3 Ways to Prepare For a Post-Recession World
Choose your favorite forward-looking cliché here: It's darkest before the dawn; there's light at the end of the tunnel; the green shoots are sprouting; all clouds have a silver lining. Whatever your preference, they all mean the same thing — it's time to start thinking about recovery now that the economic free fall seems to have subsided.
That doesn't mean "business as usual" is just around the corner, however. In fact, now is a very crucial time for retailers of all types to rethink their ways ahead. If you're too bold, you can jump the gun on a full recovery, wasting time and resources on campaigns that could never work. But if you stay hunkered down, your competition may quickly pass you by.
What then are the right marketing strategies for retailers facing the challenge of nurturing these green shoots of recovery? Here are three basic tenets for retailers to build their recovery marketing strategies.
1. The value of … well … value. Every recession leaves a lasting mark on the economy. Whether a scar or a birthmark of a new era, it's determined in part by time, but mostly by how well businesses adapt to new circumstances. This recession, as deep and prolonged as it's been, will leave behind a lingering emphasis on value.
Retailers surely will feel this the most because even as the leading economic indicators are trending up (e.g., stocks rallying, Wall Street profits), the metrics that apply to the average consumer — and are therefore most important to retailers — are lagging. Unemployment is still high; consumer confidence is still historically low. Customers today aren't just seeking bargains; they expect them. Retailers must direct their marketing efforts to showcase, if not create, value — both now and through the recovery.
2. Relationship marketing. An important fundamental that often gets forgotten in times of plenty is that the presentation and experience of shopping are at least as valuable, if not more, than the product itself. For retailers facing what's sure to be a long recovery period, that concept should be a universal consideration and must be updated to emphasize direct relationships with customers.