Retailers have had to re-think their email marketing and the message they want to send during lockdowns. It isn’t about fast and flexible ways to reach new & existing customers anymore but it is about how they can support, help and not overwhelm their customers.

​Ometria’s annual consumer census in 2019 found that 70% of people regularly felt overwhelmed when they opened their inbox(es). This was their discovery before Covid-19. Maintaining empathy is the absolute key to loyalty during times like these.

Here are 5 ways retail marketers should consider the needs of customers during lockdown:

1. Content-focused approach is greatly appreciated by consumers. It is not about the products that they would normally push at this time of year, brands have to focus on categories that make sense to consumers during the pandemic and more specifically tight lockdowns. From entertainment solutions such as ‘stay at home parties’ and health and beauty products that resonate ‘self-care and indulgence’

​​2. Move fast and measure data in super quick time. It is now about being totally and unequivocally customer-centric. According to McKinsey, brands that get real-time personalisation right can deliver eight-times the ROI of their marketing spend and lift sales by over 10%.

3. Fill the consumer inbox with empathy-led marketing campaigns that are responsive and totally customer-centric. According to research, the top five categories consumers reported purchasing most online prior to the Covid-19 were apparel, electronics, home goods, accessories, and food and beverages. Four months later and consumers were ordering kitchenware, books, toys and games, crafts, exercise equipment, and gardening.

​4. Keep refining your customer experience – tweak existing touchpoints and make it personal & sympathetic. Research shows that 52% of customers feel greater loyalty towards brands that are showing how they’re helping people during this time.

​5. Get creative with CX design. According to Jon Picoult, Founder & Principal of Watermark Consulting, a customer experience advisory firm “ Doing CX well is as much about shaping customers’ memories as it is about shaping their experiences”. And during a lockdown, there is no better time to create positive memories

​It’s not just customers’ routines that have been disrupted by the pandemic. Many employees, too, are navigating a new, work-from-home world. Employers need to stay close to their current & future staff and continue to promote themselves as an Employer of Choice by updating their vision and employee processes.

​​5 ways Employers should consider the needs of their business & employees during lockdown:

1. Redesign your employer brand and recruitment process. Re-define who you are. How has your company changed as an employer? Are you a digital employer now? Companies need to promote their new identity to attract different skills & bring their existing skilled workforce through lockdown safely & positively.

​2. Get recruiting! Snatch up talent fast. Ignore job titles and industry experience and focus instead on transferable skills from industries that are letting people go.

​3. Up Skill Employees “Technologies such as digital networks, artificial intelligence and machine learning have been disrupting the job landscape for the past few years. Employers are faced with a workforce that lacks the skills and knowledge needed to run the systems, algorithms and business processes of modern enterprises. Marketers need to be retrained to harness the power of digital marketing and marketing automation. Manufacturing workers need to acquire skills to use the technologies of smart manufacturing” Mohanbir Sawhney, a professor of marketing and technology at the Kellogg School of Management

​4. Design a robust reward & recognition programme. Saying thank you is more important than ever. Employees are being forced to do things not in their contract and find skills they didn’t think they had. If you have managed to keep your staff during lockdown, feel lucky and get rewarding & recognising their loyalty.

​5. Enrich the employee experience. Working from home can have its pitfalls for some and employees expect to be treated well from a distance. Great performance should be celebrated immediately and in real time. Well-being check-ins must be high on the to do lists of managers every morning. It shouldn’t be a tick-box exercise mind, but a deep discussion that allows an employee to report on their workload, accessibility of tools they need to do their job and don’t forget to help them manage their self-motivation levels. This can include encouraging them to have many breaks, work different hours and exercise.

 

References
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonpicoult/2020/05/13/5-ways-to-leverage-the-lockdown-and-improve-your-customer-experience/?sh=27a6773143ac

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mohanbirsawhney/2020/04/28/sharpening-the-spear-5-ways-to-leverage-the-lockdown/?sh=4229f3ea4f14

https://www.essentialretail.com/comments/retailers-stay-close-customers/