Experts Weigh In: How Retail Brands Can Keep Continuity During Covid-19

At HERO®, our mission is to keep stores and their employees at the heart of communities and the economy, and we’ve been proud to be actively helping our retail partners weather the storm of the COVID-19 crisis.

Last week, we gathered thought leaders from across the industry to talk about how retailers can keep continuity during this unprecedented time. HERO® CEO Alistair Crane and COO Natasha Franzen were joined by e.l.f. Cosmetics VP, Global E-Commerce & Consumer Experience Ingrid Cordy, as well as Buzzfeed SVP, Commerce Nilla Ali in a special virtual conversation.

In addition to making the replay available in its entirety below, we’ve also gathered the five best insights from their conversation:

Use this moment as an opportunity to innovate. From launching community campaigns on TikTok to empowering store associates to work from home, the conversation featured several examples of retailers experimenting with new channels and ways of working. While the natural impulse for most brands is to cut back on marketing, the consensus was that this is the perfect time to be scrappy and try new things.

Adapt your marketing message. Now more than ever, it’s critical for brands to be thoughtful about the messages they are pushing to consumers in the midst of vast changes to everyday life and a possible recession on the horizon. Two great examples: e.l.f. recently pivoted one of its marketing campaigns from festival looks to skincare and rag & bone has launched a campaign focused on “dressing for Zoom”. These are the kinds of timely messages that help brands stay relevant with their audience.

Find ways to foster human connection. In recent weeks, we’ve seen the number of conversations on Hero increase significantly as consumers seek human connection. Our panelists agreed that now is the time to implement strategies and tools that allow new modes of customer interaction to fill the void left by social distancing.

Support your employees. As consumers cut back on spending, many will be looking to support the brands that support their employees, which means that those who have been in the news for unfair treatment of warehouse workers or other employees will have an uphill battle. Our panelists noted that now is the time to take care of your team, with a wonderful example from e.l.f., who recently sent every single employee in their offices and warehouses a box of supplies as a thank you for all of their hard work.

Use discounts sparingly. While it’s tempting to offer deep discounts to consumers as a means of making up for lost volume, our CEO noted that this can do lasting damage to one’s brand. While discounting certainly has its place in the midst of an economic downturn, it’s a tactic that should be used thoughtfully, not as a cure-all.

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About Hero®

Add the “IRL” experience to your online store, with the #1 virtual shopping platform. Headquarted in London and New York. Hero is trusted by brands including Levi’s, Nike, Herman Miller and LVMH.