As the UK approaches the end of its third national lockdown, the government is hopeful that the economy is going to bounce back pretty quickly.
In fact, the Bank of England has suggested that consumer spending could surge this year with the British public having saved as much asri a £250 billion during lockdown.
This is obviously great news for businesses that have suffered due to closures over the last 12 months, particularly the retail industry with all non-essential shopping having been forced to close.
That being said, it’s important to remember that COVID-19 has changed the world and it has certainly changed consumer behaviour. As such, retail businesses (and any other business for that matter) must be able to adapt to new consumer habits.
The market, especially the e-commerce market, has become more competitive. But with lockdown lifting and people once again able to browse the shops and go about their normal lives, getting ahead of the competition is key.
This means making some important changes to your PR and marketing strategy over the coming months. To help you do this, we’ve pulled together a list of five PR tactics for retailers that you should consider for your business.
Are you ready to ramp up your post-lockdown PR strategy?
Read on to find out how.
1. Get a post-lockdown press release out there
Consumer habits might have changed but traditional PR hasn’t! With a few months to go before we begin to see some real changes, now is the perfect time to start preparing your post-lockdown press release.
If you’ve got any exciting data you’ve collected, news stories, store-openings, new products or sales, prepare a press release that is going to let the public know about these. In an entertaining way of course.
Getting this published post-lockdown can be a great way to get your brand name out there. Plus, consumers tend to trust retailers more if they have heard of them and seen their name before.
So aim high!
Target some of the most important publications in your industry and even national publications if you feel your story could be of interest to them and their readers.
Start now and you’ll have plenty of time to create the perfect press release and to begin pitching this out in time for the end of lockdown.
2. Create content, not just adverts
People were spending a record amount of time online during lockdown, consuming more content than ever before. While time spent online could see a decline once people can resume normal activities again, people have become accustomed to consuming content in this way.
As such, you want to make sure that your post-lockdown marketing strategy isn’t just bombarding your audience with adverts and being really ‘salesy’.
Instead, apply PR techniques to create valuable content that your audience will actually enjoy and want to engage with. This content needs to reflect your retail brand and your overall business goals.
This can be done through helpful articles, listicles, social media posts or videos – whatever works best for your business and your audience. You just need to make sure it is adding real value to the reader’s life in some way.
Creating content like this is a great technique for boosting your retail branding, strengthening your website’s SEO and growing your customer base.
3. Do a post-lockdown freedom stunt
If you’ve got a talented team of creatives behind you and the means to do so, then why not consider a fun freedom stunt once lockdown lifts.
Throughout 2020, as people adjusted to life in the Coronavirus era and going in and out of lockdown, several brands made the most of this PR opportunity. So to help inspire your post-lockdown PR stunts, we thought we’d share some of our favourites, particularly those in the retail sector:
- With shops closed and photoshoots off the cards, fashion brand, Zara sent its products straight to their model’s homes. They then styled themselves and shot some creative pictures at home which the brand used in place of their usual advertising
- Earl of East created a range of candles called ‘Scents of Normality’. These were designed to smell like the places we missed the most during lockdown. So this included a range of scents such as the local boozer, cinemas and festivals
- Uber created a TV advert entitled ‘thank you for not riding with us’ in a bid to encourage people to stay at home
- In order to help people overcome their boredom at home, KFC launched their own hashtag challenge – #RateMyKFC. They encouraged people to have fun making and sharing photos of their homemade attempts at replicating the famous fried chicken.
Now, all of these campaigns were inspired by lockdown but there’s no reason yours can’t be inspired by the lifting of lockdown! And it doesn’t have to be huge or expensive, just have some fun getting creative with it.
4. Ramp up your social media efforts
The popularity of social media sky-rocketed in 2020, largely due to lockdowns and new restrictions. In fact, a report from Hootsuite found that 1.3 million new users joined social media every day during 2020.
While the time spent on social media might see a decrease post-lockdown, this doesn’t change how many people are now registered with and using these platforms regularly.
As such, you should ramp up your social media efforts post-lockdown. There are serval things you can use this for:
- Sharing content your customers and followers will enjoy
- Updating people on your opening hours
- Keeping people informed of any social distancing or health and safety rules in-store
- Advertising sales or new products
5. Collaborate with influencers that reflect your retail brand
Last on the list is a strategy that a lot of PR teams have been embracing in recent years and this is collaborating with influencers.
Choose influencers in your niche or in the retail industry that you think reflect your brand. You could ask them to share some content on their profiles or even to do a takeover of your social media for the day.
They can advertise your products and shout about why your brand and products are great.
Just be sure they’re following all the rules around advertising on social media and make sure you choose someone you believe accurately reflects your retail brand and its values.