The year 2020 has been a year of lessons, in every shape and form imaginable. There are plenty of lessons each of us has mastered individually, but the lessons we can address here are those that have hit our industry as a whole.
The pandemic has caused a massive shift in the way we shop and the way we consume online content. It has probably doubled the time we spend on our phones. What does this mean for the modern digital consumer, and what can we do to improve their digital experiences?
Let’s find out!
A New Reality
The way we think about shopping has undergone a massive evolution. For starters, there’s the panic buying of essential (and less essential) items. There’s the question of the safety of online shopping and an increased number of home deliveries. And then there are the delays caused by this increase in online purchases.
However, as social distancing measures remain in effect and in-person shopping continues to decline, brands have had to adapt.
Most have adapted by upping their digital marketing game. Now, there are more players on the field competing for the same slice of audience, balanced out with the added time consumers spend online. As a result, one of the main issues rising to the forefront of post-2020 digital marketing is customer safety.
Acknowledge Their Concerns
Of course, the main goal of every brand, and subsequently every digital marketing campaign, will be to get someone to spend money on something. But digital marketers need to acknowledge the shift we are living with and will likely continue to live with for a long time.
First of all, you need to address the covid-related safety issue. Explain in great detail what you are doing to comply with measures and ensure your deliveries are perfectly safe.
This can mean you snap images of your warehouses where your employees are wearing masks at all times while handling their items. Or you can do Instagram Stories from the office with social distancing in place and everyone wearing masks too.
Other departments, such as customer service, need to be on top of the potential questions as well, and contactless delivery should also become a part of the brand’s new routine.
Stop Being So Pushy
Another truth we need to accept is that the spending power and disposable incomes of a lot of your customers have likely diminished. If you keep pushing them to make a purchase, you will either lose a subscriber and customer or make them feel bad for spending money on something they could have gone without.
By showing understanding for the change in circumstances for your customers, you will demonstrate that you care for them and their safety and wellbeing, and not just their money.
Offer discounts or free shipping to your most loyal customers. Provide extended payment options with Klarna or a similar app. Share valuable information on staying safe physically, but also on ways to protect mental health.
This is your time to provide a bit of entertainment, useful content related to your products or services, and expect to capitalize on your efforts at a later date than you usually expect to.
Protect Your Data (and Theirs)
The mere fact that the number of online purchases has increased is a clear signal to those with insidious purposes to up their game and try to get their hands on a customer’s personal and financial information.
This naturally means you need to up your protection, too. Reevaluate how you store customer data and what you can do to protect it even further. Talk to your server provider and your SEO expert (if you are not one yourself), and throw as much added protection at your website as you can.
Also, make sure your working-from-home employees’ computers have the required protection. That’s especially if they are handling customer service tickets or communicating with shoppers in any way. Most of us tend to have laxer security on our personal accounts, and now is the best time to upgrade.
Add New Payment Methods
The more secure and safe payment methods you can offer, the more likely a customer is to make a purchase. Not everyone wants to leave their credit card information with you, and many would likely prefer to use PayPal or Stripe to pay.
You can also consider accepting payments in Bitcoin, depending on your target audience and how likely this option would appeal to them.
Also make sure you clearly advertise these payment methods on product pages at the very least. When a shopper gets to checkout only to realize their preferred payment method is not being offered, they are not very likely to come back.
Be Clear About Your Processes and Customer Rights
Even though plenty of checks and balances have already been in place prior to the new digital reality, now is a great time to make sure you are complying with all the requirements regarding customer privacy and their rights.
Understand everything there is to know about the cookies you use, the way you store customer data, and how you can delete this data or anonymize it when a customer requires you to do so. Understand what kind of data you are allowed to collect and how you can use it to better your offers and marketing campaigns.
Customer safety is no longer just about digital data security. It’s also about real-life physical safety, as well as the protection of our precious collective mental health.
As a digital marketer, your job should shift towards accommodating the newly arisen circumstances your target audience is faced with, and not just pushing your own agenda further with zero regard for the shift in needs, desires, and interests the global market has undergone.
Sarah Kaminski is a freelance writer and social media marketer. She works with a number of small businesses to build their brands through more engaging marketing and content.