The scope of my article will revolve around e-commerce and focus on how to have effective e-commerce marketing in Covid-19. And believe me, if your business has a nimble marketing team, now is the time to break through.
It has been almost 2 years since the world was first exposed to the Coronavirus. The rapid spread of this disease along with the high mortality of this disease sometimes makes people forget how peaceful we used to be in the past.
People still talk about a “new normal” but yes we should accept the truth and twist ourselves to change. Change is happening on many fronts, including in the commercial sector. How about eCommerce? Would marketing during this time make a big boom?
Covid-19 pandemic and changes
Profits are created when businesses control the balance of supply-demand. The production lines at the factories operate smoothly, creating an abundant supply of goods at the stores or distribution points of the business.
Along with that is a stable and loyal customer base that perfectly solves the output problem so that the business can increase profits.
It can be considered a dream business model for any business where marketing acts as a bridge between products and customers.
However, everything changed so quickly. “Covid-19 has completely changed the way businesses operate,” wrote John Copeland, Vice President of Customer and Marketing Insights at Adobe. Social distancing in early and mid-2020 in most countries around the world caused businesses to close factories for a long time.
The point of sale lacks goods. People cannot go directly to convenience stores or supermarkets, but the need to shop is still there or even. The changing market, the old workflow has been changed, creating momentum for the development of digital services, mobile applications, and multi-channel virtual marketplaces as people spend more time surfing the web to search for more products. . Online orders and home delivery will represent this trend.
The pandemic has also slowed the economies of many countries, increasing unemployment. Many businesses also have to tighten revenue and expenditure, leading to limited salary and bonus funds for employees.
That makes people’s wallets no longer as rich as before. Users now shop with wisdom and consideration. They evaluate more rigorously, demanding more from the brands.
Amid the general economic difficulties, many e-commerce platforms have launched many discount codes or consumer gratitude events at extremely good prices. A quality product at a reasonable price? Perfect.
And during the pandemic, it can be seen that e-commerce has surpassed traditional commerce to become the locomotive of many economies.
By analyzing 1 billion visits to retail websites as well as other retail data, Adobe’s Digital Economy Index Report shows that e-commerce revenue in May 2020, in the US alone, touched $82.5 billion, up 77.8% year-on-year.
This is a breakthrough growth rate, accelerating the entire e-commerce industry. It would have taken more than four years for the industry to reach that level of revenue, but the industry was done in less than four months.
Research has just been published by iPrice Insight, in the second quarter of 2021, the online grocery industry grew strongly when localities implemented social distancing. This shows that the need to find essential items, fresh food, vegetables, etc. has increased in the context of people having to adapt to social distancing.
Specifically, Google searches related to the keyword online grocery increased 223% in the second quarter. Products, fresh food items, and meat and fish; beverages of all kinds; packaged foods, and vegetables were the top searched with growth rates of 99%, 51%, 30%, and 11% compared to Q1/2021.
The “shocking” changes in consumer behavior create a cool breeze for the “flag” of e-commerce to fly. As businesses shift market share to e-commerce platforms, the effectiveness of the marketing process becomes paramount to winning.
Golden time for e-commerce marketing
There are too many examples that can demonstrate the increasing coverage of e-commerce. We have Amazon in North America with sales up to nearly $800 billion in 2020, Shopee and Lazada with a large market share in Southeast Asia.
Reasonable business strategies coupled with an experienced marketing team have led them to quickly dominate the markets of these regions and build themselves a growing customer base. Let’s see how they did e-commerce marketing during the Covid-19 pandemic!
From the changes in buyer awareness and behavior, the role of marketers in ensuring the business’s continuous supply chain of goods is “re-evaluated”.
The CMO survey found in June 2020 that 62.3% of companies perceived the role of marketing as increasingly important in the last year. In February 2021, that number rose to 72.2%. B2B Services companies had the highest increase (76.6%), along with mid-sized companies by the number of employees (92.3%) and revenue (88.0%) and companies company have more internet revenue (80.0%).
Thus, it can be stated in a nutshell: The success or failure of a business now depends more on its marketing team.
It is the online shopping process that will cause users to learn more about the brand from product information, customer policies, feedback from other shoppers… Who will provide this information to the consumer? Marketers.
And of course, that information will also reflect the quality of the product marketing process. This will be the basis for this team to build a reasonable marketing strategy for the next product, the next collection, and possibly help users identify the brand for a long time later.
You should understand that we should learn to live with the Covid-19 pandemic and possibly more pandemics. And e-commerce is opening up another avenue to connect businesses with consumers. A calculated and long-term marketing strategy will help ensure 2 metrics: acquiring new customers and improving marketing ROI.
Not only helping customers understand all about products, but eCommerce Marketing in Covid-19 is also synonymous with building and effectively managing a customer database. Enterprises with a rich database will bring a strong competitive advantage. That’s the way businesses are applying to be able to track customers, both existing and potential customers, accessing the business’s website such as: choosing what products to buy, time and number visits, interest (haven’t purchased) which product groups,…
The Covid-19 epidemic has also reshaped the way many businesses market. I’m talking about the “digital transformation” issue. A successful digital transformation is when the marketing team balances the human factor and the achievements that machines bring.
Huge amount of information related to “customer segments” (not each customer as before) thanks to the machine system to be able to process smoothly. And only when the receiving team masters that, that business has the opportunity to compete fairly with rivals.
According to a CMO report, 42.8% of marketers reported investing in automation technology to improve communication with customers in February 2021, up 25% from last June and 42.5 % of marketers now report investing in data integration, up 71% since June 2020.
Effective e-commerce marketing strategies in the context of the Covid-19 epidemic
Thanks to the report Digital Imperative for CMO from BCG Digital Ventures and experts from Credit Sesame and MercadoLibre for helping me realize a lot if I want to shape a professional marketing style for e-commerce in the middle epidemic situation.
These strategies will fall into three main areas including the web, media, and the influence of the KOLs that the brand chooses.
1. Website – the representative face of the business
* Eye-catching website design and compatible on all sizes (compatible with phones)
According to Statista – a German company specializing in markets and consumer data, about 25% of all online shoppers will leave your website if the display layout, location, and navigation are too difficult. understand.
This is not difficult to understand, is it? A reasonable layout will help customers have a good experience in the shopping process.
The themes and layout of an online store change from year to year or even from holiday to holiday. And if you don’t catch this, then you are one step behind your competitors.
And I think you will also understand how important this is to make a good first impression on your customers. The category page should be designed so that users can easily search and select the products they find necessary. Therefore, you need to divide the products into groups, each specific industry.
Important elements on the site such as the main menu, pages, posts, and links… also need to be highlighted.
In addition, as consumers increase the amount of time using their phones for online shopping, marketers also need to research to make sure the business’ sales page is compatible with that compact handset. . Surely no one likes a sales page that is lost in the content.
Some of the tricks that can be used to improve the consumer experience on the phone are:
– Pin the cart at a convenient display position so that customers don’t have to scroll up and down to find it
– Put “add to cart” buttons in a handy position so that customers can add products to their cart as soon as they need them.
* Enhance the use of visual illustrations for products
Products are the main object of the marketing process, so their appearance also needs to be elaborated by the marketing department. Especially in the context of the epidemic, shoppers cannot feel all the attributes of the product themselves, improving the illustrations will help buyers feel more confident and comfortable when spending money.
3D, VR/AR imaging technologies are useful solutions for businesses. They help customers have multi-dimensional views and flexible experiences only through digital devices. Thereby, also increasing the level of interaction and enhancing the shopping experience. According to Four Source, their customers increased sales by 25% to 30% using 3D renderings of products on their e-commerce storefront.
Some of my standards for product promotional photos are that the product must be sharp at many angles (preferably white background for optimal image), appropriate image size.
Migration to a new shopping cart may give you a more powerful feature to present the items. All you do is considering a reputable cart migration service like Next Cart, add-ons on various e-commerce platforms.
In addition, there are demonstration videos for the product. A lot of consumers want to know how products are made, from what ingredients or their uses… Videos will show this very effectively and help increase trust from buyers.
Video links will help the product appear more easily on search pages if it meets the needs of the buyer.
* Create advanced product filters
Customers don’t have the patience to scroll through product after product on your site. Advanced filters with many detailed attributes are a must-have feature to make the customer’s buying experience more convenient and faster. Especially if you can put the illustration next to the search results, everything will be so much better. These are the marketing teams that give them a competitive edge over their competitors.
Besides, marketers also need to regularly check the results and stability of the filters. One trick many websites are using is to include keywords like special offers or discounts to help increase clicks.
* Offer flexible delivery options
A lot of online customers abandon their shopping cart when the shipping options don’t suit their needs. Users want to pay and quickly receive their ordered products. At the same time, they also want to know if they don’t need to pick up now, what other options they have to save on delivery costs.
At this time, businesses need to have optimal policies on delivery speed but still give priority to the delivery price to customers.
* Automation with Chatbots
Chatbots can be the first point of contact between a business and a customer. Through available scenarios, Chatbots answer queries from customers, making the shopping process much easier without having to wait for the admin to respond.
These friendly little bots help businesses talk to customers like a real person and thereby deliver a personalized experience that significantly impacts purchasing decisions.
Chatbots don’t just represent excellent customer service. It also turns out to be a great salesperson. It is ready to provide customers with information about product types, available/out of stock models, discounts, or offers.
* Reduce cart abandonment with remarketing, and Wishlist
Remarketing and retargeting are almost mandatory components in e-commerce marketing. And believe me, in a pandemic situation like this, their effectiveness can be doubled as consumers spend more time on computers and phones.
You can increase your ability to follow up with customers with a care email system. When someone abandons a shopping cart, you can send an email with content encouraging the customer to complete the transaction.
Along with that, linking to major social networking sites will increase the likelihood of customers reaching your business when they visit and search for similar products on social networks.
With Wishlist, you will have more bases to bring products closer to customers according to their needs. The fact is that customers often add products to the cart but hesitate to decide to buy immediately.
These wish lists are huge data that helps businesses identify the exact needs of their customers. Then, personalized emails are sent to customers with information that stimulates them to complete the order.
A trick you can apply is to send messages and emails to customers with content such as Discounts, vouchers, available quantities, liquidation … creating a sense of urgency, forcing customers to order. right.
* Limit pop-ups and overlapping ads on the site
Have you ever visited a website and were constantly bothered by countless pop-ups, ads, special offers? You will feel very upset right?
Then your customers will think so too.
For this reason, Google is cracking down on websites that display overlapping pop-ups and ads. If these features create a bad user experience, Google will restrict your website from showing up in their search results.
While you’re trying to gather email information to build a customer base and bring them the latest offers, remember: less is better.
2. Social Media
These media will help you reach a larger customer base than traditional online sales websites. If you take advantage of their coverage, your marketing process will go a long way.
Research shows that 52% of new brand discoveries happen on Instagram — showing that it’s a consumer’s first call point before the company’s website! Social media also allows businesses to communicate directly with their customers, and vice versa, helping to build trust, engagement, and ultimately brand loyalty.
* Frequently update trend-catching posts with appealing content and visual
Gone are the days when social media was only for socialization. In the evolving world of digital, it’s a non-negotiable part of any brand’s marketing strategy.
For brands to use social media effectively, innovative companies like Facebook and Instagram are constantly retaining marketers by releasing new features or changing their algorithms.
And this creates trends. We have engaging stickers attached to articles, Gamified content or IGTV on Instagram, Cross-posting from TikTok… These are the things that will immediately grab the attention of users when they use these platforms.
But do not take advantage of this too much and forget about the marketing content that needs to be included in the posts. To impress and leave a deep impression in the minds of customers, the messages and images you put out must be unified, hitting the psychology and interests of customers, but at the same time reflecting the needs of customers. The positive side, advantage, the advantage in your product/service.
* Post optimization
Regarding specific posting guidelines, posts with shorter captions usually perform better. Research shows that the optimal length for a Facebook post is 25 to 55 characters. Of course, this is not 100% accurate, but it is a fact that posts with more than 80 characters will automatically be truncated when displayed on mobile devices, forcing viewers to hit “See more” ” to continue reading. This may cause the post to lose engagement.
Video is the best-performing post type, and video-streaming is the content type that gets the most engagement, while posts with images show better performance than posts with no text.
Businesses also need to be careful when posting links on Facebook. When inserting a link, the system will automatically generate a preview of the link, with the thumbnail image used in the website post. So, to make the caption more beautiful, you can remove that link from the caption and rest assured that the preview will still be there, and completely clickable by users. Doing so will help drive better traffic.
Posts with hashtags narrow the search for customers when there is a need.
* Create supportive communities
Having a certain amount of loyal customers is difficult, connecting these people is even harder. That’s why marketing teams of businesses also need to focus on developing associations and groups of people who share the same buying interests of the brand on social networks. This compensates for meetings or new product promotions that the brand cannot organize.
A community-oriented to the same values will create what psychology calls “psychology of the crowd”. Multi-dimensional comments and articles, dialogue between members of groups will stimulate consumers to spend money to buy products.
You can see the effectiveness of product exchange groups of famous brands such as Adidas or Nike, Puma.
*Boost engagement with giving away, minigames
These are almost indispensable spices for the consumer shopping process that marketers need to pay special attention to.
The minigames asking and answering vouchers or give away events on the occasion of the brand’s birthday, although not new, have never lost their charm. This is a way that brands use to increase social media user engagement and brand awareness. These kinds of impulses are far more effective than the usual infographics that seem boring.
In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, a surprise mini-game that takes place at beautiful hours of any day of the year can also become a boost to help your business score. The excitement entails more waiting and watching on the part of the consumer. And isn’t that the success of the marketing process?
A few standards marketers need to keep in mind for minigames and giveaways: creative scripts, controlling the number of winners but still ensuring a large amount of customer data, short payout time…
3. Leverage the influence of the KOLs that the brand chooses
Key opinion leader or KOL has long become a strategic card of many brands. Their influence on a segment of consumers is undisputed. And if you can build and leverage relationships with these people, your business will have a lot more market share.
* Choose KOL with medium to high engagement in the relevant niche
Depending on the popularity and financial potential that businesses and brands spend on marketing activities, the marketing department can select KOLs with an appropriate level of engagement.
No marketer can guarantee that if you spend $1000 on hiring KOLs, you will get a full $1000 profit. What we need to clarify here is that leveraging the influence of KOLs will bring public attention to the brand.
When a brand evaluates how a KOL impacts its ROI, it’s important to keep in mind that the value of a KOL is measured not only by its reach but also by its ability to engage with shoppers that are potential at all touchpoints on the buying journey.
Thus, sticking with a KOL means that marketers need to have that person’s commitment in a process that stretches from the time the product is introduced to the time it reaches the hands of many users as well as customers. subsequent experiences.
* Take advantage of online broadcasting with KOLs
Live streaming is still present in the market from time to time but has not been the leading trend worldwide until the lockdown. Many Internet users have developed and maintained the habit of watching live.
The upcoming 5G rollout has created more avenues for brands to drive live streams with higher speed and quality. The fashion and event industry is starting to use VR and AR through real-time videos, delivering breathtaking experiences to online viewers.
A good example has emerged in 2020 when many brands and Douyin collaborated with Luo Yonghao, the founder of Chinese smartphones branded Smartisan with 7.8 million followers on Douyin, to sell a wide range of products on this platform.
As a result, he earned more than 110 million RMB within 3 hours of broadcasting online. The potential of online sales is not only from realistically presenting the product but also from the direct interaction between fans and KOLs through the internet.
* Build Brand Story with KOL marketing
KOL marketing is one of the best ways to enhance your brand value. The contemporary generation has a new perception of the brand’s purpose for purchasing decisions. 75% of Gen Z admit that they always monitor whether brand actions are in sync with their commitments.
To get more conversions from these cautious consumers, partnering with similarly-valued KOLs is a visionary tactic. Don’t aim for a one-time campaign, but build a lasting relationship with the right KOL.
For example, an environmentally conscious brand might invite a vegan KOL to collaborate for many years in the hope that they care about the same issues, share a common development, and demonstrate a connection between the brand and the environment. and KOLs. This is a compelling and well-timed brand story.
* Authenticity of KOL is a key issue in marketing
Is the bigger the better? For KOL marketing, we believe this is not always the case. The content becomes increasingly commercialized and sometimes loses its originality. Meanwhile, netizens get smarter as they do a lot of research on KOLs and shuffle between profiles to find the most authentic and depend on his/her opinion. They refuse to let promotional content motivate them.
Therefore, instead of putting all your eggs in the basket of famous KOLs, you should mine small (micro KOLs) or even very small (nano-KOLs) who usually understand their followers and often have a significant impact in their small communities.
Data shows that 77% of these “real-life” people create original content daily and are much more active than high-level KOLs. Their easy-going personality also makes them create more authentic interactions on social media platforms. Working with genuine KOLs implies the authenticity of your brand, thus making KOL marketing effective.
A few highlights about the position of the e-commerce market and effective marketing strategies that I have received from businesses and brands with high coverage during the Covid-19 pandemic. signs of cooling down.
More than anyone else, it is you, the marketing team, who best understand the brand and the product that we make. Keeping the core values of the product and ensuring it is in harmony with the current situation is the way to effective e-commerce marketing during Covid-19.