With the COVID-19, change is happening so fast that each day can seem like a lifetime and each week an eternity. Staying flexible and in touch with consumer wants and needs is key during this unprecedented time period, especially when it comes to retail. While ecommerce has certainly seen an increase, with Amazon looking to hire 100,000 new employees to keep up with demand, what does this time that mean for local retailers?
It means that now is the time to not only think fast but act fast.
Companies that are willing to change during this time will likely be the most successful. To date, there has been an increase in buy online, pickup in-store promotions, and one step better is curbside pickup. Stores are communicating with their customers about the steps they’re taking to ensure the health and safety of their employees and customers. Emails, social media, in-store signage and within advertising are all ways that retailers are communicating with their customers. Some stores are limiting the amount of customers in the store at one time, while others are sanitizing the carts for each customer as they walk in. In addition to creating new ways to interact with your customers, being flexible to fit their needs is key.
With all of that said, the economy still needs marketers and marketing. Personal consumption expenditures accounted for 68% of U.S. gross domestic product sales in 2019. So retailers that sell essentials should continue to advertise. These businesses can utilize their advertising not only as a way to let people know what is currently in stock of the hard to find items, but they can also think creatively about what else consumers will want. Knowing that people have to stay home, what other things will they be looking for beyond food, toiletries, cleaning products and medicines? Will they want to grill outdoors more? Will they want to go hiking or camping? Maybe they want to plant a garden. Marketing helps commerce which in turn helps the economy.
Whether it’s state mandated or voluntary, several people are working from home and avoiding gatherings whether small or large. This not only has an economic impact on event centers, restaurants and retail, but it also has an impact media consumption. People are consuming more digital, mobile and video than ever before. Advertisers don’t need to cancel all media at this time, but rather they can adjust their media plans to ensure they are reaching their audience where they are — at home. This may look like cutting back on out-of-home and radio and increasing digital, paid social and TV/video buys.
It would be naive to think the economy won’t be impacted by COVID-19, but staying brave and conveying messages of confidence will help maintain a sense of normalcy in the face of fear, as well as help restore consumer confidence. Through this, commerce will continue and our economy will benefit greatly in the long run.
Emily Almich joined True Media in the summer of 2019 to lead the Retail Farm & Home vertical. With 20 years of media experience, her background in retail working on Target, Tires Plus Complete Auto Care stores and General Growth Properties and her strong agricultural background working on Syngenta and Kubota Tractor Corporation, she brings just the right experience and expertise to our team.