With physical stores closed, retailers have all adapted their marketing efforts and focused solely online; ensuring they are still a part of consumer’s “New Normal”. But one thing this time has shown us is that things can change quickly and it’s important to always be ready to shift to meet the needs of your customers as well as rethink your customer comms strategy.
There is a very valid fear amongst some retailers that warehouses or manufacturing lines will close, forcing them to suspend online trading altogether, and indeed some retailers have already had to take this action. This is, understandably, a great concern. So, how do you continue to derive value from your brand when your supply chain breaks?
This blog post will walk you through the steps you should take to effectively communicate with your customers if you have to close your warehouse, and the options you have for engaging customers in the meantime.
Step one: Update your customer
It’s essential to keep your customers in the know. Great customer experience still applies if you’re going to temporarily stop trading – you want them to know that you haven’t just disappeared and make them feel included in the steps you’re taking to ensure that you will return to provide them with their favourite items, once the lockdown begins to lift. This can be whittled down to three action points:
- Inform: Let your customers know that you will stop trading. This could be on your website, via email and across social media
- Clarity: Be clear and concise about what is happening to existing orders
- Service: Ensure your customer service team is at hand to answer questions via phone or chatbot
Here’s how Graham & Green effectively communicated their temporary warehouse closure:
Step two: Email campaigns
What should stop (for now)?
Pause any automation campaigns aimed at driving conversion, such as:
- Abandoned basket & browse campaigns
- Post purchase campaigns
- Win back campaigns
- Lead activation
What should you adapt?
Campaigns that help promote your brand:
- Welcome Flow: you can adapt your current flow to ensure products and wording are in line with current situation, keeping new customers informed
- Anniversary of first purchase: still celebrate your first year together, remove any elements that are geared towards conversion but show appreciation for their loyalty
- Birthday: You can include an offer redeemable once trading resumes.
How do you encourage revenue for your return to trading?
- Wishlist: Encourage your customers to add their favourite items to their wishlist
- Abandoned basket & browse: While campaigns are paused, tag these customers ans create a new segment, so you can easily re-target those in the future.
- Gift cards: Allow people to purchase gift cards. These can be given as a present during these times, which recipients can redeem later.
- Discount for those who wait: Offer a discount to those who are willing to order now but will only receive the item once your warehouse re-opens; make sure this is a higher discount than the one you will offer when you resume trading
- Competitions: Have customers enter a competition eg. design your own shoe or suit or toy and draw a winner. Gamify the customer experience – like Moss Bros did below with their ‘design a suit’ competition.
What you should keep up:
Use broadcast emails to continue communicating with your customers to stay front of mind and keep them engaged with your brand. We’ve included some of our favourites from across verticals on our Pinterest!
You want to make sure your content is relevant to customers during this very specific time. Here are some topics you can base your emails on:
You can use these emails as a chance to highlight to customers the additional value they can get from products they have purchased from you. This is also a great opportunity to showcase additional uses for products using lifestyle imagery and user generated content.
These emails may look like: How to keep yourself busy; Work from home; Workout at home; How to care for your plant; How to stay happy; How to rearrange your home, How to dress for an ‘online party’
About your brand
These emails are a chance to realign customers with your brand story and ethos, driving home the purpose that steers your company and the team behind making it happen.
These emails may look like: The story behind the brand, ; Behind the scenes; Meet the team, Team favourites
How often should you be sending broadcast emails?
- You may want to email them less frequently while trading is suspended, as you don’t want to flood your customers’ inboxes. Especially as your competitors will be sending more and a personable message from you will make a welcome change.
- Give customers the option to temporarily remove themselves from email communication while you are not taking offers.
Step three: Utilise your community and social following
Social is a great option for keeping shoppers engaged during times that you’re not trading with lifestyle content. Here some ideas:
- Polls (what do they want to hear about?)
- Open questions and quizzes on brand favourites
- Use your content as a much needed distraction and provide tips on using products, interactive or live sessions, create hashtags specific to your brand to encourage customers to engage and share.
Ometria customers Biscuiteers and Teapigs are using Instagram stories to answer customer questions (and generally share the love).
Your warehouse closing doesn’t need to mean the end of communications with your customers. This period grants retailers a unique opportunity to find new and interesting ways to engage with their consumers.
Things to remember:
- Keep your customers updated on any changes
- Keep engaging with your customers via email and social media
- Stop any automation campaigns and create lists of customers to reengage later
- Use your social media following to create content and remain personalised and top-of-mind
- Encourage revenue for when you return to trading with discounts, gift cards and incentives