The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the global economy. Stores around the world remain shuttered, pubs and restaurants have been pushed to the breaking point, and unemployment has surged dramatically in many sectors of the economy. In this age of uncertainty, it’s only natural that consumers are reluctant to spend their money. But some brands and retailers have managed to keep their heads above water in these trying times, generating healthy sales and a sound bottom line. Let’s take a look at the strategies that have allowed these prescient companies to weather the storm, and persuade the public to choose their brand during the pandemic.
As consumers demonstrate a profound reluctance to head back to the shops, shoppable marketing has become more important than ever. This Spring, the US saw a growth of nearly 50% in eCommerce spending, while numerous high-profile retailers declared bankruptcy. And with more consumers than ever before buying from their sofas, our traditional image of the sales funnel has been fundamentally altered. As Venture Beat puts it, “Shoppable ads collapse the funnel in a way we’ve never seen before. Upper funnel ads are now simultaneously direct response ads — they’re one and the same. Quite simply, this changes everything.”
The conventional wisdom held that brands should begin in the “upper funnel” and offer messaging which would build awareness and curiosity, before transitioning, after a set number of interactions, to a harder sell and a focus on specific products. Shoppable marketing allows brands to simultaneously tell their story, create awareness, and offer a frictionless opportunity for purchase within the space of a few seconds. This game-changing capability offers savvy brands the chance to pinpoint their message and their responsiveness to consumer behaviour. Why wield an axe when you can get results with a razor-blade?
If we accept that the sales funnel has collapsed and that shoppable marketing is an immensely useful tool, it’s time to see what that means for broader marketing strategies. If the pandemic has given brands a single lesson, we might argue that it has shown us the hidden costs of long-term advertising commitments. Shoppable ads offer a parallel lesson in the value of remaining nimble. If you find the right marketing partners, they’ll let you under the hood, giving you access to real-time data on the successes and failures of your campaign. This will give you the ability to measure which websites, influencers, and videos are proving effective almost immediately, and tinker with your approach until you can perfect it. A splashy ad during a massive sporting event could build awareness, but a shoppable ad will let you know, almost immediately, if your strategy is working.
Shoppable advertising no longer means that a mouse is being clicked. Last year, American TV network NBC launched shoppable QR code technology that can allow advertising to occur during programming, as well as during commercial breaks. Across social media, television, and even voice searches, creating the right mix of marketing content, utilizing new technology to enable ease of purchase, and closely monitoring the results of every campaign will allow you to effectively generate sales even if your company has responded to the economic downturn by slashing advertising budgets. If your brand has made the decision to spend less, optimizing your ad spend is absolutely essential.
The best way to build your brand is to make sure that you have all of the information you can possibly obtain about when, why, and how consumers respond to your messaging. Optimizing the timing, content, and focus of your interactions with the consumer will dramatically increase the value of every dollar you spend. And shoppable ads will allow you to access real-time data on how the market responds to the content you’re putting out. But you need to be interacting with that data on a daily basis. You can’t afford to review your marketing strategies and campaigns annually, or even quarterly. If your approach can’t be updated, tweaked, and optimized every day, it’s time to rethink what you’re doing.
Around the world, millions of people have had their first eCommerce experiences during the COVID-19 crisis. None of them have established habits or preferences in the realm of online shopping. Shoppers are ready to try out new ways of getting what they desire, to break with the ways they’ve always done things, and see if innovations in retail can work for them. Brands need to adopt this pioneering spirit in their marketing and messaging. Try out new shoppable technologies. Design interactive ads that can distract and entertain in these trying times. Use social media as creatively as you can. The traditional sales funnel which slowly steered a potential customer to a purchase is a thing of the past. In order to succeed today you need to create moments that inspire, fascinate, and result in conversion. And don’t forget to harness the data that can tell you precisely how successful your experiments are.
Get Shoppable Today!
At Adimo we’ve been banging the drum for shoppable marketing for years. If your company hasn’t already embraced the concept, it isn’t too late to modernize your marketing strategy. But the moment of truth for antiquated approaches has arrived, and a new reality is setting in. If you aren’t collapsing your sales funnel and responding to real-time data, your brand is dangerously close to obsolescence. If you need help adopting the strategies that will bring success in the “new normal”, get in touch with Adimo today!