During the Pandemic
It has been 20 years since the Dot-Com bubble was supposed to burst and crash the stock market. And yet, today, none of us can comprehend living without e-commerce, and Apps to order anything from fast-food delivery to a new car.
At the same time, online sales accounted for only 16% of retail sales in 2019, signaling that retail stores were not going away anytime soon.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed all that in a matter of weeks. Restaurants have gone from dine-in to curbside pick-up, Shipt and InstaCart shoppers have worked in overdrive, Prominent retailers such as J Crew and JC Penney have filed for bankruptcy and ZOOM became a household name.
There is no question that people from all over the world have been forced to live most of their lives online, in every aspect imaginable, one screen at a time. Even as countries slowly begins to open up over the next 6 - 12 - 24 months, our lives will have changed permanently.
Whatever resistance anyone had towards online grocery shopping, having a doctor's visit done via TeleMed or shopping at Target without having to leave your car, these progressions are here to stay. Permanently. Life in post-COVID-19 will evolve much more around online access, it's and quick convenient ways, and with far less person to person interaction.
Some interesting 2020 statistics
When the first quarter of 2020 ended, it became clearly evident what impact the pandemic had on e-tailers.
Walmart posted sales up 74%.
Amazon posted an increase of 26%.
Target showed a whopping increase of 131%, and their April numbers are up a staggering 282%, year-to-year.
InstaCart is looking to hire 300,000 full-service shoppers.
Shipt is adding 1000s of shoppers in multiple cities across the US, already having hired approximately 70,000 new shoppers in March or so.
Even UPS is increasing the focus on e-commerce. This May they announced The UPS Customer Technology Program offering discounts and support on all aspects of running an e-commerce business. Both for businesses wanting to expand existing e-commerce business, or businesses wanting to expand into e-commerce.
These changes are a direct result of all but 5 of the 50 US states issuing various Stay-At-Home orders to some extent - do not expect life to return to the 2019 "normal" anytime soon. Or anytime for that matter. People’s habits have changed as a result, and those habits are quickly becoming the new norm.
Is the timing right for increased Ad spending
In our opinion, Yes. The old saying still holds true: “When times are good you should advertise. When times are bad, you must advertise.”
There are numerous ways in which staying the course now or even increasing your online presence now will set your business up to reap the benefits once the economy begins its rebound.
Your budget can stretch farther in an ad space with less competition.
You will grab a larger share of the voice, and that larger share typically leads to a larger share of the market.
Keeping your brand in front of consumers during hard times can strengthen your corporate image of stability, and gain valuable customer trust.
Despite the economic and mental toll that the pandemic is taking on us all, it is also the right time for businesses, especially smaller businesses, to lay the groundwork for future growth and stability by keeping their name front and center in advertising, especially thinking on terms of "local".
Whether the goal is to sell nationally or to bring local customers into a brick and
mortar store, Google and Microsoft Ad campaigns must be a crucial element in your plan forward. We cannot change the current world developments and how the market place changed at record speed, but we can adapt and capitalize on the opportunities presented to us.
Advertising expenditure and the results that it yields will always be lazed with a fair amount of uncertainty and guesswork. Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, may have said it best when asked about advertising through a recession.
When asked, ‘What do you think about a recession?’ he responded, ‘I thought about it and decided not to participate.’