At no point in human history was the populace so aware of the economic consequences of a pandemic. Initially, the reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak ranged from sheer panic to brands scurrying to make what they could before the apparent and inevitable shutdown.
But while the COVID-19 situation has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster for many businesses, hundreds of others have taken the consequences in their stride. Industries were already establishing their presence online before the pandemic hit.
1. Today we can see companies splitting in two groups: either overwhelmed with orders (groceries, household goods, pet supplies, pharmacy, and general merchandise) or lacking orders and interactions (automotive, furniture, luxury, appliances, and hospitality).
2. On the other hand, the general shopping landscape is changing like never before, though factors and circumstances such as:
Shoppers Use a Mix of Digital Touchpoints along the Buying Journey
- In the discovery and evaluation part of the journey, search engines, social media feeds, and influencers are popular ways for shoppers to get product inspiration outside a brand’s properties.
- In the buying part of the journey, there are new types of purchase points emerge. Mobile wallets are behind e-mail as a place to make purchases. And 14% of shoppers are making purchases through social media.
- Customers Still Face Silos Across Channels – there is a gap between customer expectations and the reality
- Customers are accessing multiple touchpoints during purchase but there is a significant disconnect within companies.
- 75% of consumers expect consistent interactions across all departments.
- However, 58% say that they feel like they’re communicating with separate departments and not one company.
- And when it comes to service issues, 70% of customers expect all of the reps to have the same information about them, but 64% say that they have to re-explain issues.Digital Sales Are Becoming More Active Than Holiday Period
Verticals Experience Different Order Growth – the surge in digital commerce is not evenly distributed
- In today’s environment, unified channels and customer service are more important than ever, as non-essential businesses closed their doors to help slow the spread of Covid-19. This meant that retailers and shoppers alike had to pivot overnight to a digital-only reality.
- We see digital sales growth by 18% in Q1 2020 compared to Q1 2019
- We see traffic growth by 13% in Q1 2020 compared to Q1 2019
Desktop and Social Surge in Traffic – In addition to the rise in digital commerce and traffic, there are two more unusual trends
- The first relates to desktop traffic. In Q1 2019, desktop traffic declined by 9%, but grew by 9% in Q1 2020. With people stuck inside and not on the move, there’s a pronounced switch to desktop traffic and purchases.
- Another trend is that traffic from social media has grown quickly. In Q1 2019, the share of traffic coming from social media was 6%. This jumped to 8% for Q1 2020.
- DIY and home related goods clearly saw astonishing growth, up 70% in Q1 2020.
- Toys and learning and active apparel experienced growth over 35% in digital orders in Q1 2020.
- However, luxury and general apparel only grew around 10% in Q1 2020, which is lower than their Q1 2019 performances.3. Marketing technologies can help increase the effectiveness and efficiency of marketing activitiesCompanies who are the fastest and more flexible in adapting to the new reality will have a huge advantage in the market and will become industry leaders the others will have to follow. For that, marketing is essential in this new race to be recognized as a market leader. It brings more business, new customers and more importantly, it creates and strengthens customer loyalty for the brand.
4. Marketing trends and ideas that need to be considered these days:
- Market from Home – Deploy campaigns quickly from home, collaborate across teams and keep marketers engaged with apps
- Engage Customers with Empathy – Listen to your customers, use real-time data to better understand their current situation and needs
- Personalize Digital Communications – Accelerate digital channel adoptions, deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time
- Optimize Budget Spends – View unified marketing performance and make real-time decisions to minimize the negative impact5. Next steps/activities for firms in the next couple of weeks/months:
- During this crisis we’ve discovered that companies move through three stages of response: stabilizing your company, reopening your workplace, and eventually when we emerge from this crisis – growing your business.
- Companies are going through these phases at different rates, each having its own pace. Sometimes, they even have different teams or departments within the company at different stages. Within each stage, we believe it’s important to focus on solutions for your leadership, your employees, and your customers, so you can ultimately have that business continuity you’re looking for.
- For most companies, they need to stabilize during rapid unexpected change – focusing on employee health and safety, financial stability, and operational decisions. It’s all about managing the crisis as quickly as you can.
- Once a business has made rapid stabilizing decisions, they shift to reopen in their new environment. In this second phase, companies focused on enabling remote work for employees, reopening businesses and communities, and finding new ways of communicating with customers, at a massive scale in some cases.
- And finally, companies that have successfully stabilized and normalized, emerge and grow to become a more digital, agile company – and begin prepping the ‘Next Normal’ post-crisis.Stabilize your companyStart with transparent leadership. Bring together a leadership decision-making team and put a crisis plan together. This becomes the guiding beacon for decision making and communicating to employees and customers.
During this crisis, having new and regularly updated data is more important than ever. Building a data culture will help employees and customers understand why you’re making trustworthy decisions during COVID-19.
Empowering employees start with their health and safety in Stabilize. For some companies, it might mean closing stores or offices and having employees work remotely. This requires giving them digital tools so they can work from home. For other businesses, safety tools mean protective gear and new operational processes.
And engaging with customers is crucial during Stabilize. This might mean reaching out proactively to top customers and also responding to an influx of inbound calls. To help with this, many companies are setting up virtual contact centers and self-service portals to offer service at scale.
Reopen your workplace
For business leaders getting back to work starts by building a command center and evolving the V2MOM to meet the changing digital needs of the business. With more data sources and dashboards, leaders can make better decisions on stores, plants, regions, and product planning. In this phase, it’s critical that leaders are more visible and share as much as they can with employees on their perspectives and insights through all company calls and communications.
To empower employees working remotely, implement new digital tools and resources to enhance productivity at home. During this phase, provide learning tools so they can build new skills or adjust to a new workstyle.
When engaging customers, create personalized journeys across their preferred channels. Begin to realigning products for the new digital world – thinking about how your customers will be able to interact with your business. As customers expect a seamless experience, service channels should be integrated to connect your digital touchpoints.
Grow your business
Once company leaders are transparent through the new processes and have created a data culture around decision making – it’s time to expand analytics across the market and economic trends to sense on-coming potential new crises and be prepared with the ‘Next Normal’ plan that can be quickly put into place.
Employees now expect a personalized and digital experience to work from their companies. Employees are collaborating in new ways – regardless if they are in an office or at home. As new technology is built upon to drive digital innovation – reskilling for future jobs and career opportunities becomes increasingly important.
For customers, you need a single source of truth across all of your customer touchpoints. You need to be open and drive new partnerships, which is why now more than ever we’re excited about the Salesforce Customer 360.
Source: Yourstory & Deloitte