Earning consumer confidence trust is king in a post-COVID-19 world.

May 27, 2020 | by hi-gloss

If you thought you had to perform backflips before to create a conversion, you’ve just entered stage left for your next stunt-stunning performance. The good news is, if you’ve always been focused on delivering a quality product and customer satisfaction, then you’ll have a solid base of customers to lean on and support your rebound efforts. Here’s your trifecta of tips to reassure consumer confidence when shopping your product and exploring their decision-making process.

Your loyalists have your back

A brand loyalist really knows you and has a sense of how you will manage delivering on expectations that come with the new norm, such as cleanliness practices, government ordinances, timely delivery and more.

The advantage of brand affinity is that it is based in a personal, emotional relationship, which is more difficult to sever. Rather than being just a habit or routine the consumer is stuck in; an affinity will lead a consumer to see a particular brand as inherently superior because of the connection they have with it.

Your database and social following are likely going to be your greatest opportunities to seek conversion during the rebound process. However, think beyond the basic boosted post or standard emailer. When is the last time you sent a direct mail piece to your loyalists? Though stay at home ordinances are being lifted, people are still spending much more time at home and are browsing through their mail. Also, it is critical to utilize your database to create lookalike models for digital marketing. This will allow you to find like-minded consumers who have a higher propensity to convert.

Live up to your best practices

Your inbox has been flooded with what brands are instituting to make people feel comfortable returning back to normal shopping patterns. From a restaurant’s approach to social distancing to a resort’s lengthy list of cleaning practices, every brand and industry is pushing the limits on how to go above and beyond to make consumers feel safe and ready to spend.

Upscale hotels and restaurants along with high-end department stores have always tried to hide their maintenance efforts from customers, lest a stray floor buffer dim the luster of luxury. Not anymore. For pandemic-era retailers, the more obvious signs of cleaning, the better. One commercial cleaning company, Enviro-Master, has even begun offering clients certificates to hang in their windows proving they received a “virus vaporizer” service.

In addition to presenting consumers a thorough commitment to health and cleanliness, your new ethos must be realistic. You better believe critics, competitors and consumers alike will be on the hunt to test your commitments. And don’t think for a second that any shortcomings won’t immediately be exposed on social media and review websites.

The evolution of influence

In addition to certificates of cleanliness by third party endorsers, companies are partnering with recognized health providers and brand name cleaning products to sponsor their new safety protocols and evolve them into credible programs.

Four Seasons is partnering with Johns Hopkins Medicine International for its new global health and safety program, “Lead With Care.” The program notes that public areas will be cleaned hourly, with extra attention to areas like the front desk counters and public restrooms; kits with masks, hand sanitizer and sanitization wipes will be in each guest room; and restaurants and bars might operate at a limited capacity for social distancing purposes, among other initiatives.

Once your doors are ready to open, there will be a population of early adopters that is ready to re-enter society and get used to the new norm. For the more resistant and slower to adapt consumer, they will require more convincing. It is critical to find an influencing voice to give others confidence to following in their footsteps. Areas of your budget may have required a slash, but this isn’t the time to put your influencer marketing strategy on the chopping block.

Smart marketers will focus on two things when selecting influencer partners–storytelling, and engagement rate. As you compete for consumer attention, possibly more than ever before, you must lean into influencers that can personally reconnect with your target audiences.

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