Chris Lockwood
April 26, 2020

Adapting to Market Shifts: Advice from our Client Strategy Director

Seismic market shifts have occurred over the last few weeks and consumer behaviour has changed rapidly. Chris Lockwood is Alpha Digital’s Client Strategy Director, and he has been helping our clients to navigate the rapidly evolving landscape. He’s been at the forefront of helping our clients understand how consumer behaviour is changing, the impact of media consumption, and what this means for their strategy.

We’re sharing some of his learnings and insights so that you can keep your digital marketing strategy informed and adaptable.

What are the 3 most interesting changes you have seen in online consumer behaviour last week?

1. Panic Buying Declined

“Panic buying” has subsided across our client base and our market intelligence tools also indicate a reduction in activity across industries that were booming 2-3 weeks ago. Activity is still high for Grocery websites, however, there has been a reduction in traffic and conversion rates have declined as customers start to consume their surplus.

Data sourced from SimilarWeb

2. Shoppers Develop Omni-Channel Habits

Retailers who had a large store footprint are seeing some huge increases in online traffic and revenue. While we are not seeing increased online activity compensate for lost offline revenue, the unprecedented shift indicates that in-store shoppers are developing omnichannel habits. 

This shift is also reflected in the home and garden category as customers dive into improving their home spaces. I am extremely curious to see how this will impact Bricks and Mortar stores in the future, will businesses require as many physical locations or will they shift more focus to their online store?

Data sourced from SimilarWeb

3. People are Shopping at New Times

Before the outbreak of Coronavirus, Sunday nights and Mondays were typically the two largest days for online shopping. However, with more and more people at home, and less routine in place consumer patterns have shifted and we are seeing spikes at times where traditionally we would see low activity. 

The most obvious being the Easter weekend. Traditionally, this would be a slow trading period with Easter Monday and the following Tuesday being the big trading days, this year it was the complete opposite.

What is the best resource you are currently using to keep up with market changes?

There are so many great resources out there and I am not relying on one source for all information updates. Internally, we are collating all information that is coming directly from all our suppliers and customers to keep up to date with trends. 

Keeping up to date with government announcements has been a key factor in how we are maintaining our client’s success. These announcements, especially during the early part of this outbreak had a huge impact on client performance, and it was essential to pivot our strategies quickly to accommodate. 

I have also signed up for a lot of EDMs across a lot of different sources and have received some great information from some of our suppliers such as Similar Web, Facebook, and Sprout Social. I highly recommend signing up to as many information-based EDMs as possible to keep up to date.

Can you share some of the most successful offline to online adaptations you have seen from brands so far?

1. Petbarn has launched same-day metro delivery

Petbarn has partnered with Uber to deliver this great initiative. This has created a revenue stream for one of the most impacted industries in the country where nearly all the employees are self-employed. This also gives their brand a fantastic edge, not only do they have 60-minute click and collect, they can now also deliver the same day to those who may be highly at risk and could need urgent supplies for their pet. 

Image from @petbarn

2. Club Vino in the UK Launched Virtual Wine Tasting Events

Wine tasting events are an extremely popular activity, however with the strict social distancing rules they are no longer an option. Club Vino transformed their offering so customers can order home tasting packs from the website.

This includes a themed case of bottles, printable tasting notes with food pairing suggestions. A video link also guides customers through the wines and explains the story behind the bottle, recreating the in person event experience.

3. Agnes Restaurant Became a Bakery

This one is close to home as it is next door to our office. Although it is not quite an offline to online shift, it is a great example of creativity in the face of adversity. Agnes was touted as the most exciting restaurant opening of 2020 in Brisbane. The restaurant has been built, but now can’t take visitors.

However, they got creative and repurposed their woodfire ovens so they could open as a pop-up bakery, deli and wine shop. This ensures their survival and makes sure all their hard work doesn’t go to waste. I for one am even more excited for their grand opening after restrictions are lifted.

4. Where should digital marketers prioritise their efforts over the coming weeks? 

This will completely depend on your business, its performance, and requirements. For the many, this is a fantastic opportunity to work on the business and tackle the tasks that were outstanding. It’s time to ensure that all your basics are as good as they can be. Look at what you can do on your site to put you in the best position for the flip side. 

Content, meta titles and descriptions are all great ways to help improve your SEO rankings and improve your site’s visibility. Also look to work on your communication strategy, whether this is planning your social strategy and story or working on your email marketing and automation, this will all help boost leads and sales in the future.

On the other hand, if you are a company that is doing well, don’t limit your media spend unless you have a good reason to. This is a fantastic time to build your reactive fitness and capture new customers.

5. What is one insight or piece of advice you want all businesses and brands to know?

Things will and are improving. Keep monitoring government announcements closely as these are affecting consumer behaviour. The most successful businesses we have seen over the last few weeks are ones who have not made snap, panic-driven decisions. They are the ones who have pivoted, and reduced costs while maintaining a solid presence. Now that online shopping has strengthened, they are in great places to succeed and ramp back up again. 

If this is not the position you are in, look at what you can do internally and build your digital fitness. The current climate will change and when it does you want to be in the best position possible to move forward.

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