The Covid-19 pandemic has changed everything, from the way people seek information, communicate, and even purchase. These changes mean that brands have to rethink how they market to customers and find new ways to build loyalty.
In tandem, the way people work in companies has radically altered. The days of 9 to 5 in the office are gone, to be replaced by remote and hybrid working. This drastic change has forced companies to reassess how teams can communicate and work together to drive business success.
So, how have brands been learning to cope with Covid-19 and what impact does it have on the digital marketing activities of today and tomorrow? Our findings reveal 6 significant developments that companies need to consider as they strive to thrive in a post-pandemic world.
1. Ecommerce is crucial to brand success
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, global retail e-commerce sales rose to nearly $4.28 trillion with nearly $432 billion of that being generated in the United States. Between 2019 and 2021 (the peak of Covid-enforced lockdowns), retail platforms - according to Statista - reported a surge of 22 billion visits in June up from 16 billion visits just five months earlier, in January.
The Future of Marketing After Covid-19
In the UK, Charged Retail reported that online sales broke records by reaching £10 billion in July 2021 as 40% of people chose to shop from home rather than visit a physical store despite the end of lockdown. In Q2 2021, Shopify revealed it reached its first $1 billion in a quarter on record with its Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV), up 57% year-on-year.
And, Shopify isn’t the only company to benefit. GlobalData research revealed that 90% of the top ten ecommerce sites such as Amazon and Alibaba saw double-digit revenue growth. This was due to an increase in the number of people visiting online retail platforms as a result of Covid.
The Future of Marketing After Covid-19
And this trend in online retail shopping is continuing, even after the introduction of mass vaccinations, and a shift to more normal life. Many countries are still experiencing huge spikes with Deloitte predicting that U.S holiday retail sales in late 2021 will increase by 7 to 9% while in South-East Asia, ecommerce penetration will grow by 85%, outpacing India (+10%) and China (+5%) and digital consumer spend in this region will increase by 60% by the end of 2021.
Whether it’s directly on your brand’s website, through social media or a third-party site such as Amazon or Shopify, optimizing your brand’s ecommerce offering will lead to more leads and sales in this new digital world.
2. Sectors need to pivot and reinvent
Due to the nature of their businesses, certain sectors benefited more than others during lockdowns: for example, hospitality and tourism unsurprisingly saw their profits plummet.
What became apparent was the importance of being able to think outside the box when external factors come into play. Customers with no option to buy what they needed online just went to another site or brand.
An example of this was retail chain Primark, who lost $1 billion during the pandemic by not adopting an ecommerce model. While customers said they would welcome an online shop, Primark stated that the cost of setting up an online function would affect the prices they could offer customers. The bottom line? Primark was not prepared logistically for such an undertaking and starting an ecommerce site would have cost time and money.
Other retailers also suffered, changing the landscape of the high street forever. As a result of store closures, the Arcadia Group became Photo Editing Services insolvent and was bought by online retailer Asos for £65 million for its stock and brands, not for its physical stores, which included the UK high street icons, Topshop, Topman, and Miss Selfridge.
On the flip side of the fashion coin, resale platforms for secondhand clothing like Depop have flourished as people look to sell unworn or unwanted clothes. As buyers become more aware of the lifespan and journey of what they purchase, customers that value sustainability are preferring to buy clothing differently.
Another outcome of the pandemic has been one inspired use of TikTok and its direct effect on the publishing industry. Thanks to the organic success of the #BookTok concept, newer (and younger) audiences are being introduced to the joys of reading paper books and bricks-and-mortar bookshops have been responding by laying out displays based on what’s popular in the online platform.
The car industry also took a significant hit during the pandemic as it is traditionally low tech and has been slow to digitally transform. With no foot traffic into showrooms, the industry has had to find other ways to sell cars as people were forced to stay at home. To draw customers in, many installed new software, offered virtual test drives, and touchless pickup and delivery. Many also leveraged digital strategies to engage with new and existing customers online.
Big brands are taking that even further with Nissan launching its online experience Nissan@Home to buy a car from test drive to contracts signing all from home. While one of the largest automotive dealers in the U.S, Sonic Automotive has hired its first CDO and VP of Ecommerce to double annual revenue by 2025.