The COVID-19 lockdown forced most digital marketers and businesses alike to reconsider their entire sales strategies overnight. Fundamental consumer behaviours changed, and ‘top-up missions’ became the norm. From toilet rolls to pasta and toothpaste, many formerly affordable goods turned into luxury items, and so, UK shoppers turned to online shopping for groceries, clothing & household essentials. In April, 30% of all UK shopping was done online (BBC). So, how did this affect marketing strategies and are there any learnings we can take forward as we face a second wave of infections?
1. Automation & PPC Bidding Strategies
Google Trends reported a staggering 1,566% increase in searches for ‘loungewear’ from March to April this year. Retailers jumped on this trend and all of a sudden, we saw the search results pages overflowing with PPC ads and Smart Shopping campaigns for loungewear sets, shorts and tops.
Scenarios like this one highlight how important it is to integrate automation tactics into your PPC bidding strategy. PPC ad automation allows you to adjust your bidding strategy according to different campaign goals such as;
Site visits, Impressions, Target CPA, Target return on ad spend (ROAS), Conversions and conversion values.
2. Featured Snipped Optimisation for SEO
Spending an unprecedented amount of time at home and watching the lockdown unfold resulted in many UK consumers undertaking ‘how to’ searches. From searches like ‘how to make mcdonald’s chicken nuggets’ to ‘how to donate’ and ‘pub quiz’ questions, Google’s ‘special boxes’ aka featured snippet search results became far more crucial and competitive to appear in than ever before.
The main objective for businesses is for their content to rank in two places on the search results pages. When this occurs, users are much more likely to click through via one of the results with traffic potentially increasing by as much as 31% (Ahrefs).
3. Optimising your E-Commerce store
With consumer trends pointing towards ever-increasing demand for goods and services available online, retailers are having to up their game to stack up against the competition. Most have reviewed their store presence in the wake of the pandemic. This is where Google’s Grow My Store tool can come in handy. Simply enter your URL and the tool will run a quick and action-focused analysis on your online store. It’s free and straightforward to follow, so definitely worth using.
4. UX for Ecommerce Apps
Many people associate apps with retail, but with COVID-19’s lockdown forcing temporary bank branches and ATM closures, a 72% rise in the use of FinTech apps was reported earlier this year. Apps won’t leave our side (or phones) anytime soon, so it’s never been more important for any business with an app to consider UX & CRO strategies as part of their app development. This goes in hand with offering an app experience and not a diluted web experience applied to mobile – no matter what sector you’re in.
5. Instagram Shops
Who hasn’t found themselves scrolling through their Instagram feed in search for inspiration, especially with local lockdowns and limited travel. Thanks to Instagram Shops your customers don’t even need to leave the app to make a purchase. As of May 2020, this new feature allows users to visit a business’ Instagram shop from their profile, feed or Stories and then enables them to browse and purchase products – all in the app. We think this feature is an absolute diamond for any retailer’s social media strategy.