Food Industry: How to Relaunch Your Activities Post-COVID-19?
For companies, “deconfinement” is not synonymous with “back to normal.” On the blog this month, we will share our advice about how to relaunch your marketing activities in the post-crisis period, so that you can reach customers better and regain their confidence, as well as support them during this uncertain period.
As lockdown measures are slowly relaxed across the country, companies are preparing to relaunch their activities in a market that has been fundamentally changed by the COVID-19 crisis. They have to find a way to adapt to consumers’ new concerns, which have challenged their customary purchase and eating habits.
We have seen a new interest in health, fresh food, home cooking and local products emerge, as well as a concern for the socio-economic impact of consumption habits. It is also difficult to ignore the incredible growth in online shopping. In fact, the month of march, at the beginning of the confinement, has seen the largest proportion of online shoppers in the last year, with 55% of Quebecers having made at least one online purchase (Cefrio).
In this context, what is the best way to meet consumers’ needs? How should you position yourself during this delicate post-crisis period?
Here are the three marketing elements to prioritize to relaunch your activities successfully and reinforce your relationship with your community.
1. Improve your web presence
Over the last few months, a growing number of activities have migrated to the web, be it work, social activities and, of course, purchasing. Now, more than ever, the web is the preferred space to start a conversation with consumers and create loyalty.
To do this, we recommend using social media, a cost-effective way to remain in contact with your community and to carve out a place for your business in their daily lives. To attract their attention, you need to stand out and offer them relevant content focused on their concerns.
Canadians wish to retain certain habits adopted during confinement, such as cooking, taking care of their health and buying local. So, for example, you can talk about where your products come from or offer recipes to cook together as a family. Also, feel free to share how your company will resume activities, or “get back to normal”. You will appear more approachable in the eyes of consumers, in a context where they place great value on empathy and our common humanity, as you will see in the next point.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is an excellent way to ensure maximum visibility on the web. Even in slower periods, don’t let up on your efforts to appear on the first page of Google, because your position could be difficult to get back if your competitors take advantage of the opportunity to surpass you. Since people are being forced to change their purchasing habits and discover new local businesses, this is the perfect time to attract their attention.
2. Build on empathy
The post-crisis period is one of uncertainty that could cause a lot of anxiety. People therefore need to feel guided, reassured, and brands can play a big part of this role. After all, 82 % of Canadians confirm that they would be loyal to Canadian companies who take an active role during this period. (Radio Connexions)
So, what should you say to consumers? First, it is essential to communicate the ways in which you will ensure everyone’s safety, be it your clients’, suppliers’ or employees’. You have to position yourself as a stable player, who leads by example, in order to win their confidence. At this point in time, individual well-being should come before sales opportunities. Your brand capital will be even greater after the crisis for it.
Empathy is also showing people that you understand their reality and concerns. While Canadians reclaim their purchasing power, explain how your business impacts positively on the environment, local economy and community.
The worst mistake that you can make right now is to ignore the situation and continue to follow your communications plan as if nothing has happened. This would show a flagrant lack of empathy and consideration for your community.
3. Be ready for online sales
The pandemic has forced people to change some of their habits, sometimes in spite of themselves. Before confinement, less than 2% of Canadians said that they ordered food online, as compared to 9% today, according to a recent study conducted by Angus Reid and Dalhousie University, in Nova Scotia. Whether it is a question of convenience or safety, several will continue to order online post-crisis. This is a perfect opportunity to establish a transactional relationship directly with your consumers, all over the world, by adding a web distribution channel for your products. In this period of redefinition, you must be ready to offer consumers a transactional site that is efficient and user friendly.
Several Quebec SMEs have developed their platform in reaction to the crisis in order to quickly adapt to demand. Now is the time to optimize your online business and make the necessary adjustments to offer your clients the best user experience possible.
For example, think about ways to simplify payment procedures, facilitate navigation and improve delivery options. You can also enhance product searches by improving their presentation and description or by offering users personalized recommendations.
If you are among those who have not yet developed their online business, it is the perfect time to get started. Don’t let this opportunity slip through your fingers!
In short, during this period, people are counting on you to support them and to facilitate the transition. The watchwords are solidarity, safety and of course, social responsibility. Your words and actions have to be consistent and communicated effectively.
So, are you ready to relaunch your sales and activities?
For even more advice about the best ways to adapt your marketing strategies to the current situation, sign up for our webinar on how to sell your products online directly to consumers, on June 18.