word), many retail locations have closed their brick-and-mortar store locations. The future poses many questions and challenges that are changing daily or weekly and the team at Digilant is committed to closely monitoring the impact of coronavirus on consumer behavior. Staying up to date with consumers’ sentiment during this time enables our team to provide the best digital advertising recommendations to retail and e-commerce advertisers during this time of uncertainty.

First-and-foremost, experts agree that now is not the time for brands to go dark, but rather “marketers should be using this time to double down on its consumer relationship.” Tailoring your messaging to what consumers want to hear from brands is essential during this time.

Communication and Customer Service is Essential

Brands need to keep their customers informed during this time and not just with sales and promotions. In a recent study by Kantar,  78% of consumers expect brands to look after their employees first and foremost. Updating your employees about the safety protocol your team is implemented is important. Once you have ensured your customers understand your safety precautions, inform them where and how to get a hold of your team: website chat box, social media, email. Updating them on online shopping opportunities, any shipping delays or backorders needs to be done ASAP. Now is the best time to master your customer service and communication with customers.

Advertising is still important

In the same Kantar study, only 8% of respondents indicated that brands should stop advertising. But, it is very important to keep in mind that if you continue to advertise, tailor your messaging appropriately – you don’t want to seem out of touch with a “come into our store..” message. Rather, address how you can help consumers navigate this new normal and use a reassuring tone.

Adapt to new channels

If you make the decision to continue to advertise, recognize that consumers are spending more time on social media and watching television while at home. 64% of surveyed users expect their usage of YouTube to increase, while 63% expect their Facebook usage to increase. Think about either implementing these channels or ramping up if you already use them.

Now is a great time to allocate budget towards CTV and OTT. Reach the growing cord-cutting and cord-never audiences, achieve high completion and viewability rates, and access premium networks cost-efficiently compared to Linear TV.  Digilant has a wide range of CTV/OTT inventory, alongside a partnership with platforms such as Hulu.

Tailor your Messaging

As mentioned above, during this constantly-changing situation, making sure your messaging is consistent, thoughtful and helpful for consumers is extremely important.  We have created a guide for retail and e-comm companies that outlines strategic messaging and advertising suggestions for retail and e-comm advertiser, which includes:

  • How to properly speak to different generations and where to find them. Hint: you won’t find Gen Z on Facebook nearly as much as TikTok and Snapchat.
  • How to utilize the power of Amazon. Amazon announcing that they will stop accepting supplier shipments of anything non-essentials creates an opportunity for online retailers to snag business from high-intent “would-be” Amazon customers
  • Tools to keep your brand fresh so you’re ready for the bounceback

Download the guide here

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