Most of us didn't think twice before entering a store before the spring of 2020. In the post-COVID era, however, everything is different. And while it looks like COVID is (finally) in the rearview mirror, we're returning to a changed world across many aspects of life — including in-store consumer behavior.
What does that mean for retail brands looking to market their products and services as we anticipate the next cold and flu season? Here's a closer look at some key marketing information you should consider to best position your brand for success this cold and flu season.
1. Understand the new consumer
While retail consumers may be returning to in-store shopping, they're not incredibly excited about it. 40% of consumers say shopping in stores is less enjoyable than before the pandemic. Despite this, consumers will continue to shop in stores because of the ease, speed, and social component. Catering to these needs is the key to supporting a satisfying customer journey. For example, customers may be less likely to handle products due to concerns about germs. For this reason, touch-free QR codes are especially appealing to get more information about a product without needing to physically touch it before deciding to purchase.
And while this is important any time of the year, it will be especially critical during cold and flu season when consumer concerns about in-store shopping may be heightened.
2. Use displays wisely
After two years of living through COVID, customers are conditioned to evaluate their surroundings, keep their distance, and pay more attention to signage. Visual marketing can play a significant role in enticing shoppers throughout the store. Combine this with data showing that overall spending is higher once shoppers are in the store, and the benefits of capturing their attention early can pay off significantly for brands.
3. Hone in on what's important
When COVID hit, and businesses implemented preventative measures like mask-wearing, hand hygiene, and social distancing, there was a reduction in cases of other viral infections, such as the common cold, flu, and RSV. While this was a happy accident, it also comes with a takeaway looking ahead: Maintaining these precautions — especially during cold and flu season — may become part of everyday life.
With social distancing in place, brands that showcase their products face the dual challenge of less display space and larger aisle widths. What you promote — and how you promote it — matters more than ever. To maximize your sales, it's critical to make the most of the space you have to capture your customers' attention.
4. Make your message clear
Customers may be less likely to linger in enclosed spaces during cold and flu season and may move quickly through aisles driven by the desire to get what they need and go. This means that if you have a particular promotion or offer to share, making sure it's clear — and visible from a distance — is the best way to make sure it's noticed.
In addition to using the right words, you'll also want to pay careful attention to messaging. A clear and consistent story is essential to building relationships with your customers. For example, today's consumers increasingly expect the brands they support to prioritize social responsibility. Finding a way to showcase your commitment to community, sustainability, inclusivity, or another leading cause can help you create connections with consumers.
5. Know what to expect
The more you know about how different retailers plan to handle cold and flu season, the better prepared your brand will be to capitalize on opportunities. For instance, if space is limited due to social distancing, a proactive approach is essential to ensure your brand claims critical space for your displays.
Speaking of knowing what to expect, the unpredictability of cold and flu season can make planning especially challenging. This is why it's so important to plan ahead.
The retail landscape has changed significantly because of COVID and will continue to evolve moving forward. Understanding the trends and conditions is instrumental to navigating the challenges of these changing times and finding a solution that works in your favor. If you're looking to jump on your marketing strategies for cold and flu season, these five tips can help.
At Bay Cities Packaging & Design, we specialize in helping brands create effective retail displays and packaging that speak to their customers' unique wants and needs. To find out how we can help your business harness the full potential of your display program or product packaging, contact us today.