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Consumers force brands to rewrite marketing playbooks amidst coronavirus

Yotpo’s Raj Nijjer offers several takeaways from a recent Yotpo consumer survey and explores how marketers can “shift their priorities” in light of the findings.

5 min read

Marketing Strategy

Consumers force brands to rewrite marketing playbooks amidst coronavirus

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As the coronavirus global pandemic roils the global economy, marketers are caught in the crosshairs on how to acquire and retain customers. In the midst of the health crisis, it was reported that Amazon Prime delays reached the one-month mark, leaving consumers scrambling to find other online options to get the essentials they need. Amazon’s relationship with its customers is just one of speed and lacks human connection. Today, only Prime members are being prioritized, but for a fee.

Today’s direct-to-consumer brands are the world’s local shops of e-commerce, and they truly care about their customers and their communities. Consumers are uniting to support their local small businesses and rallying their support around DTC brands as well, especially as they could be the most heavily impacted during this pandemic. In Yotpo’s recent study, we issued results of a consumer trends consumer survey that sheds light on the latest behaviors and priorities of consumers when shopping online.

Top takeaways from the consumer trends survey:

  • At the same time, 35.65% of consumers are starting to pay more attention to brand marketing (via email, SMS, social ads, etc.). Shrewd spending practices and survival are at the heart of it, but they are watching brands and their messages closely
  • 79.55% of consumers are looking to maintain spend (22.80%) or spend less (56.75%) because of COVID-19
  • “Survival” essentials are top of mind for consumers as food (78.80%), health and wellness products (42.50%), and household cleaning supplies (34.95%) round out consumers priority purchases
  • Brand loyalty goes out the window if the need is great enough. It’s not all about the brand. If there’s an item that consumers want that’s out of stock, 40.55% will turn to a less familiar brand to help meet their need

As the vast majority of shoppers adapt to the new normal of coronavirus, consumers are increasingly working from home and adhering to the concept of social distancing. Brand marketers need to shift their priorities with authentic messaging and community building strategy. 

Amplify your brand community

Think of your brand from the perspective of your customers during this time – as people, we’re all going through this unprecedented global experience together. In times like these, it’s the connections we have with the people around us, from near and far, that keep us grounded.

Highlight how your customers are using your product and service by sharing positive reviews from verified shoppers to promote brand authenticity. For your brand, your community is the tie that binds, and it’s important that you keep customer experience top of mind, not just during this difficult time, but all the time.

Create content that’s helpful, comforts and entertains

Right now people care about food, and they plan to cook more often. Invest in collecting user-generated content (photos and videos) from your community to use in your brand marketing. To promote authenticity, have your team share favorite recipes or cooking videos from the community. Or, because people care about working productively from home, your brand can offer productivity hacks, healthy snack ideas, or tips to look your best in video calls. People are investing in their health and wellbeing, so share a list of stay-healthy tips or offer a free mid-day meditation lesson. More than anything, allow your brand to be human – we’re all in this together


Your customers are your community. Let them know how you’re responding to coronavirus, if anything has changed about how you’re conducting business and what health precautions you’re taking. Ask them how you can support them during this time, and let them know how they can support your brand as well. Meet them where they are with updates to your homepage, getting active on your social media, or engage your most loyal customers with SMS marketing solutions like SMSBump or Facebook Messenger.

Go live on social media

Reach your audience where they work and play. Go live on Instagram or LinkedIn to answer any questions and help customers who may be concerned about the impact of COVID-19. Both platforms provide an opportunity to cultivate an audience.

 Go virtual

Have an upcoming event that had to be postponed or canceled? Try a virtual webinar or panel. Recreate the networking component by creating a Slack channel or Facebook group for participants or encouraging questions live via social.

Shopping patterns are changing, and that means shifting your brands’ priorities to match. Leverage the data above to segment your audience accordingly, engage your community, optimize your on-site experience, and, most importantly, always treat your customers with humanity. In these unprecedented times, it’s together that we prevail.


Raj Nijjer is vice president of marketing at Yotpo, a leading commerce marketing cloud in New York. Prior to joining Yotpo, Raj spent more than three years at Yext in multiple leadership roles through its IPO in 2017. Raj also spent nine years at Godaddy in leadership roles launching innovative product lines with over nine patents issued and leading to a buyout, inclusive of an eventual IPO.


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