Why Branding trumps Advertising in a post-pandemic world?
Where have customers gone in a post-pandemic world? Let’s reconsider this social media posted about 12 months ago:
The lights are on, retail assistants are in, but where are all the consumers?
They’re out there.
Retail brands need to look for them.
The ‘if you build it they will NO LONGER come’ approach in retail is over.
The pandemic has shocked us into RETHINKING what retail could become 🤔
Some say we must place the consumer at the heart of everything we do 💕
But some retail brands need intervention to shock their heart back into beating again.
They’re dying, some are almost dead.
If you can’t feel the heart of your retail brand, you won’t place your consumer there.
Your retail brand is simply… numb and lifeless.
Retail brands must go beyond the heart and find the lifeblood of a consumer.
What really makes them tick? ⏰
What makes their heart beat? 💓
To know this data we must first change our mindset as a retail brand.
We must be humble to ask and then committed to deliver to our consumer.
We must be willing to go deep within and immerse the consumer into your retail brands “experience”.
Consumers no longer buy brands 👂 they buy experiences with those retail brands.
But to begin we must change our minds not our hearts.
Shall we begin?
If you have a retail brand and wondering where your customers are, well, they are still here! Previously, we looked at the significant shifts in consumer behaviour since the onset of the pandemic, with many taking to online shopping leading to a record-breaking year for e-commerce in 2020^.
Your customers are, in fact, spending more than ever; the brand Lovisa reported a 400% increase in two quarters with their online sales. So, how can retail brands re-engage the customer in this new world?
Branding trumps Advertising
Retailers that try to deal with reduced foot traffic in-store with advertising, or stuffing the store with more product and heavily discounted merchandise will not cut it over the long term. To rethink the retail scene involves a more fundamental focus on Branding.
Know your customer
Branding is the way to forge a relationship with your customers, to get them into your store. In retail, you need to be there and get to know our customers on the front line. Let’s revisit the old days, where shop owners were always on the sales floor and knew everything about everyone that entered their store; they knew behaviours, their preferences and pre-dispositions. From there, you can rethink how the retail space can be used in the changing and ever evolving post-pandemic world.
Post-pandemic retail experience
Customers ARE spending and there IS an undercurrent of consumers willing to pay more to get the same product or service if they can forge a relationship with the retail brand, while still having the option to go in-store should they choose. Your brand needs to observe the customer and adapt so that you can provide the experience to suit their changing preferences.
Reinventing the Retail Space
To forge and build on customer relationships, it’s time that retail spaces be reinvented into retail hubs that become more like public relations lounges, with the view to nurturing the relationship with the brand. There is a reason why most airports have member lounges tied to airline brands to help make the travel smoother, more comfortable and enjoyable, and to help customers feel as though they’re not being inconvenienced at all.
This is much more powerful than advertising alone and strengthens the customer connection with a brand for the long term.
Other retail brands are changing the use and store layouts, for example, Rebel Sports have started rolling out retail spaces with full-size basketball courts, running tracks and try-out experience hubs of their products. NIKE ID gives customers the ability to go in-store, try on shoes to get a digital footprint and cast of the shoe, then uploaded to an online account so customers can custom design and order their NIKE exactly how they want it.
Reinventing the retail experience is key to build up your brand and engage with your customers at a new level.
With the new normal here to stay, remember this: Centre the consumer in everything you do, and your business will thrive.