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Shopper Experience

5 Ways Retailers are Staying Connected with Shoppers During COVID-19

Among all the industries that have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak, retail has been completely turned on its head. Staying connected with shoppers has become challenging to say the least. Stores are closed, shoppers’ inboxes are overwhelmed with emails, and people are riddled with frustration and anxiety (this isn’t just “shoppers,” this is EVERYONE).

But instead of laying low and riding this situation out, brands are pushing forward, getting creative, and most importantly, showing their humanity. Here are five ways retailers are staying connected during a time when people have never been so apart:

1. Getting creative with marketing promotions

Currently, everyone is pushing email marketing harder than ever before. But retailers are finding ways to rise above the noise by becoming relevant to the situation their shoppers are in. Check out these super-relatable subject lines we’re seeing:

  • Old Navy – “The new definition of “getting dressed”…”
  • Michaels – “Make creative projects and memories with the family” 
  • Kohl’s – “Cute-comfy styles you’ll have on repeat” 
  • Old Navy – “This sale is an endorphin rush…GO!” 
  • Wayfair – “Work from home… anywhere!”
  • Mark & Graham – Send Your Love From Afar With 20% Off + Free Shipping
  • Lulus – Stay In. Stay Comfortable. WIN BIG!
  • Athleta – You’re in for a Treat: Say Hello to a Bold New WFH Look
  • Loft – NOT sweatpants (but better)
  • Madewell – FaceTime shopping sesh?
  • Nordstrom – Style for the camera
  • Loft – Sweatpants alternatives inside

2. Activities to help alleviate “Cabin fever”

Actual in-person events may be canceled, but brands are getting creative by holding virtual events, with many going above and beyond for their audience. For example:

Every Wednesday at Noon CT, Michaels holds a fun family activity on Facebook Live. This is a great opportunity for people with children at home, or that want to pick up a new craft, to take some time and have some fun! 

HATCH Collection, a fashionable maternity brand providing clothes designed for every trimester of pregnancy and beyond, is really coming through for the social distancing mothers. They are offering virtual events to their digital community on topics such as “COVID Q&A with Maternal Health Experts”, “COVID Conversation: Pregnancy, Postpartum, and Parenting”, and “Momming and Going through Infertility and Parenting During Quarantine.”

These helpful events are not going to be forgotten after this pandemic, and brands going above and beyond will have earned a new level of respect and brand loyalty from shoppers.

3. Offering free trials while budgets are tight

Although online traffic is up, it doesn’t hurt for brands to acknowledge shoppers that may have hit some financial restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak. That’s why we’re seeing some uptick with free trial offers. For example:

UberEats is offering one free month membership for the Uber Eats Pass, where subscribers get $0 delivery and 5% off orders over $15. These benefits apply to all restaurants on UberEats in the subscriber’s city so people can keep supporting local restaurants.

Peloton and Nike, along with many other fitness brands, are offering free on-demand workouts for athletes stuck inside. Here’s what Nike Training Club is communicating to shoppers:  “We’re evolving as the world is evolving and we want you to stay healthy and active. Enjoy on-demand class-style workouts, programs, and expert tips on nutrition, sleep, and more with free access to NTC Premium to all Nike Members until further notice.”

Audiobooks is helping people escape the house through reading. They suggest shoppers “transport” themselves with 3 free books during a free 30 day trial.

Bonus: Shoppers aren’t the only ones who are benefiting from free trials during these tough times. For a limited time, YOTTAA is helping online brands   speed up their sites for free, with access to our eCommerce acceleration tool. Learn more here.

4. Making heartfelt donations to help others

Some of the most valiant efforts being made by retailers are donations. It’s amazing to see brands come together; some are using their factories to make medical supplies, while others are donating their profits. Here are just a few examples of what we are seeing:

  • The Honest Company is donating 3 million diapers, 30,000 packs of wipes, and 20,000 personal care products to Baby2Baby this year.
  • Lego is making 13,000 face visors a day to protect healthcare workers in Denmark on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak 
  • Boll & Branch is donating 10% of proceeds to the production of mattresses and pillows for emergency medical operations, along with bed linen donations to hospitals. 
  • Allbirds donated $500,000 worth of shoes to healthcare workers responding to COVID-19. While supplies last, you can opt into the “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair” initiative. 
  • Chewy, the pet goods retailer partnered with to improve the health and well-being of people, pets and the planet. They have also donated more than $1.7 million in healthcare supplies, pet food and other products to animal welfare organizations that have been affected by COVID-19.
  • The Home Depot donated its entire stock of N95 masks to hospitals, first responders and other healthcare providers, as well as millions of dollars in personal protective equipment to aid workers on the frontline.
  • New Balance is donating $2 million in nonprofit grants to support local, regional and global communities compromised due to COVID-19.
  • MAC Cosmetics is donating $10 million towards 250 organizations all over the world that are helping people at higher risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

5. Communicating to shoppers that “We’re here for you”

If it’s one thing retailers know for sure, it’s how to make shoppers feel safe and in-the-know about their efforts to aid in the fight against coronavirus. Communicating to shoppers will help maintain brand loyalty and increase consumer confidence.

Here’ what some brands are sharing:


The Home Depot


We’re all in this together

One positive thing to come out of this scary and frustrating time is the comradery and kindness shown to each other as brands relentlessly push forward. This is not something that will be quickly forgotten. Shoppers are heavily relying on online retailers, not only for supplies, but for the opportunity to help make life a little easier when nothing seems farther from our grip. Here at YOTTAA, we want to help retailers pull through for their shoppers in any way that we can. Learn more about what we are doing to help brands today!