In our recent post ‘The New Normal’, we identified six key themes for the new, emerging digital retail/ D2C world. 50-60% of retail sales will now be online as a result of Covid-19 and leaders and teams need to think and act, differently.
Enhancing and optimising the existing is not enough to ensure future customer relevance.
In this piece, we cover the importance of driving online adoption hard, as well as turbo-boosting social and organic routes to your brand, even as your stores open back up.
Digital acceleration in the very short term is now critically important as your overall revenue is now more dependent on online channels than ever before (permanently so). We confidently predict that 50-60% of UK retail will be online within the next 2 years. As a result, the overwhelming impression your brand gives to consumers will have come from online channels, particularly mobile social media. Physical retail stores and traditional advertising will have a place but much diminished.
One of the first things you need to do is ensure you’re tracking sentiment and awareness of your brand (as well as all the usual customer and web analytics) so you can tell when your efforts are working. Change is happening faster than ever and it will be critical to understanding how views of your brand are changing. Keep talking to your customers to generate insight and understand what stories your data is telling you.
Next, focus on getting customers signed up by whatever GDPR compliant route works for you. We think it is likely to involve content (a.k.a. stories), starting with what has worked for your customers in the past – you should have the digital intelligence to know what that was. Then iterate and consider different channels for your content – constantly – for example, should your brand be represented on TikTok or Snap? And how will that change how you communicate?
In terms of organic routes to your brand its about more than simply SEO, it’s about owning a share of your customers’ minds and supporting their journeys by providing them with everything they need to know about you, your services, and your products.
For some markets it isn’t just about paying for a few influencers – the half-life of their impact is very short. You need to build your audience using brand storytelling that builds over time. Synchronising this across multiple media and social media channels and keeping up to date with your customers will ensure your relevance and recency stays high.
Thinking about how to deliver these stories at scale over time, having separate brand and content teams is old thinking. Both need merging into product teams who are aligned to customer outcomes (more on product teams in our next post). In the New Normal, all brand content is trackable and thus should have performance goals attached-we like to think of this as Digital Intelligence. everyone in your team should understand your Digital Intelligence.
You will need to constantly innovate. How many fashion retailers are looking at virtual catwalks or video selling? How many can set them up in-house in a matter of weeks with full KPIs and metrics to check performance? You should also consider automating low-level tasks like personalisation and selection (and even pricing) based on algorithms and a constant flow of data. We cover elements of this in our recent episode A Lower Cost Business Model.
Work out quickly which parts of paid digital media are cost-effective for you and make sure your teams understand the parameters of success – in some sectors ads are cheaper than they were, in others more expensive. The digital marketing world is moving so quickly and having real-time reporting against the right OKRs /KPIs is essential.
Can you put together a small, agile, crack team to work on your detailed (but short term) digital plans for the next 30/60/90 days? If you can’t, ask yourself why? – in our post around agility, we encourage business to take more direct control of both their perceived competences and those elements that define brands – we think this should be an in-house function for retailers and brands.
As ever happy to discuss this here or contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Link to the New Normal
Link to the Maturity Curve