The coronavirus pandemic has changed the face of the retail business, at least temporarily. With lockdowns in countries across the globe in full force, retail stores are facing a highly disruptive situation.

The initial emergency measures suffered by businesses in the retail industry included the freezing of marketing budgets and postponement of product launches. Now that the initial tsunami has passed, retail companies must get used to the new normal and rethink their marketing strategies, the most important being online marketing.

Here are some tips for marketing your retail business online during a lockdown:

  1. Don’t disregard email marketing

Emails can help you connect personally with your customers, provide them with reassurance, confirmation, and even give them the support they need at every touchpoint. Some types of email campaigns you can send out are promotional and seasonal emails, blogs and newsletters, reward offers, and triggered emails sent out on birthdays and anniversaries and news about your business.

For example, you can inform them of public liability insurance you might have taken out to ensure their safety and your business’s safety. Letting your customers know that you invest in their safety gives them more confidence in you and strengthens their loyalty to your brand. Click here for more information on the legal requirements for public liability insurance.

The average ROI of a $1 email marketing investment is $44. Over 80% of B2B and B2C companies use email marketing. Thanks to the lockdown, email marketing is more critical today than it has ever been. Make use of email marketing campaigns to engage your customers with exciting newsletters and encourage conversations.

Market Your Retail Business Online During A Lockdown

Marketing platforms like Mailchimp are designed to help businesses manage and stay connected with their customers, clients, and other interested parties.  They offer retail companies a variety of customization tools that allow you to get creative with your content.

  1. Engage with your customers

Even if your brick and mortar retail business store has witnessed a decrease in foot traffic because of the lockdown, ensure that you are consistently engaging with your customers. Eventually, this time of lockdown will pass but what your customers will remember about you is how you made them feel during the lockdown.

Be positive and spread that positivity through your messaging, whether it is via personalized emails to your clients or your social media messages. Use your online messaging to educate your customers and spread awareness on how to stay safe and healthy.

In a mad rush to reach out to their customers and increase sales, many companies turn into insensitive opportunists. That strategy will eventually have serious repercussions. The idea of online communication is to be sensitive and helpful to your customers. Support your community by making an online donation, or you could even host an online charity event. Showing your customers (and suppliers) that you care about their community can have a massive impact on how they see you and your business.

Market Your Retail Business Online During A Lockdown

  1. Make your presence known on social media

Social media offers excellent platforms to promote your merchandise, whether you own a brick and mortar store or an online business. To ensure your retail business survives a lockdown, you must have a strong social media presence. All social media platforms are not the same and some will give you a better return on your time investment.

Narrow down your choice of platforms to just a few, the ones you choose will depend on your audience and your goals. For example, a younger audience is active on Facebook while you are more likely to find a more mature audience on Twitter.

Once you choose your social media channels, please familiarise yourself with each of their features, and then use them to promote your business and also provide added value to your customers.

A social media marketing platform like Buffer, Hootsuite, or even Sprout Social, will help you manage all your social media activities effortlessly. For example, Buffer helps businesses manage all their social media accounts from one platform and schedule social posts on a variety of social networking platforms.

  1. Offer your customers mobile promotions and more

Mobile is a powerful tool mobile users spend over four hours a day on their phones. So, you cannot afford to miss out on this opportunity to reach out to your customers. You can use SMSs to send out gift codes and coupons that can be redeemed by customers when they visit your store, once they are at your store. WhatsApp is another app that you can use to send personalized messages to clients to entice them to visit your store.

Once these customers visit your store to avail of your offers, they can be enticed with other in-store offers. For example, fashion stores can offer sales on the previous season’s fashion and grocery stores can provide seasonal items at discounted prices.

Suppose your retail store has a website and ensure that it is mobile-friendly and uses a mobile-friendly theme. The menus and content on your website should display efficiently for all users, no matter what device they view it on.

Your retail business can survive the lockdown successfully if you have a robust online presence. The more you invest in online marketing, the greater are the chances of your retail business emerging from this lockdown successfully. These online marketing tips will help drive more traffic to your store, whether it is an e-store or a brick and mortar store.

Market Your Retail Business Online During A Lockdown


BizCover. 2020. Legal Requirement for Public Liability Insurance. [ONLINE] Available at [Accessed 03 September 2020].

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