COVID-19 may have dictated retailers’ approaches for the past month, but now it’s time to go from reactive to proactive.
Your planned visual merchandising strategy has most likely gone off track and needs a rework since the global coronavirus outbreak. We outline the key style stories you should be promoting and those to reposition.
During this time of uncertainty, EDITED data can transform your processes to stay competitive in the market. Get in touch to see a demo.
Four style stories to focus on
Promote current stock in line with new working environments
With businesses across the globe turning to remote work for the foreseeable future, traditional workwear and ‘office dress code’ communications may now seem out of touch. Promote current workwear stock in line with the inevitable increase in online video calls for interviews and meetings. For example, Marine Layer pushed its shirting ‘for an instant business-on-top look.’
Keep your customer base motivated
Working away from your team can lead to a drop in morale and motivation. Find ways to keep your customer base engaged and inspired. Take cues from Good American, which recently promoted interviews on career and business advice alongside outfits to shop. Retailers are increasingly using staff picks to resonate with customers to show what the team is wearing and their top tips for working from home.
Basics will have a new-found importance
While office dress codes have become increasingly casual in recent times, basics assortments will come into their own here. With new season arrivals facing delays, promote core continuity lines with healthy stock levels.
Show your support
It is important to be aware that not everyone has the opportunity to work remotely, particularly healthcare workers dealing with the virus first hand. Make sure these consumers don’t feel alienated by your communications – call them out to show they are appreciated.
2. Relax & recharge
Tap into the ‘Netflix & Chill’ generation
Loungewear has had a moment recently, with several consumers increasingly preferring to stay in and stream TV shows versus going out. Promote your assortment in line with messages that encourage consumers to relax and unwind during these uncertain times.
His & Hers
Partners that live together are suddenly working together too, which can raise challenges in itself. Provide some light relief and promote twinning looks within communications. Recently PAIGE sent an email promoting ‘laid back looks’ for both her and him. Genderless loungewear also lends itself well here.
Promote trend-led pieces within cozy edits
While generating newness is becoming increasingly difficult, promote current trend-led pieces in a new light to keep customers engaged. Cardigans, tonal looks and teddy fabrics are current trends you should already have within your assortment and all fit well into comfy style edits.
The importance of wellness
The wellness industry has become big business, and now more than ever promoting self-care and mindfulness is of high importance. To create a wider, more meaningful story here, provide tips on how to slow down and look after yourself as social distancing measures take hold.
3. Keep moving
Appeal to all fitness levels
While new year’s resolutions were set a while ago, interest in fitness will be picking up once again as consumers look for ways to stay active and healthy. Promote your activewear assortments and make sure you appeal to beginners starting out as exemplified.
Offer online classes
As the gym is not an option for most at the moment, show you understand your consumers’ needs and provide online workouts and videos to keep them returning to your site and social pages.
4. Stay connected
Focus on family & friendship
With social distancing measures in place, staying connected with loved ones is extremely important for consumers. Kohl’s highlighted this in a timely email on March 12th, while Everlane stated ‘we’re in this together’ – a theme that other retailers are also promoting.
The alternative date night
Also consider, while many couples now have to stay in, some may be separated due to self-isolation reasons. Be sensitive to this and promote current sleepwear and lingerie stock for an alternative date night in or over video call.
Those To Reposition
Weddings and summer gatherings are likely to be postponed at the moment due to lockdown and social distancing measures. Rework current stock into Spring style edits and once rules are relaxed, promote within general occasionwear stories as consumers look forward to the change to catch-up with family and friends again.
With Coachella and Glastonbury both canceled due to the outbreak, festival products will be less in demand. Consider reworking this stock into other stories. For example, Freshers’ weeks and back-to-college edits will be big in Fall, while sequined garments can sit perfectly within Christmas party edits.
October is expected to be a busy month for the summer getaways that have been postponed and it’s also the month of Ibiza closing parties. Consider pausing end of summer markdowns for swimwear and carry options over into fall to capture full price sales in line with consumer demand.
During these unsettling times, knowing your audience as well as being transparent and reassuring are all integral to your marketing strategy.
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