Recovering From Economic Downturn
Oct 08 2020
Six months removed from the initial sweep of Covid-19 and its effects on both individuals and businesses, and the landscape continues to change. As ecommerce brands hurdle forward into the holiday shopping season and beyond, actionable solutions to some of this tumultuous year’s problems have never been more critical.
For digital marketers, it’s time to analyze what is driving the current boom in ecommerce, how customer behaviors have changed, and what immediate next steps brands can take to thrive in an uncertain economy.
Ecommerce is Thriving
By now it’s hardly a secret that ecommerce has become the new normal in 2020. Temporary closures of brick-and-mortar retailers mixed with ongoing concerns regarding public places and COVID-19 outbreaks have delivered big companies like Target numbers that haven’t been seen in nearly two decades. Small-to-medium businesses are getting in on the action too, as economic downturns often uncover new ways to disrupt (or streamline) existing business models.
People are in their homes, on their devices, altering the very fundamentals of their old shopping habits, and it’s unlikely those old habits will return even when the pandemic is over. For digital marketers, those new habits mean a bevy of new opportunities.
How Consumer Behaviors Have Changed
Brands must reframe how they think of their customers under these new circumstances — their needs and expectations have changed, and ecommerce brands need to react accordingly. Since March, nearly half of American consumers have reportedly switched brand preferences, and 62% expect to make permanent changes to their own buying behavior before the pandemic subsides.
Reimagining your brand’s messaging, marketing tactics, and customer experience to capture an audience open to new brand preferences can take your business leaps ahead by the time the dust finally settles. Here’s how:
Keep Campaigns Running, No Matter What
Nearly two-thirds of American consumers are expecting to change their own buying habits by the end of the pandemic, and most of them are stuck at home spending more time on devices than ever before with the holiday season at their doorstep. Maintaining a full sales funnel, including and especially the acquisition of these potential new customers, is essential.
Businesses willing to take a creative approach to their advertising have always proven capable of finding success even through economic downturns. Amazon famously pushed its Kindle products above all else in 2009 during the “great recession,” to the extent that by Christmas Day 2009, its customers bought more e-books than printed books — with a little flexibility, there’s always a way to connect with new customers in innovative ways.
Small businesses may feel forced to pare down the platforms they normally use to their most efficient, essential campaigns, but staying on is still less frightening than attempting to seek traction months down the road. “When times are good you should advertise, when times are bad — you must advertise.”
Don’t Lose Sight of Your Loyal Base
There has perhaps never been a more critical time to remind your loyal customers what makes your brand special. This can’t be done without communicating with them regularly. Brands should evaluate their current messaging to ensure gratitude for their customers’ patronage is delivered regularly — and in a tone that conveys a solid grasp on current events.
Messaging on social media ads for all customers should take a more sensitive approach. While the phrase “These Uncertain Times” may as well be trademarked by now, it’s important to steer away from messaging that appears too eager to capitalize on a bad situation. Instead, take this opportunity to humanize your brand with stories about employees and the causes and community events your business supports.
Build a stronger, more personal connection with existing customers to show them who you are when times are tough. Consistently positive, emotional interactions between a brand and an individual customer can prove to be among the most valuable efforts your marketing can make.
Improve Ecommerce With Increased Focus on Mobile Shoppers
Customers are more comfortable with purchasing products directly from their mobile phones than they were even six months ago. Social platforms have worked feverishly to provide tools to their advertising partners looking for reasons to keep spending over the summer months, and now these platforms appear primed for a full-blown Q4 marketing blitz.
Facebook, still boasting the largest user base of any social platform, has effectively cut an entire step of the buying journey out of the equation. Brands can now sell catalogues of products through Facebook Shops, aiming to make use of the mobile-friendly shopping trend by serving advertisers while keeping customers on the app.
Instagram and Snapchat each launched new ad formats in the form of native stories for advertisers to take advantage of, as users grow accustomed to following brands and people on the platforms. Between the two photo-sharing titans,
the audience of browsing Gen-Z and millennials offers a host of new opportunities for mobile selling for marketers with a visual flare. Best of all, ads on these platforms no longer disrupt the user experience. Instead, the majority of Instagram users say they actively discover new products on the app.