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A successful retail rebound is in the hands of advertising

Taranjeet Singh, Managing Director for Southeast Asia and India, Criteo, says advertising is essential in rebuilding consumer trust and generating in-store traffic for a successful rebound for retail

Taranjeet Singh

When the Covid-19 pandemic effectively shut down the world's economy, retailers across the country closed their doors out of fear of the virus spreading further. The Indian retail sector comprising around seven crore traders has witnessed a loss of 5.50 lakh rupees. This freeze on retail and the overall in-store experience has had a ripple effect across the greater retail ecosystem. However, the retailers followed the trend of contactless shopping and harped upon the online brand wagon where they started selling products to their customers. Despite these measures, advertising becomes essential in rebuilding consumer trust and generating in-store traffic for a successful retail rebound.   

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For effectively executed retail rebound, the marketers need to tailor their ad campaigns following new ways to engage customers as well as evolve the whole climate of the retail ecosystem. These include building online relationships, adjusting messaging to reflect the state of the economy, and over-communicating re-opening updates.

Other than these methods, some long-time driven approaches come in handy for the retailers to keep their customers loyal.

Building trust

Retailers are trying to be as efficient as possible by focusing on marketing strategies, leading to higher sales but are forgetting that there is less demand for products and services due to the pandemic. They should rather focus on the lower-funnel activity that will result in a long-term relationship with customers once the economy goes back to normal.


Personalisation of messaging will take brands and retailers a long way as it would create a connection with the customers. Each customer would have experienced a crisis in many different ways, and the messaging needs to be reflective of the products they need at that moment based on the different experiences. Even when the economy starts to turn around, retailers will need to be mindful that consumers will have much less buying power following lay-offs and furloughs and need to ensure that they are remaining relevant to the current situation of their consumer.

For example, consumers who were hit the hardest financially might be living a more restricted lifestyle and only buying the absolute essentials such as food and grocery products, whereas other consumers whose income remained unchanged throughout the crisis might treat themselves to luxury items as they transition back into social mode.

Regular updates

Make sure you’re keeping consumers updated with store re-opening updates through awareness campaigns that reflect the current status of your store and what consumers can expect as the “new normal” in-store experience. Many consumers will debate whether to continue shopping online instead of going in-store, and what you communicate in these campaigns, particularly the exchange of value, will help inform that decision.

For those who do go in-store, at what rate will that be and how will the in-store experience be affected? Physical stores need to use messaging to tell consumers how they’ve changed their operations as a result of the outbreak, including updated hygiene and safety processes, new options for payment such as paperless pay, and offering convenient curbside pick-up options or click-and-collect.

The rebound will likely be uneven so retailers should be looking at insights to predict when things start going back to normal in certain regions and adjust their advertising strategy based on the progress of rebound in your location.

We don’t know what the next phase in the coronavirus crisis will be, but we do know that consumers around the world are getting comfortable with shopping, dining, and traveling again. Consumers feel different based on their experience during the outbreak and where they live, and you want your ads to speak to their individual preferences.

Here are a few ways you can make sure your advertising is relevant to every consumer:

  1. Use branding creative to put product recommendations and offers in the right context. Use images and messaging to show the value of your products while consumers practice social distancing. For example, don’t show people at a crowded music festival wearing your summer apparel. Show a few friends outdoors in face masks instead.
  2. Promote your store re-openings in your ads. We know that over half of consumers are ready to return to shopping malls. In markets where your stores are open again, let your in-store shoppers know by targeting audiences built from your offline transaction data.
  3. Don’t push sales before a consumer shows a strong interest. Travel brands, for example, have to be cautious about promoting hotel reservations and plane tickets before a consumer is ready. Use a full-funnel advertising strategy to reach consumers who are likely to be interested in your brand with one message, and another campaign to reach the consumers that are actively browsing travel options and are ready to buy.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of BestMediaInfo.com and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)


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