5-Step Plan for Online Retail Marketing After Coronavirus Lockdown
As some states begin to lift stay-at-home restrictions, entrepreneurs remain uncertain about online retail marketing after coronavirus. The outset of the pandemic required many business owners to place tough restrictions on their companies. However, as public life slowly reemerges, the marketing "do's and don'ts" may seem blurred.
Predicting the exact outcome of post-coronavirus life is difficult as consumers readjust to this new sense of normalcy. Though times are uncertain, post-COVID business recovery will flow smoothly if you carefully prepare your marketing plan, and then implement it effectively to your consumers. Here are five important points for consideration that will help you successfully do so.
Advanced Preparation is Key For Successful Post-Coronavirus Marketing
While under stay-at-home orders, many consumers turned to online retailers for their shopping needs. Shipping delays, high-demand item restrictions, and product shortages made this fact clearly evident.
Though brick-and-mortar stores are now opening to the public once again, the adjustment in consumer shopping habits may remain the new norm. Now is the time to prepare your website, SEO plan, and product supply for a longer period of increased online retail marketing and activity.
1. Website Functionality
Considering a potential influx in future online shoppers, ensure that your website is equipped to handle a sustained increase in traffic. Compare the details of your hosting plan with your website analytics to make sure that shoppers trying to reach your page are actually able to get there.
Then, with fresh eyes, reexamine your eCommerce user-experience. Pay attention to items like the ease of navigation, clarity, and page speeds. Strive to implement functional and aesthetic updates before they become issues. After all, with ever-increasing online competition, your store needs to demonstrate the utmost professionalism. This way, you foster trust with consumers before they invest in your merchandise.
2. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Speaking of competition, make sure that target consumers can actually find your online store by updating old SEO. Search engine optimization is extremely important in maximizing your exposure on search engines like Google. Especially in this time period where more new consumers are exploring online retail, you need a solid SEO strategy to stand out and show up in search results.
There is never a bad time to reoptimize your online store. If your business is slower now, use this time wisely to propel your content forward. Alternatively, if your business is booming, take advantage of the momentum, and see just how profitable your store can become with proper, updated optimization. Feel free to contact our SEO specialists for a free consultation.
3. Product Supply
Since so many manufacturing companies are located in China, their country-wide shut down delayed product fabrication and delivery across the world. Now that those companies are opening back up again, and the supply chain is moving, many business owners are considering long term adjustments to their stock manufacturing processes.
Harvard Business Review referred to the pandemic as a "wake-up call for the supply chain management." In fact, they urged readers to learn the true origin points of their products. Oftentimes, entrepreneurs are unaware of all of the suppliers, sites, parts, and materials involved in manufacturing one single product. Then, when a pandemic like COVID-19 arises, business owners are unable to track delays or facilitate production workarounds for customers.
By investigating your own supply chain, and aligning your store goals with operational objectives, you will be better equipped to make prompt adjustments if the need arises. As Harvard Business Review says, "[After COVID-19] there will be those that don’t do anything, hoping such a disruption won’t ever happen again. These companies will be taking a highly risky gamble."
Don't take the gamble when it comes to your business. Learn as much as you can about your product supply chain now, so you can prepare your consumers for whatever may come along next.
How To Properly Implement Your Online Retail Marketing After Coronavirus
Once you have a plan for post-coronavirus business operations, you should get ready to let your customers know. Just like you, consumers want to be made aware of what is going on and when. Happy customers are ones who are "kept in the loop."
Tell your consumers what they can expect as operations begin to normalize. Answer common questions regarding stock availability, discounts, sales, or post-coronavirus policies. Though you may not have all the answers at first, provide your consumers with as much helpful information as possible.
Then, you can begin to implement updated marketing techniques on social media, your website, and through paid advertising.
4. Social Media & Website Content
When building your post-coronavirus social media and website plans, give some thought to how each piece of content represents your brand. There is nothing wrong with continuing to promote products despite pandemic conditions. Strive to do so, though, with respect to their use in our new "normal" lifestyle.
Consider the fact that your consumers may not be rushing back to social settings. Show sensitivity to their choices by continuing to promote content that reflects the same attitude. Moreover, be wary of showing blatant disregard for uncertain conditions. For example, it may be unwise to encourage shoppers to socialize in a large group, if it is still unsafe to do so.
Additionally, use a little creativity to make your content stand out. For example, the London Fashion Week in September is going to take place entirely over the internet. If your business is in the fashion niche, why not hold your own virtual fashion week, perhaps drawing a prize for anyone using a personalized hashtag? Just because this summer is looking different, doesn't mean it has to be boring. Stay on brand, but show your consumers some fun, too.
Display respect for the current climate without halting the promotion of your products by inspiring consumers instead of directly selling to them. For example, highlight a DIY post with simple instructions, featuring one of your products in the materials list. Thus, instead of simply pushing a product, you encourage your consumer on a path that may, ultimately, still end in a sale.
Finally, remember that consumers often check social media for important vendor information. Don't hesitate to update your followers frequently with new regulations, policies, or processing times. Consider what types of questions your consumers will ask, and how you can most effectively answer them on social media or your website.
5. Paid Advertising
During the pandemic, many entrepreneurs reduced or altogether canceled paid advertising. Now that lockdown regulations are subsiding, re-examine your current advertising situation before moving forward.
If your paid ads are still running, could you adjust them to better address the current health situation? If you find a promotion just doesn't fit anymore, pause or replace it. Most business owners would agree: it's more beneficial to stop the advertising for a while than lose customers as a result of it.
Next, think ahead to new, timely advertisements. What campaigns would you like to begin now that lockdown is over? Perhaps there is a special deal you can run to encourage shoppers to buy products they had been avoiding during the pandemic. Some apparel retailers have updated featured "Work At Home" loungewear to "Get Back Out There" beach attire.
When considering the channels of advertising to pursue, take a moment to compare analytics from before and during the lockdown. Some business owners discovered a new method of marketing during the pandemic that worked better than previously implemented methods. Conversely, if your marketing wasn't so successful during the COVID-19 lockdown, consider slowly phasing back in some older advertising techniques.
Online Retail Marketing - Better Than Ever After Coronavirus
In these uncertain times, the near-future of marketing may seem unclear. In fact, how you proceed can be dependant upon local and governmental restrictions - most of which are out of your control.
However, your success will be based on careful planning and meticulous implementation of what you can control. Prepare now for an increase in online consumerism, and create timely, tactful marketing content. By doing so, your eCommerce business will emerge from this pandemic and flourish better than ever before