As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and stores across America reopen, now is the time for retailers to rethink their customer acquisition and retention strategies to align their organizations for success. Understanding how consumer behavior has shifted during COVID-19 will help inform your retail marketing strategy. A multichannel approach anchored with direct mail has been proven to drive results.
It has been well documented that the pandemic has greatly changed consumer behavior. Most notably, we saw a shift from physical to digital consumer interactions with 45.3% of consumers surveyed shopping more online, along with other behavior shifts and adaptations:
- 76% of shoppers tried a new shopping behavior – like digital shopping, a new website or service, different brands – since the pandemic started.
- Since COVID-19, 37% of consumers have ordered products online that they would have typically purchased in store.
- 75-84% of consumers say they plan to continue their COVID shopping behavior after COVID.
Store Traffic is Increasing as America Reopens
While many consumers favored online experiences during the pandemic, more and more are growing increasingly comfortable returning to stores.
In March 2021, 57% of consumers reported shopping in stores less. In May, that number dropped to 48%—a positive sign that more consumers are willing to return to stores for in-person shopping. Likewise, the number of consumers who report shopping more online is trending downward—39% in May down from 45% in March.
Physical stores will always remain an important part of retail. People enjoy and need the experience of shopping in physical stores. However, the future belongs to the retailers who understand the demand for omnichannel experiences and effectively integrate the convenience, speed and power of e-commerce with the sensory appeal and excitement of physical stores.
Consumers are Seeking Value
Retailers will have to make sure they are effectively communicating savings and value to influence consumer’s purchasing decisions. Since the pandemic began, 46% of consumers are more interested in deals, coupons, or promotions than before COVID-19, and they shop for the best deals using multiple sources. A recent study shows consumers use both print (76%) and online (71%) channels to compare prices.
Studies also show that 76% of consumers enjoy discovering new products based on deals they receive from brands. To keep up with the competition, retailers should ensure their integrated marketing campaigns offer valuable deals and convenience to shoppers.
Consumers Value Authentic Communication
The pandemic has forever changed the expectations consumers have for retailers and their marketing efforts. Consumers need to see that retailers understand and value their need for a safe, personal, and authentic brand relationship. The need for consistent, engaging, and trustworthy communications has never been more important.
The mailbox consistently has been a trustworthy source for consumer interaction and engagement. In fact, engagement with the mailbox is at an all-time high with daily mail engagement increasing 69% since March of 2020. And it’s not just for brick-and-mortar retailers. According to the International Post Corporation, 65% of their survey respondents who had received physical advertising mail from an e-retailer in the past year had taken at least one action: 36% visited the e-retailer’s website while 28% made an online purchase.
Direct mail as part of your marketing mix does more than simply engage consumers; it drives awareness and purchase intent and amplifies your digital campaigns.
- Advertisers achieve 39% lift in consumer awareness when print is integrated with digital campaigns vs. single media campaigns. And they get a 30% lift in response when print is paired with digital media.
- Print drives 11% purchase intent compared to only 4% with digital alone – That’s a 175% increase in purchase intent when anchoring your digital campaign with print!
Pivot Your Marketing Strategy to Win
By partnering with Mspark, we can help you develop an integrated marketing approach to achieve your goals:
- Increase customer engagement through one-to-one personalized mailings
- Utilize precision targeting to reach both current customers and prospects – delivering custom, personalized messages and offers to each group
- Establish lasting emotional bonds with your customers with Mspark’s trigger-based Quick Response program by inviting them to celebrate their important life moments with you! Whether it be a birth of baby, an important anniversary, a move, or other significant life events.
We offer a variety of targeted marketing solutions to fit any need and budget.
- Preprinted Insert Distribution: Do you already have a direct mail piece designed and printed? We can add your preprinted insert to our shared direct mail package, which will save you money when compared to other direct mail options. Targetable from the full market all the way down to the carrier route, this distribution option allows you to reach your ideal customer.
- Targeted Inserts: Two-sided, full-color pieces available in 9 sizes to meet your needs and budget, our Targeted Inserts offer targeting down to the carrier route level. They are ideal for customer acquisition, driving traffic, and serving as a cost-effective newspaper alternative.
- New Mover Program: Capitalize on the valuable new mover consumer segment with the fastest direct mail new mover program, our Quick Connect Mover Postcards. Learn more about this trigger-based marketing program that allows you to target and capture consumers with a uniquely relevant message during a high-spending period.
Retail success in the post-pandemic era isn’t so much about where you serve your customers as it is about how you create authentic, personalized omnichannel experiences that transcend the limits of your digital and physical touchpoints and create lasting brand loyalty. Reach each out today by clicking Get Started below to discuss your strategy!
Sources: McKinsey & Co, COVID-19 US Consumer Pulse Survey, Nov 2020; Chain Store Age; Valassis; USPS Mail Moments Survey Spring 2020), Millward Brown Print Campaign Analysis; Connecting for Action – Canada Post Neuroscience Report; Kantar profiles/Facebook research, 2020; International Post Corporation; Prosper Insights & Analytics Monthly Consumer Survey; Valassis Consumer Survey