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How Retailers Can Charge Forward During Challenging Times

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April 27th, 2020 | Alissa McCue

Retailers have long understood the importance of connecting with their customers online, and in these times of COVID-19 (coronavirus), optimizing this strategy is more crucial than ever.

For the time being, Social distancing and quarantine guidelines mean consumers are spending more time at home than usual. When they do go out, they must adjust to the new, modified retail landscape. Store closures, reduced store hours, and limited product availability means consumers are reassessing their typical shopping behavior and making compromises as they learn how to navigate this new reality.

While the primary focus for everyone is to follow directives that promote health and safety, there’s still a demand for both essential supplies and the everyday goods consumers need. This offers a unique opportunity for brands to find creative ways to maintain a dialogue with their potential customers. Keeping shoppers informed about relevant information related to products, the ability to fulfill orders online, and your brand’s commitment to ensuring the safety of consumers and employees is key.

This isn’t just important now, in the midst of the outbreak, but also in the post-pandemic world. Consumer behaviors, habits, even brand affinity will be shaped by how you respond today.

Arm Yourself with Data

There’s a lot retailers can do both to service their customers in the current retail climate and to prepare for the weeks and months to come. Arming yourself with vital data about consumer behavior, purchasing patterns, and foot traffic trends is at the top of the list.

Purchasing channels are shifting from physical stores to online as consumers rely on e-commerce to deliver the goods they can’t get closer to home, and leverage the opportunity to stay at home in order to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. While some product categories like consumer electronics and books were disrupted by digital long ago, others are likely to follow.

Brands can prepare for this by reaching out to consumers with all available shopping alternatives. GroundTruth’s data about consumers’ visitation behaviors enables you to connect with consumers wherever they are, and offer digital offers that are relevant to their current needs, as well as past visitation data.

Keep in Touch With Loyal Customers

Regardless of how and where consumers are shopping, retailers must maintain a positive connection with their loyal customers. This doesn’t just include updating them on store hours and product availability, but also introducing them to any social good and corporate responsibility initiatives you may be launching at this time.

Mobile ads targeted by Location-Based Audiences can help you reach your loyal followers and deliver timely information. Use them to let shoppers know about incoming shipments of in-demand products, and the measures you’re taking to protect customers and staff from exposure to the virus.

Attract First-Time Customers

Because consumers are adjusting their approach to shopping, visiting different retail channels, and trying new products when their favorites are unavailable, retailers have the opportunity to target first-time customers. You can use this time to build a positive association with your brand.

One way to do this is by conquesting competitors’ audiences to introduce your brand to shoppers and let them know you’re stocking essential and in-demand products. Including a first-time customer offer in your ad can boost consideration. This approach will also help keep your brand top of mind, as many consumers are increasing their daily screen time to stay connected.

As retail brands shift their operations from heavily-trafficked brick-and-mortar stores to their online storefronts, GroundTruth can help keep your customers engaged and connected to your brand. Contact us for more information.

Alissa McCue
Senior Manager of Communications & PR

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