How COVID-19 Pandemic Impacted Marketing Efforts

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought us face-to-face with unprecedented times, where businesses struggle to keep the damage to the minimum. Since most countries have been under lockdown for the last few months, the impact of the restrictions on daily activities can be seen on almost all businesses and markets.

While the crisis has changed the business landscape, all is not lost. With these disruptions come opportunities for growth and overcoming challenges. With the right mindset and resources, you can navigate your way through these times in order to identify your customers’ needs, wants and expectations.

Should I continue my marketing efforts?

In times like these, the most impacted business is that of non essentials such as apparels, tech, beauty, etc. The greatest challenge is foreseeing how customer wants, needs, expectations and purchasing decisions will evolve. 

Keeping this in mind, businesses often have the question whether or not they should continue with their marketing methods at all. This question is only obvious since they want to optimize their costs of running the business to sustain during this period. And while making the cuts in the costs, the first thing to be sacrificed is more often than not, the marketing efforts. The thought process behind this is simple – If the buying capacity of the consumer has decreased then why burn money on advertising the goods?

Well, that approach here isn’t right. 

Abruptly stopping all your marketing efforts will cut off your relations and conversations with your customers. The longer the pandemic goes on, the more out of touch you will be with your brand followers. This will lead them to forget about your brand amidst all the engaging content provided by other brands. 

When things finally do get back on track, you will have to start from scratch.

So How Did The Pandemic Affect Brands?

As soon as the lockdown came into effect, offline stores were shut and deliveries from online stores had also come to a halt. This ultimately led to brands stopping most, if not all, of their marketing efforts since they could not deliver the products. Although this did affect sales, this also meant that the competition had lowered. Certain brands saw this as an opportunity and decided to run some of their marketing messages, just to ensure that they did not lose touch with their customers.

One more key takeaway from this sudden shift was that traffic clicks were cheaper since there wasn’t much competition in the market. Hence, for those who were continuing their advertising campaigns, this time couldn’t have been more fruitful.

Who Was At Advantage?

The lockdown had a huge impact on all traditional methods of sales and marketing but there were also certain businesses that benefited from it.

  • Brands that were delivering even during the lockdown period had an advantage by default since people had the ideology that it’s better to have products of any brand rather than not have any products at all.
  • Due to the social distancing mandate, people preferred buying online rather than going to offline stores, even if they were open for business. Thus the offline rush had found its way online. This played to the advantage of those who had established an online presence.
  • Another observation was that brands which had a prominent offline presence ultimately also had a prominent advantage online. This is due to the fact that customers trust a brand that they had been using, so that even while buying online, they do not have to worry about the product quality.
  • Brands which continued their marketing could leverage the customers of their competitors who weren’t aggressively marketing and promoting their products.

What were the downsides?

Although there were certain advantages, there were also some downsides that were seen by businesses and brands. One of the biggest adverse effects was seen in servicing after purchase since personnel movement was restricted. Not only that but deliveries also took a hit due to the limited movement of vehicles throughout the country which resulted in products being delivered within 2 weeks’ period or so instead of the previous 3-4 days period.

How do I sustain my brand in these times?

An article covered by The Economic Times outlines the concept of revenge shopping, taking the example of a luxury brand and how it recorded the biggest single-day shopping in China. Revenge shopping is the overindulgence in retail therapy by people who missed shopping during the lockdown period.

In India this trend might be witnessed in the upper middle class who have sustained their incomes and standard of living during the lockdown. Another way to recover the lost sales during the lockdown is carrying out promotional activities and sales or discount offers, which will attract customers loyal to your brand and also potential customers since everyone is looking for economical goods these days.

To summarize, the pandemic isn’t over yet. There might be a few more blind turns ahead but brands have already started planning for contingencies. Although this new economic climate has added challenges for brands, it has also opened up new avenues for growth.

If you are looking for performance marketing partner to grow your business in these uncertain times, please drop your query at que@anscommerce.com 

 

5 Reasons Why You Must Have an Online Brand Store

In a digitally driven world, businesses are constantly looking for ways to make their online presence more prominent. Since there have been many options for e-commerce platforms in recent years, the most common question a brand has is whether to set up their own online brand store or sell on marketplaces. While marketplaces such as Amazon, Myntra and Flipkart are popular these days, the possibility of your product being lost in the several hundred similar options is too high. Hence, in order to make sure that the customer recognizes your brand identity and its quality products, it is imperative that you must build your own brand ecommerce website.

It is estimated that brandstore can contribute to ~25-30% of overall retail e-commerce in India by 2026. Rise of DTCs and focus from established brands is a testament to online brandstore becoming core to retail strategy.

What are the advantages of building a brand store?

First and foremost, when you sell on a marketplace, the sole competition you have with other brands is on the basis of price. Marketplaces do not give many options for brands to show value against the 100 other brands offering a similar product.

Here are some key advantages of having your own ecommerce website:

Control brand experience:
You’re able to control everything on the site; from positioning to merchandising. You have a number of pre-built templates to choose from, complete flexibility over design, mobile-optimized interface, and a much more personal connection with your customers. Also, you get to control the pricing and authenticity of your products. This builds trust in buyers and familiarizes them with your brand and your ecosystem. Not only this, it establishes uniformity and a seamless transfer between your offline and online store.

Serve your customers directly:
Having your own website provides a personalized shopping experience to your customers, which ultimately reinforces your brand image. This allows you to have exclusive catalogs, discounts and content along with niche products according to their preferences. A personalized experience curated by the brand will reassure the customer about the authenticity and quality of the products and also make them trust the safety of the website.

Cross-sell and upsell your products:
You can boost your sales by adding a cross-sell option for customers, often seen as ‘similar products’ or ‘customers also bought’ options during the process of purchasing products. While in upselling, it is recommended that the customer buys a better, and hence more expensive, product. This is enabled when you know your customers’ purchasing preferences and have their data in order to tailor the suggestions as per their wants and needs.

Increased profit margins:
Your own brand’s e-commerce website will allow you to have more control over your online revenue. And since the sales will be on your own website, you will not have to share your profits with anyone except for ~2% gateway payment cut. Apart from that, unlike online marketplaces, you don’t need to pay any transaction or listing fees when you are using your own website. Additionally, you can run offers and deals as per your will and you won’t be penalized for a delay in delivery for some unforeseen circumstances.

Leverage customer data:
Since you will build your own customer database, their purchase patterns and key demographic information will help you improve targeting and personalization, along with aiding in product development and improving user flow. Adding to that, a leading fashion marketplace has its private labels which account for more than 25% of its business. Most of the time, marketplaces use the consumer data of other brands to improve their own private labels. Moreover, it is very difficult to formulate marketing actions such as sales promotion, discounts, abandoned shopping cart recovery, etc. for your own brand without customer insights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While marketplaces do provide the consumers with ease of shopping, if you are looking to position your brand and build a loyal customer base, having your own e-commerce website is more reliable. With the correct support team and resources, it can definitely go a long way in generating sales and ample revenue over time.

If you are looking for an expert e-commerce team to listen to your business needs and build a personalized website that reflects your brand identity, then get in touch with us at que@anscommerce.com