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Coronavirus: The ongoing impact for eCommerce – Part 2

It’s now approximately week 2 to 3 of the COVID-19 crisis for retail brands.

The announcement from the Prime Minister on Monday 23rd March 2020 dictated that all non-essential retail stores would be shut down in a bid to essentially put the UK on the toughest lockdown in peacetime.

All that remains open now are grocery stores, albeit with limited opening hours. How have these huge changes to society affected consumers’ mindsets and purchasing behaviour, specifically online? 

More importantly, what can eCommerce brands be doing now to ensure they’re constantly adapting to the rapidly changing environment amidst this pandemic? Afterall, eCommerce has quickly become a necessity rather than a luxury. 

The biggest challenge we have observed over this past week are reports of brands pausing marketing output as fear of the unknown begins to creep in. We’ve witnessed a huge decrease in the number of eCommerce brands investing in advertising (Klaviyo, 2020).

Whilst it does make sense to cut on spends related to Google Ad campaigns (with ‘Coronavirus updates’ now dominating Google search), halting or drastically cutting back on all ad spend could be unwise. Here are a few tips we have for combating this challenge:

Continue to invest in paid social ads, but make these relevant!

In contradiction to the reduction in advertising, the social media ads that are still running are gaining an increase in engagement, most likely due to the surge of people now staying at home. A boutique cookie brand reported sales up 180% week due to pumping ad spend, when competitors appeared to be pulling expenditure back (Klaviyo, 2020). 

People are now turning to social media as a form of escapism from an uncertain reality. If as a brand you are able to provide a few moments of respite; you’re offering something that is in high demand and should perform very well! Many kitchen and cookware brands have tapped into this by deploying adverts that encourage people to click through for home recipes. 

“A boutique cookie brand reported sales up 180% week due to pumping ad spend, when competitors appeared to be pulling expenditure back.”

Klayiyo, 2020

Don’t ignore your current database, let your loyal customers know you understand.

Even amidst great uncertainty, your loyal customers are likely to stay loyal to your brand. They also cost little to nothing to market to! If there was a time to capitalise on your current database, that time is now.

Reinforce that you understand their feelings, with newsletters that offer genuine and useful content in relation to your brand. There have been many fashion retailers adapting to the change in consumer mindset by offering ‘comfy collections’ for staying at home or ‘Living room gym wear’ for home gyms.

Adapting to the new normal and showing that you empathasise the changes and challenges occurring in your customers everyday lives’ is crucial in gaining their engagement in the first place, and ultimately, conversion.

Don’t let your eCommerce experience deter a sales conversion.

It’s now more important than ever that your online experience is seamless, engaging and enjoyable. Is your site as speedy as it can be, because it’s widely accepted that higher speeds = higher conversion rates! You should also be thinking about how you can rapidly upscale those first time customers to become repeat buyers. If you have an app or PWA, now is the time to be looking into push notifications. 

We’ll be keeping you in the know over the coming weeks on any findings or initial research from our partners and clients, so keep your eyes peeled for updates.