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Featured Mar 24, 2020 5 min read

How to successfully adapt your communication strategy for COVID-19

COVID-19 may have dictated retailers’ approaches for the past month, but now it’s time to go from reactive to proactive.

communication strategies

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

1. Work-from-home

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

Wedding Season

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.

Festival

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.

Vacation Season

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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