Re-openings and advertising reactivation strategy with Scott Falzone, Managing Director, Telecom, Google

As our economy begins to reemerge and some stores/businesses start to reopen, but with limited capacity – what are some tips for driving demand for less capacity?

The world has dramatically changed over the last few months, ushering in monumental business model changes and new consumer behaviors to adapt to a dynamic environment. The one constant through these uncertain times is that digital has been a lifeline to getting what you need, when you need it. This has transformed shoppers to be either digital-first or digital-only purchasers.

We have seen eCommerce gains like never before this year, with over $108B in eCommerce retail sales[1] . Even as stores reopen, some consumers are not willing to go back. Ordering online or with contactless pickup have given us time back and made our lives easier, which shoppers are not willing to give up. My new coffee subscription delivery is going to stay – there is no need for me to go back to the store when I can get this delivered straight to my home without worrying about crowds or determining if my local store has these coffee beans in stock. Retailers must anticipate that despite stores reopening with less capacity, there will still be high demand through digital channels.

For those consumers who have an immediate need that requires them to go to the store, I recommend thinking through how to make it a productive shopping experience. Shoppers no longer are willing to make multiple trips, with  8 in 10 consolidating their shopping trips to make fewer trips.[2]

There are three key things I advise all my customers to think through for their website to drive seamless shopping experiences throughout the reopening process and beyond:

  1. Use website real estate to deliver on new shopping expectations. Make sure it is simple to find store hours, product availability, relevant offers, contactless pickup and delivery options.
  2. Create personalized experiences for shoppers. Allow shoppers the ability to see similar products, create product bundles and offer reminders for purchased items they may need to reorder. The more that you streamline the desire to consolidate the shopping experience, the more valuable you will be to the customer.
  3. Simplify checkout and offer flexible reordering. Enable automatic reordering options, show recently browsed products and reveal purchased items to consider before finalizing checkout. Once ready to checkout, give shoppers quick payment options and offer to save their profile for future checkouts for a frictionless commerce experience.

Helping provide this necessary information and tailoring content to make a productive shopping experience works well for both the digital-first and digital-only consumer.

How will brands modify/change their messaging post-COVID? Will it change at all?

As people have been rethinking and reimaging what their day-to-day needs are, brands/retailers need to show their value to the consumer and the community at large during these times.

More importantly, consumers expect brands to address this. 84% of US consumers say that how companies or brands act during the current market is important to their loyalty moving forward.[3]These are unprecedented times of change and growth for everyone, which requires retailers to proactively communicate their values and offer solutions to bring in new consumers and retain shopper loyalty.

COVID-19 reopening has been staggered, which makes localized messaging strategy crucial for each stage. Reach your shoppers as they look for stores open near them, product availability and surface contactless pickup/delivery options. Rethinking your local reach and messaging this information is core to all successful reopening strategies.

Now is a time for brands to demonstrate their value to shoppers. Be authentic, actively engage in the conversation and demonstrate your value to the consumer.

What do you think a brand that’s paused their spend, needs to consider before restarting?

Once you are ready to resume advertising, think through the major digital habits that have emerged during this time. Shoppers are making purchase decisions online more than ever before and continuing to do so. 67% of US shoppers will confirm online that an item is in stock before going to buy it[4] and 46% of US shoppers say they will use BOPIS or curbside pickup this holiday season[5] These trends accelerated the importance of a digital footprint, which need to be considered within the advertising reactivation strategy.

I would think through five key areas to make sure I am delivering exceptional digital advertising experiences for the consumer and delivering on key business objectives:

  1. Give shoppers what they want by being present in the right searches and use our tools to understand Rising Retail Category demand
  2. Enable product discovery through free listings on Google Shopping
  3. Integrate curbside/delivery options into your local campaigns to enable contactless transactions
  4. Remain agile and personalize your messaging to the right consumers, at the right time, with the right message
  5. Automate to business outcome to stay ahead of market trends. The market has and will continue to change over time. Using automation will allow you to stay ahead of this, prioritizing the right success metrics.

The winners during this time will be those that remain flexible and continue to make the necessary pivots on this journey.

[1] TechCrunch

[2] Ipsos Global Co-Vid Essentials, US n= 1,000. Thinking ahead to the holiday season, do each of these describe how you plan to shop this holiday season compared to previous years. Yes, I will consolidate my shopping to make fewer trips

[3]WPP/Benenson Strategy Group, The Pulse of America, US, 1,500 A18-65, March 22-24, 2020

[4]Google commissioned Ipsos COVID-19 Tracker, US  n=736 consumers who plan to shop for the holiday season 18+. June 11-14

[5] Google commissioned Ipsos COVID-19 Tracker, US  n=736 consumers who plan to shop for the holiday season 18+. June 11-14