As ecommerce jumps years ahead thanks to the shove out of the airplane we call COVID-19, specialty retail looks for the emergency chute. To quote contributing author and retail expert Greg Petro, “retail is not dead, it is evolving.” Evolving indeed.
That evolution has specialty retailers taking a critical eye to their branding and ecommerce experience. As we watched big retail brands declare bankruptcy daily, the bar continues to get higher.
To stay relevant and thrive in a post-COVID-19 world, you have to:
Have a Strong Point of View
Also known as a brand story
Understand Your Audience
And, just as importantly, who it’s not
Offer a Unique Product or Service
An offering your audience a) can’t find other places, b) finds more convenient, c) gains a level of expertise or authority unmatched by other brands, or d) finds a benefit that can’t be ignored
Present an Online Presence
That is easy to find and makes purchasing simple
No one is saying this is easy. But with strategic brand marketing for retail, TBE helps brands successfully accomplish this comprehensive checklist.
Have a Strong Point of View
A strong point of view or brand story makes it clear who your brand is and its beliefs. Views on social issues as well as health and safety concerns are playing a larger role than ever on how consumers select and engage with brands. A strong brand voice makes it easy to communicate with your audience in a way they want to hear from you.
Know Where Your Audience Stands on Issues
Understanding how your audience is reacting to environmental situations and responding accordingly will help you stay relevant. It’s easy to pick on apparel brands because they have spent millions of dollars to find a place in our mental shopping directory. But victims of relevance are everywhere. Victoria Secret got “me too-ed” as ThirdLove helped us embrace a real body image.
Collect and Review the Data
Data, particularly about audiences, is the engine to modern retail, as big retailers close and online retail flourishes. Data helps companies identify who is visiting, who is buying, who buys what, why they buy what they buy, and what they might want next. Sure this helps with sales projections, but it’s also powerful marketing and communication knowledge.
Make Your Point of Difference Clear
Not as straightforward on the list is the point of difference arena. A point of difference can come from data-based insights crafted into a relevant point of engagement, a one-of-a-kind product or a unique POV. Think of the brands you engage with—aren’t they exposing you to things you can’t find or hear other places?
Brand Loyalty is More Important than Ever
This all works to create loyalty for brands post-COVID-19. We all know that brand switching has been prevalent but developing a loyalty factor is critical. According to Robert Passikoff, President of Brand Keys, loyalty means a customer thinks of your brand first in a category and will also give that brand the benefit of the doubt. This loyalty is not based on availability or accessibility. Passikoff believes that 75% of the decision-making process is made up of the brand, the value and integrity of your product or service, and the value consumers will reap from the purchase. That equates to loyalty.
It’s important to make sure your brand voice is reflected in all brand experiences—from your online shopping platform and email communications to your brick and mortar touchpoints. As a retail branding agency, TBE can help you solidify your brand story, your value to the audience and your online experience. Our TBE ecommerce specialists and UX designers can elevate your website so it’s easy to navigate as well as functionally sound and secure. Contact us today. Don’t let your specialty retail brand deteriorate as the effects of COVID-19 continue to impact the world of retail shopping.