No one ever knew a pandemic like COVID-19 would change the way the world lives. Yes, quite literally, the world is new and so are our thoughts. The pandemic has resulted in a massive change of preferences compelling every industry to develop new products and more importantly reach out to the consumer in a new way. In such a health crisis, businesses, especially the retail sector has bled cold. Physical sales in the retail segment have dropped by a whopping 70% while e-commerce transactions haven’t been able to compensate equally. So what are the options that marketers could adopt in such trying times?
Omnichannel Marketing – Being in together, in every way and everywhere
Firstly, what is Omnichannel Marketing? The word Omni is defined as, ‘everywhere and every place’. A strategy that motivates the customer for purchase from the start till the end keeping the product preference of the customer at the centre of the strategy is an Omni channeled marketing strategy. It’s simple actually; it is defined, ‘the effective utilisation of all channels of marketing to create a unified experience for the customers’.
It uses all the mediums of marketing; traditional and digital including sales at physical stores and online webs stores as well. It is the best way to provide a super personalised customer experience by adjusting and catering to the customer’s behavior.
For instance, a consumer gets a promotional email or SMS while spending in a store. Or, getting a message about an abandoned cart and being retargeted with the same product through other modes of communication like Facebook messenger attempting a checkout, etc. Omnichannel marketing continuously shows the relevant and related products to the customer through the entire shopping journey across different mediums of marketing. It has four basic pillars of success,
- Workforce integration for seamless delivery, all teams need to collaborate effectively to deliver this experience
- Strong analyses of customer data, their behavior, preference, tastes, prices, etc.
- Effective targeting of messages
- Continuous testing of strategies implemented and measuring effectiveness.
However, these four factors require a certain level of technological and digital readiness which probably certain developing markets are not ready for.
As far as Omnichannel marketing in India is concerned retailers have started trying it just recently. This is mainly due to the fact that Omnichannel marketing requires strong and vigorous web stores without which analysing and targeting it not feasible. India does not have an ecosystem ripe for the fruition of Omnichannel marketing. India mainly lacks in logistical abilities and technology interlinks that make it difficult for retail companies to employ Omnichannel marketing as their marketing medium. While the brick and mortar retailer was earlier apprehensive about showcasing their catalogue online, their catalogues now have 100% exposure online. Yes, this shows that retailers India are now exposing their vulnerabilities to mitigate the bigger risk of the loss of their business. Omnichannel marketing has a long way to go and it has only begun its journey through the long journey of new-age marketing post-COVID-19.
Easiest and Fastest way to cope with Dipped Sales - Brand Licensing
There comes a point in the lifecycle of every company where developing new products for revenue generation is not possible. It has to survive selling its existing product range. At such a point, Brand licensing comes to the rescue for retailers.
Brand Licensing is defined, ‘Through a brand licensing agreement, the owner of a brand (trademark) the licensor can allow third parties, the licensees to use their trademark on pre-defined products under certain conditions in return for a royalty payment.’
Brand licensing gives to the licensor brand as to how, when, who, and for how long does one use the brand. For many reasons and in times like these when sales have been impacted and are not expected to improve anytime soon it might be imperative for brands to adopt new sales avenues to survive. How does brand licensing help a business?
- Brand licensing helps in growing brand value. It helps the licensor to expand across new product lines expanding the client base. Examples of this are major luxury retail brands that not all can afford. However, they license their brand for accessories like sunglasses, watches, which allow them to reach a different client group.
- When financial resources and revenue are low for a company it is difficult for brands to pump in more money to develop new products and then spend on marketing them. Brand licensing allows the brand to use their existing product range to reach unaccesssed customers easily; it is a low-risk tool.
- It lets the brand use the product trademarks beyond their given restriction. Brands can use their own judgment and leverage the products based on their own free will. In short, brand licensing can help make an opportunity off a trademark.
In India where brand consciousness exists and where a growing population is available to explore new branded products, most licensors should extend the license tenures. This will be a win-win for both, licensor and licensee. Amidst the lockdown restrictions brands as licensors are looking for an extension by nearly year and as a licensee are barging to defer royalties to 2021 scouting for extensions. The time has come a time when additional marketing tools not tried earlier like brand licensing and Omnichannel marketing can be utilized.
This article is written by Akhil Jain, Executive Director, Madame.