As consumers go into lockdowns, following the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, millions are forced to work from home and digital connectivity takes even more of a hold on everyday habits. As a result, these changes in routine are likely to accelerate the use of existing and new technologies and tools.
A Nielsen survey predicted that consumers may have greater motivations and fewer perceived barriers to more actively seek technology-enabled solutions to assist in everyday tasks like shopping. For some consumers this may be totally new behavior (such as shopping for groceries online for the first time), while for others this may mean increased online usage or the addition of new technology, tools and software.
“There is little doubt that consumers’ uptake of technologies to stay informed and safeguard their health can instill confidence in a stressful period, and this may be the unforeseen catalyst to assert broader, longer term adoption of technology platforms and solutions,” said Nicole Corbett, Nielsen Director of Intelligence.
Nielsen has examined recent data sets collected from consumers around the world who provided insights on their intentions as it relates to technology and reviewed it alongside developments in recent weeks tied to the COVID-19 outbreak. Through this research, Nielsen has identified three ‘catalyst moments’ that may change technology adoption horizons and drive changes in shopping habits.
Lockdown/limited store access propels online shopping
Globally, online shopping adoption has gained traction thanks to improvements in infrastructure (speed and cost), participation, transparency and trust. The pathway for adoption is a familiar story around the world.
“In many markets, the fashion, travel and entertainment categories have been the frontrunners for consumers to enter the online retail sphere, followed by the beauty and personal care categories as consumers became more comfortable and confident shopping online. But other grocery categories, particularly packaged and fresh goods, have been slower to gain traction in some markets. Today, however, COVID-19 may be a part of driving faster change.
A Nielsen investigation uncovered six key consumer thresholds that tie directly to concerns around the COVID-19 outbreak. The thresholds offer early signals of spending patterns, particularly for emergency pantry items and health supplies.
As many consumers around the world reach the third threshold, “pantry preparation,” they are increasingly opting for safer, non-physical stores. In examining a number of European markets that have been relatively slower to embrace online FMCG shopping before the pandemic, there are now notable spikes in e-commerce sales in recent weeks.
Interrupted supply chain directs consumers to manufacturers
With retail supply chains progressively challenged due to COVID-19 precautions, many consumers may have initially been faced with empty shelves when searching for high demand products both in-store and online. And this could compel some consumers to look for alternative online sources to find the products they need.
Direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses have evolved at a rapid pace in the last few years, predominantly driven by smaller, often local players, who have identified niche segments or consumer needs, and recognize the advantages of direct consumer reach, powered by technology.
In addition to the benefits of distinctive engagement opportunities, a significant feature of the DTC model is using online shopping subscriptions to entrench brand loyalty. Automated subscription services provide ease, convenience, customized rewards, preferential pricing and remove the hassle of remembering to top up. In times of unease, consumers may be clamoring for certainty and guaranteed supply, directly from the makers of their preferred brands. Many DTC manufacturers are also mastering their service via quick personalized responses to questions and providing empathy for consumers’ needs and concerns.
In a recent Nielsen survey on tech-transformed consumption, four in 10 global online consumers said they were already using online shopping subscriptions, and a further 36% said they were willing to do so in the next two years—an indicator that changes to existing consumer shopping habits are emerging.
Corbett points out, “As shopping behaviour stabilizes post COVID-19, many consumers are likely to continue to embrace manufacturer-direct technology solutions. This represents an ongoing opportunity for big and small manufacturers to assess not only their engagement platforms, but also their sales channels.”
So why does this matter? Nielsen data shows that more than half (51%) of global consumers are willing to try A/VR to assess products and services. With consumers not able to physically visit stores, they will be looking for alternative entertainment and shopping experiences. Companies that can leverage A/VR may hold the answer to immersive augmented reality experiences that will transform engagement and shopping.
Preparing for a tech-enabled future
As the implications for consumers multiply, new learnings for retailers and manufacturers become evident. China has showcased how companies that harness powerful technology to enable consumers during adversity can become integrated into all aspects of peoples’ lives:
● QR codes from We Chat and Alipay, leveraging location data from the telecommunications industry, are highlighting where individuals have travelled and provide real-time exposure to health risks.
● Wiebo is keeping consumers continuously updated and informed of events.
● E-commerce options are promoting a growing reliance on their services among existing online shoppers and those that were previously hesitant.
● Tech health screening for food delivery drivers is providing vital consumer reassurances.
Previously perceived technology obstacles and barriers to adoption may no longer be as indicative or insurmountable, as technology becomes some of the only accessible or viable alternatives to consumers. While not all markets may be as technologically advanced in the retailing areas as China and South Korea, many retail and manufacturing businesses around the world can benefit from a more proactive e-commerce strategy, as technology enabled solutions become even more sought after and preferred.
Progression in technology usage may start with the basic functionality offered by smartphones such as product discovery and mobile payments. As consumers become more comfortable with these tools, further advancements like auto-subscriptions and personalized location alerts will change the way consumers buy and speed up the adoption trajectory of more sophisticated tools like A/VR. And these will start to become more widespread as consumers recognize the advantages they can bring both in convenience and experience. Technology will be one of the most significant game changers for FMCG retailers and manufacturers in the immediate and longer term.
Local products and brands have been gaining popularity across the globe over the past couple of years. This popularity has also grown in line with the awareness of minimizing one’s carbon footprint. Consumers have typically closely associated products of local origin with supporting local business, aligning with home-grown heritage, or seeking fresh foods grown close to home that meet local palate preferences. But as fears about COVID-19 spread consumer thoughts and actions are changing around the globe—and this represents an opportunity for retailers and manufacturers that can leverage local’s appeal to mitigate consumer concerns.
Lockdown gives opportunity to local businesses
Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, some markets have taken extreme measures to protect their populations by issuing widespread quarantines, halting manufacturing and disrupting supply chains. And even in some markets that haven’t taken such severe measures, demand has been disrupted due to consumer precautions. Globally, there is likely to be an impact on product and brand choices being made at the checkout due to these changes. And this impact may break longtime purchase habits irreversibly.
In recent years, consumers have generally displayed strong preferences for local dairy and fresh produce brands and products versus those coming from further afield. Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, anxieties around origins of products and ingredients are likely to fuel increased demand for even more local sourcing.
So what are consumers looking for? Firstly, they need to be reassured. More than ever, shoppers want to understand the supply chain, with complete transparency from farm to factory to distribution, and they want details of the measures being taken to assure their safety.
In some countries, expanded transparency is already becoming the norm. In China, where populations are emerging from mass quarantines and widespread concerns prevail, scooter-riding couriers from online food retailers Meituan and Eleme present customers with a reassurance guarantee slip that includes details of the body temperature of the cooks, food packagers and couriers for every order, as well as their daily disinfecting routines. In other words, consumers are becoming used to this high level of transparency. They are likely to expect it in everything they buy, but especially when it comes to food products.
Promoting a product’s local origins could help manufacturers and retailers assuage some consumer concerns. A Nielsen survey on disloyalty last year found that global consumers report being heavily swayed by origin: 11% of global consumers said they only bought products manufactured in their country while an additional 54% “mostly” bought local products. A further 19% of global consumers said they were always influenced to try or switch brands based on local attributes, with 34% more saying they were often influenced. Yet these numbers vary across local markets, and marketers need to be aware of their country’s level of interest in local brands.
Consumers surveyed in Italy, India, Thailand, Philippines, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and the U.S. all displayed a stronger preference for local products and are likely to further increase their consumption of these products. Meanwhile, consumers in countries that did not have a strong preference either way could well now tip the demand scales in favour of local products. These include Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, New Zealand, Belgium, Germany, United Kingdom, Ireland, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Mexico and Costa Rica.
But marketers will need to understand the nuances of local concerns. And in this way, smaller local manufacturers may have another advantage as consumer concerns grow. With smaller operations, they may be able to respond faster and in more targeted ways than their bigger counterparts—and by doing so could win with local consumers in an appropriate and timely way.
The growth of smaller players in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry across the U.S., Italy, Portugal, Spain, Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana has outpaced that of the bigger manufacturers in the past year. With varying levels of concern, response and impact by market, local producers and retailers have the added edge of focusing on an individual market. They are able to take swift, focused and singular actions that are relevant to a specific marketplace.
Furthermore, big, global and known brands are holding less sway with consumers these days—less than a third (28%) of global consumers say they are influenced to try or switch brands based on these halos alone. And this could further set the stage for local brands to rise and grow, cementing future loyalty through their actions of today.
A newfound opportunity
It is easy to assume that multinational companies face the biggest challenges as they come up against small, agile national brands, market supply constraints and local consumer perceptions. However, many global organizations have invested in-market with vigorous local sourcing criteria and manufacturing operations, often unbeknown to consumers, and they may be able to turn that to their advantage.
The opportunity for these brands will lie in fortifying their positioning by providing visibility into their on-the-ground operations, supported by distinct communication around their ‘equally local’ supply status. Global quality assurances, large scale production to meet stock-up demand, verified health claims, industry body certification and track records of satisfying consumer needs could all help multinationals emphasize their origin benefits.
Depending on the duration and impact of COVID-19, there are other important implications to consider:
● Retailers may be forced to increasingly depend on local products as supply from beyond country borders is suspended and longer-term quarantines implemented.
● Retailers and manufacturers may want to consider additional protective packaging for global and local products, but will need to balance this against rising consumer concerns about environmental impact.
● Consumers may deepen their trust for locally sourced/produced products in all markets—affected and unaffected: if they can see it and identify it, they can trust it.
● Local credentials will be steadily sought out and possibly over-appreciated.
● Global companies will need to spotlight their global advantages together with their local elements amidst the heightened skepticism towards distance prone supply chains.
Driven by necessity or the need for greater transparency, local brands and retailers are optimally placed to alleviate and deliver against consumers’ product sourcing concerns. Local business will benefit from sharper messaging reinforcing supply chain visibility and focused distribution to reach consumers.
If you are a local brand, now is the time to come up with a more aggressive digital marketing strategy. Here at Weave Asia, we can help you do that and more.
Managing your own retargeting ads without a third-party app is available to any business through Facebook Ads Manager. By creating a Business Manager page and installing the Facebook pixel, you can set up, launch, and scale your own retargeting ads.
Ads Manager gives you access to every retargeting tool available to you on Facebook. This allows you to test as many different audiences and ad creative types as you want and analyze the full results of all your campaigns.
When advertising directly through Facebook there is also no additional fee outside of what you pay for your ads. On Facebook, you are only charged based on ad impressions, whereas apps or agencies include additional fees.
However, many small business owners starting out with auto-pilot apps may feel nervous about switching over to managing their own retargeting campaigns. A lot of this fear comes from intimidation of Ads Manager.
Ads Manager is a more complicated tool than an app, but with the many guides and free courses available to entrepreneurs looking to learn, it has become easier for beginners to manage and scale their own campaigns.
Building a retargeting strategy that scales
The goal of creating a retargeting strategy is to set up your campaigns in a way that allows you to scale your positive returns and convert more prospects into customers
The best retargeting strategy requires focusing equal parts on targeting the right audiences and using the right creative. Once you have both elements working in tandem you can be assured that every potential customer is being served the right advertisement at the right moment.
1. Creating retargeting audiences
After adding your Facebook pixel to your Shopify store, you will be able to create “custom audiences” in the Audience section of the Facebook Ads Manager, which are made up of people who have engaged with you on social media or taken certain actions on your website.
Here you can create audiences based on the following credentials:
● People who engaged with your brand on Facebook and/or Instagram
● People who visited your website
● People who spent a certain amount of time on your website
● People who visited specific pages of your website
● People who viewed a product (called “viewed content”)
● People who added a product to their cart
● People who initiated checkout
All of these audiences can also be defined by time frame, which allows you to create tighter audiences of more recent prospects and larger segments of those who visited your website as far back as 180 days ago
2. Segmenting your Facebook audience
With all of the custom audiences available to you through the Ads Manager, choosing which segments to target has a lot to do with the type of product you sell and your customers’ typical buying behavior
For businesses that sell impulse-purchase products that are lower cost, you may not need to retarget people further back than 30 days.
For higher-end brands or those selling big-ticket items, like mattresses or engagement rings, retargeting might take place over a 180- or even a 365-day window.
If you’re not sure exactly how long you need to retarget people, these are some of the most commonly used audience segments for retargeting:
● Social (Instagram and Facebook) engagers: Past 90 days
● Website visitors: Past 30 days
● Viewed content: Past 14 days
● Added to cart: Past 7 days
● Initiate checkout: Past 7 days
3. Building your funnel
Once you have your audience segments created, it is time to structure them into a funnel so you can monitor and optimize how each audience performs separately.
This can be done at the Ad Set level when you’re building your retargeting campaign. If you want to only target your social media engagers, for example, you will need to exclude those who have made it past that point and visited your website.
By taking this strategy and building out a full retargeting funnel that separates upper funnel (aware of your brand) and lower funnel (closer to purchase) audiences, you can successfully target all of these segments of customers at different stages of the purchasing journey.
You can see how each action implies the stage of the funnel that the audience is currently at:
● Social media engagers (upper funnel)
● Website visitors (upper funnel)
● Viewed content, which means viewed product page on Shopify (middle funnel)
● Added to cart (lower funnel)
● Initiated checkout (lower funnel)
A good retargeting funnel should exclude lower-funnel objectives (purchase) from higher-funnel audiences (social media engagers).
By properly applying exclusions to each audience in the Ad Set section of your campaigns on Facebook, you will successfully segment your customers out and avoid audience overlap.
Audience overlap happens when you are targeting the same segment of customers in two places, which creates unclear results as to which segment is driving purchases.
4. Setting budgets
Once you have set up your retargeting campaign, complete with multiple audiences for each segment of your funnel, it is time to start monitoring them and optimizing your spend.
Knowing how much to spend each day on each segment of the funnel requires some testing. Begin with setting low or moderate daily budgets for each audience (e.g. around $20 to $60).
You can decide how much to initially allocate to each segment of your funnel based on the estimated audience size given in Facebook Ads Manager:
● For smaller audiences, like those who abandoned checkout in the last seven days, you will likely only need a small budget to reach everyone in this segment.
● For larger audiences, like website visitors within the last 180 days, you might want to allocate a slightly larger budget in order to give your campaign the opportunity to reach enough people to drive conversions.
5. Optimizing your Facebook retargeting campaigns
Once your retargeting campaigns are up and running, you will want to check in on them each day to monitor results and make optimizations to improve their performance.
Optimizations are usually done by decreasing or increasing budgets based on how many purchases you are getting and, when it comes to retargeting, the frequency of your reach.
Frequency refers to the average number of times a person within one of your retargeting audiences is seeing an ad for you over a given period of time. Checking on your daily or weekly frequency for each audience will ensure you aren’t over- or under-serving your campaigns to the same people.
As you adjust your budget, you will notice your frequency changes. Once you’ve tested out different budgets to find which delivers the best results, you should also know what frequency is ideal for each segment of your funnel. This will allow you to monitor frequency and make sure it stays at an ideal level, regardless of the size of your audience.
Source: Shopify Blog
Retargeting is simply described as the process of advertising to people who have already visited your website and who are already familiar with your product(s). By using social media, the integration between Facebook’s pixel and a company’s website allows businesses to retarget prospective customers from their very first interaction with a brand, all the way to website checkout.
Your website visitors can be segmented by pages they’ve visited, time spent on a specific page, and almost any other behavior or action taken on their path to purchase. With the ability to track user behavior at such a detailed level, retargeting strategies have evolved to become more sophisticated, making them even bigger revenue drivers for businesses.
What is Facebook retargeting and why does it work?
Facebook retargeting allows you to reach prospective customers who have shown an interest in your business or product, based on their online activity. This can range from something as passive as a like on Facebook to actions with a high purchase intent like clicking ‘Add to Cart’ on your website.
If you have website traffic and are not running retargeting ads of any kind, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on potential sales. Whether you want to warm up your latest followers or remind past website browsers about the products they were interested in, retargeting can play a pivotal role in most marketing strategies.
Making the most of your creative for retargeting
One of the best ways to continue optimizing your campaigns for better results is to experiment with creative formats, like videos, photos, and ad copy.
While segmenting your audience properly will set your retargeting campaigns up for success, itis equally important to make sure that the actual ads your potential customers see are converting.
Dynamic product ads
If you’ve seen a retargeting ad while on social media or while browsing the internet lately, it likely took the form of a dynamic product ad. A dynamic product ad (DPA) pulls website images, titles, prices, and descriptions directly from websites you’ve visited to create a carousel of products you might be interested in.
These types of retargeting ads are very effective at bringing website browsers back to their cart or checkout to complete their purchase. The Facebook algorithm personalizes which products are shown to only include ones the person has viewed or is likely to purchase based on their past behavior.
In order to create dynamic product ads, you will need to upload your product catalogue toFacebook. Once this is done, you can create a campaign with the Catalogue Sales objective and start targeting your audiences with DPAs.
Using photos and videos
While DPAs make great advertising creative for retargeting, you should also test using creative that goes beyond static website photos. Other creative contents worth integrating into your retargeting strategies are:
● Photos that are taken by customers or influencers using your product
● Videos demonstrating how your product looks or functions
● Videos answering frequently asked questions from customers
● Any new products you’ve launched lately that they may not have seen on your website
After testing multiple creative formats, it is likely that your overall Facebook retargeting strategy will include a mixture of DPAs for lower-funnel retargeting audiences, and informative videos for those who haven’t yet made it to a product page.
Copywriting techniques for retargeting
Aside from the media used in your retargeting strategies, it is important to also write a copy that will speak to questions customers have during the consideration phase of their purchasing journey.
If a customer hasn’t yet converted on your website but has shown interest in your brand or product, what can you say to convince them that the purchase is worthwhile?
Here are some top pre-purchase concerns and how you can reassure customers.
● Highlight the value (quality, number of uses, etc.) of the product
● Offer a discount code to first-time customers to sweeten the deal
Shipping and returns:
● Do you offer free shipping on orders over a certain value? Call it out in the copy
● If you have an easy return and exchange program, consider surfacing it here
● Feature a customer quote that addresses any concerns a prospect might have around the quality of the product
● Talk about the materials and/or process used to create your product to give customers peace of mind
“In our middle-of-the-funnel retargeting, our copy aims to showcase our unique selling propositions or brand origin story in a succinct, easy-to-digest way,” says Jake Newbould, Head of Digital Marketing at Piglet, “We’re trying to persuade already-engaged customers why you should buy Piglet products over our competitors.”
The best creative for retargeting both reminds and reassures customers about your brand and your product. In addition to showing them relevant products through DPAs, use the post copy as an opportunity to fill in the blanks for them whether it be through social proof or highlighting your customer service.
Facebook retargeting: Turn more browsers into buyers
A strong retargeting strategy will allow your ads to reach the right people with the right message at the right time. Timing plays such a key role in the decision-making process that you should structure your entire strategy around segmenting your customers based on their user history.
By creating a retargeting funnel that works from the first interaction a customer has with your brand all the way down to their final decision to click Checkout, you can make sure no potential sales are left on the table.
Even better, if you can pair together creative that addresses any questions and concerns while providing social proof and a frequent reminder of what they viewed, your retargeting strategy can persuade passive visitors to become enthusiastic shoppers.
Source: Shopify Blog
In the coming months, businesses are going to become more reliant than ever on their digital strategy. Without wanting to sound too alarmist, in many cases it will be the deciding factor in whether they make it through the tough times ahead.
The unprecedented, almost-total disappearance of all channels related to live events and conferences, and the increasing barriers on face-to-face business, pose an enormous challenge. Key to resilience is the development of ongoing contingencies to mitigate against this loss.
B2B companies, in particular, rely on the annual circuit of trade shows and exhibitions to network and build customer relations. In industries that are not digital-native, they may also be less sophisticated in their digital growth and customer relations strategies. For smaller businesses especially, used to getting new customers through word-of-mouth referrals or on the strength of a hard-won reputation, their loss is coming as a shock.
Larger companies are also now finding themselves in the position of having potentially lost millions through cancelled events. They won’t claw back the hours of time and expense spent on preparations for this year, but insurance and flexible cancellation policies will leave them with marketing budget to reassign. Digital is likely to be the clear winner here, and companies – including ones that may not so much as had a Facebook page before – will need to move into social marketing, content marketing, SEO and influencer-led campaigns.
Of course, this means there’s opportunities out there for the taking, if you are a B2B supplier in an industry that has been slow to adapt to digital marketing. A key factor in resilience is adaptability. If it’s standard in your industry to go out and meet new customers face-to-face before you do business, adapting may mean opening new channels over web or social media platforms where introductions can be made and relationships fostered. In the coming months, your prospective clients are going to be less open to the idea of letting you walk through the door and shake their hand – and no-one really has any idea how long this will last and whether this will lead to longer-term change.
As Scott Jones, CEO of 123 Internet Group, is quoted saying, “We are in uncertain times, but with the increase of remote working and a collaborative approach, companies are turning to digital channels and embracing the transformation. We have seen a real spike during the last few weeks from companies wishing to create or update websites, launch new e-commerce channels and create social media campaigns focused on home-workers and a real focus on using influencers and SEO to reach new audiences.”
Being confined to the office – or even the home – rather than on the road on sales visits or at events, means marketers have more time to develop digital strategies. This means researching where your customers can be found online, and how different approaches and tactics might impact your success. If your organization previously put token efforts into digital channels – because like a lot of other businesses, you had built your networks offline and that had always seemed to work – now is the time to revisit them. That could be as simple as giving your website and social pages a refresh, or a more innovative approach.
Ratnesh Singh, head of global business at events technology agency Buzznation said that he found out quickly that clients did not want to lose the networking opportunities provided by the conference circuit. On top of this, they are looking for new ways to spend their remaining marketing budgets. He said, “With our corporate clients, events often consume 50 to 60 per cent of their marketing budgets. They still want to spend that money and they are open to trying something new.
“There’s a window of opportunity here – when things are back to normal budgets will be going back into live events and that’s what they will be spending their time on.
“But if they see the benefits and opportunities that digital channels can offer, this will become part of their long-term marketing contingency plans.”
As well as offering immersive 3D virtual events, Buzznation has also found that businesses want to become more sophisticated in their use of live social platforms. Singh said “Clients are turning to Facebook or LinkedIn Live. Often these are platforms they have dabbled with in the past but never fully integrated into their marketing strategy. Now they see value in partnering with companies like us that know how to help them make the most of these channels, to achieve better production values and more targeted campaigns.”
It’s certainly true that the coming weeks, or months – or however long this situation lasts – will be a challenging time for any company that isn’t ready to think about how they will replace the opportunities that have been lost.
As long as businesses approach the shift to digital marketing strategically, there’s no reason why it should just serve as an emergency fill-in, but could carry on providing long-term value when the world eventually gets back to normal. And of course, it would make companies more resilient to deal with any future pandemics.