Understanding a customer’s mindset and their expectations is always critical to being able to provide them with a relevant and personalised experience. In times of crisis, this becomes more important than ever. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has forced everyone to make significant changes to their everyday behaviours, which businesses must evolve with if they are to remain relevant and in tune with their customers.
For marketers in the pet sector, it is critical to step back and evaluate how they are engaging with audiences at this time. More than ever, brands should be demonstrating thoughtfulness, usefulness and an acute awareness of the situation – all of which is possible with the correct marketing tactics in place. Getting this right will all contribute to providing customers with a positive experience that is personalised to their needs – and those of their beloved pets.
Those brands that are able to adapt and continue to retain customer engagement even during these more challenging times will be in a stronger position when the country begins to emerge. With this in mind, we’ve taken a look at some of the key considerations that brands in the pet sector should have front of mind when approaching marketing strategies in the current environment.
Keep stock levels updated
Covid-19 has had a varied impact on the sector, depending on the particular service provided. Pet shops and vets have remained open as designated essential services – and the likes of Pets at Home reporting significant demand as consumers have understandably been anxious to ensure their pets are well cared for at this time. This demand combined with the challenges facing the supply chain mean that items are disappearing off shelves or online before they can be stocked. Making sure stock levels are kept up to date and as accurate as possible is vital to retaining relationships with the customer base.
This is something we identified as being important to shoppers, even before being faced with the national lockdown. Accordingly to our research almost two thirds (63%) of consumers want more brands to give them the option of receiving a digital notification when an item that is out of stock becomes available again at their local store. During this time when people need their lives to be made as easy as possible, this becomes even more relevant. Whether it’s stock levels in store or availability online, keeping this updated in real time will avoid frustrating customers – especially if they have had to queue to get in store. Equally, giving recommendations on similar items to those that are out of stock is another way a brand can demonstrate usefulness and value to a customer.
Think about your demographics
Our behaviours have changed very dramatically, very quickly. Whilst marketers should be regularly evaluating the performance of every aspect of their marketing to stay as relevant as and effective as possible, it’s now critical to evaluate audience segments and respond accordingly. From the over 70s and vulnerable having to isolate, to parents contenting with home schooling and a large majority of the population now working from, all of these will impact their behaviours and preference, which businesses need to be aware of. In line with reviewing these audience personas, marketers should also then take a look at automated campaigns as it’s likely these will also need to be adapted to suit the current situation.
Clear communication is more important than ever. Remember that some consumers will be unfamiliar with the online world, but the circumstances have given them little other option, so marketers should keep this in mind and think about how to make their experience as stress-free and hassle-free as possible. Consumers will appreciate recognition of the ongoing situation but always ensure this is done in a sensitive manner and tone. Making sure that delivery information and returns policies are well sign posted, so customers don’t have to hunt for them will add to a positive experience, which is so important right now.
Whilst we continue to navigate the challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, there are ways in which businesses and brands can support and be there for consumers. In being able to continue delivering positive experiences and above all making shoppers lives easier, those within the pet industry will be rewarded with a loyal customer base when we emerge on the other side.
Komal Helyer, VP Marketing, Pure360