March 14, 2020

Defending COVID-19 disruptions: Resources for retailers

minute read

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused massive and widespread changes in the way we live, work, and play. Although shops are beginning to open up again and consumer buying patterns are beginning to pick up, there’s still much work to be done before the retail industry returns to normal. “Normal” as we knew it may never return, however, and every business’s survival depends on its ability to adapt. Here are our recommendations for navigating opportunities and risks in this ever-shifting environment.

The COVID-19 situation continues to unfold at varying paces around the world. Some countries are beginning to pick up the pieces while others are still seeing rising cases, and some businesses are booming while others have seen sales plummet.

Consumer anxiety regarding the virus is still high, however, and it’s unlikely that buying behavior will return to what it was before.

Instead, consumer shopping behavior has shifted to online channels. That means that retailers need to double down on their digital marketing strategies to stay top-of-mind and make up for the drop in brick-and-mortar income.

To help you strengthen your online presence and increase your agility in the face of these changes and challenges, we’ve rounded up our most sought-after playbooks, case studies, and practical advice for effectively increasing your digital ROI.

Adapting to Life and Work During the Coronavirus Outbreak

The crisis has shined a light on many of the weaknesses that existed for businesses pre-pandemic, and we can use this new insight to build more resilient and successful businesses moving forward. In this blog, we discuss the top 6 lessons to take away from this experience, including the ultimate importance of the customer, the value of omnichannel business models, the strength of iterative test-and-learn cultures, and more. Read Full Article

As consumers around the world have been ordered to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, ecommerce activity has soared. Some brands have been overwhelmed by the boost in online orders, leading to major delays in order processing, shipping, and restocking inventory. Because these order fulfillment challenges can cause significant disruptions to the customer experience, brands need to communicate with their customers effectively to keep them engaged and satisfied. This blog provides 12 actionable tips for maintaining transparency, mitigating customer dissatisfaction, and encouraging continued sales. Read Full Article

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many brands have pivoted quickly and released social good programs as a way to give back and drive engagement during the crisis. These programs—from monetary donations to the production of hospital supplies like masks and gowns—are great ways for brands to deepen their emotional connection with current customers, build relationships with new prospects, drive word-of-mouth marketing, and encourage sales during an uncertain time. We’ve compiled 10 real-life examples of different approaches to social good during COVID-19 to inspire you as you develop your own social good strategy. Read Full Article

During the pandemic, many of your customers and prospects are stuck at home and looking for new and engaging ways to fill their time. Although pushing out content that doesn’t acknowledge the current crisis can be seen as insensitive during a time of fear, loss, and economic uncertainty, that doesn’t mean your business should go dark with communication. Instead, focus on building customer relationships with simple content marketing tactics like blogs, social stories, user-generated content, and live-streamed events. Here are 11 brand examples to get you started. Read Full Article

If you’re working from home for the first time due to COVID-19, you may find yourself feeling lonely and unmotivated without the structure and community provided by the office. You’re not alone—but know that there are concrete steps you can take to re-energize yourself and remain productive and focused at home. Here are our top 10 tips to help you adjust. Read Full Article

The pandemic has thrown a wrench in typical brand communications. Brands that push too hard for sales during this time will be seen as insensitive, and brands that fail to contextualize their customer outreach will struggle to remain relevant. It’s important to address the crisis in a way that is respectful, empathetic, and honest. Here are best practices for brand communications regarding COVID-19 and 7 compelling examples from retailers like you. Read Full Article

One of the best things you can do as a customer-centric brand is figure out how to give back to the community during the COVID-19 crisis. One of our clients, Igloo, is doing just that by donating 100% of the profits from their iconic cooler product to the CDC Foundation. This campaign is a relevant and socially responsible way of welcoming new customers to the brand, generating cash flow, and making a positive and powerful impression on their customers. Read Full Article

Consumer buying behavior has changed. The COVID-19 outbreak has accelerated the shift from brick-and-mortar to ecommerce, and consumers are buying in different categories in response to this crisis. With mastery of your customer data, good communication, high-value customer acquisition, and a focus on building customer loyalty and evangelism, your brand can adapt to these shifts to sustain your business throughout and beyond the pandemic. Read Full Article

How retailers can use customer analytics to improve digital experiences and drive sales

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused ecommerce activity to skyrocket while brick-and-mortar suffers, highlighting the importance of omnichannel for brands all around the world. But unless you can track key metrics across every channel, you can’t effectively measure the performance of an omnichannel business model. This blog teaches you how to calculate the 5 most important metrics for mastering omnichannel: Customer lifetime value, recency and repurchase rates, customer satisfaction, ticket volume, and customer profitability. Read Full Article

The last thing any business owner wants to do is furlough or layoff their employees, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many to do so as stores have closed. Instead of letting your sales associates and store managers go entirely, you could use clienteling technology to enable them to provide human-to-human engagement for your most valuable customers. This blog discusses how clienteling can help retailers strengthen customer relationships during the crisis and beyond, why prioritizing high-value customers is key, examples of what this outreach should actually look like, and key considerations for every stage of proactive clienteling resourced by your sales associates. Read Full Article

In the wake of COVID-19, it’s critical that brands maintain an in-depth understanding of who their customers are—including their lifestyles, attitudes, and behaviors—in order to engage them effectively. Experian Mosaic is a rich dataset that enables you to do just that. This blog introduces the ins and outs of Experian Mosaic as a third-party data enrichment source, including the types of consumer information it provides; its high-impact use-cases for insight, acquisition, retention, and growth; and why it’s more valuable for small and mid-sized brands with a CDP. Read Full Article

Although the current crisis has made conversions difficult, growing your email list and strengthening customer relationships is more important than ever. This blog is an 8-step playbook detailing how to attract high-quality prospects, re-engage lapsed or unengaged customers, and enrich customer profiles with zero-party data. Read Full Article

The coronavirus is accelerating a shift that was already occurring in the retail industry: The shift from channel-based to customer-centric business operations. As consumers continue to increase their online shopping behaviors, retailers need to take advantage of the customer data available to them to provide customers with personalized, frictionless digital experiences. This blog introduces the primary forces driving change in the retail industry and introduces the best next steps you can take to cater to your customers, no matter where or how they’re shopping. Read Full Article

As shopping to online channels amidst coronavirus concerns, retailers who aren’t well-represented as digital, DTC brands will lose that spend to those that are. This blog explains the most common reason that retailers struggle to optimize their DTC sales (spoiler: the challenge lies in your data) and why Customer Data Platforms are the perfect tool for understanding your customers and engaging them with the online experiences they deserve. Read Full Article

With coronavirus concerns driving consumers online, retailers will be inundated with new and valuable data. This data can be used to understand, predict, and respond to customer behavior—but only if your business is set up with the correct tools and processes. This blog will help you understand where your business falls on the customer analytics maturity curve and what steps you can take to develop that maturity. Read Full Article

How retailers can drive digital acquisition and avoid wasteful ad spend

Because consumers are shopping less in-store as a precaution against the coronavirus, retailers need to make up for that income in online sales channels. But for the majority of the brands we’ve worked with, we’ve found that about 80 percent of their overall revenue comes from only about 20 percent of their customers. That means that, in order to maximize return on ad spend, retailers need to focus their acquisition efforts on only their highest-value customers. This blog shows you how to segment and target those customers in four steps. Read Full Article

During the coronavirus outbreak, businesses need to be careful about where they’re funneling their ad spend in order to maximize their return. The biggest mistake retailers make in digital advertising is targeting too broad an audience and wasting ad spend on prospects who were unlikely to convert in the first place. This blog walks you through practical approaches to suppressing irrelevant audiences and avoiding wasteful ad spend. Read Full Article

According to a report released by cybersecurity leader White Ops and the Association of National Advertisers, fraudulent impressions can represent up to 37% of an advertiser’s total impressions. As you shift your focus to digital advertising during the coronavirus outbreak, you need to ensure that you’re protecting your ad budget against fraudsters. Here’s how to do it using people-based targeting. Read Full Article

With rising advertising costs, algorithm updates prioritizing paid content over organic, an increase in competition, and more, social media marketing is not as easy as it used to be. During the coronavirus outbreak, you need to be mindful that you’re targeting and acquiring the right customers to avoid driving up your cost-per-acquisition. This blog walks through the four steps one of Lexer’s clients used to lower social CPA and increase ROI by 94 percent. Read Full Article

How retailers can drive retention, loyalty, and lifetime value

The current crisis has shifted almost all customer engagement to online channels—but even online shoppers will still expect that personalized human touch. For retail brands, the most impactful virtual engagement tactics include opportunities for real-time sensory experiences, surveys and interactive content, and prizes or giveaways. This blog outlines key ideas, examples, and takeaways for humanizing the virtual customer experience and nurturing strong, lifelong relationships with consumers. Read Full Article

Many business owners are scrambling to figure out how to operate during the #COVID19 outbreak. The key to surviving this disruptive period is to focus on the most important asset your business has: Your customers. By using tactics like surveys and questionnaires, you can collect valuable zero-party data that helps you contextualize brand communications and build better one-to-one connections with your customers. This blog discusses what zero-party data is, why it’s valuable, how to collect it, and why a CDP can help you make the most of it. Read Full Article

The coronavirus has changed the shape of consumer behavior, and there is a risk that overall customer lifetime value will drop for some brands. Because two-time buyers are nine times more likely to make repeat purchases than one-time buyers, the second sale is one of the most critical milestones for growing CLV and strengthening customer loyalty. Here’s how to target the right people, at the right time, with the right message, in the right channel to maximize the second conversion. Read Full Article

Even though the coronavirus is driving changes in where and how consumers shop, there are still steps you can take to continue growing your overall CLV. This blog defines CLV, shows you how to measure it, and provides nine practical tips from retail industry leaders for driving high-value acquisition, reducing wasteful ad spend, boosting customer loyalty, and growing CLV. Read Full Article

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Elizabeth Burnam
Content Marketing Specialist
Elizabeth Burnam is a content marketer and a poet at heart. She has a degree in Professional Writing and experience developing high-impact marketing assets for a broad range of industries.Outside of work, she enjoys reading, painting, people-watching, and exploring the natural wonders of Vermont.