As this pandemic continues to wear on us, it is important as retail brand owners that we understand what our customers are going through. In my last post I spoke about how your retail brand can work with strategic partners to reach more customers. Today we are going to look at the 5th phase of the I.M.P.A.C.T Framework which deals with Communicating with Empathy.
So how do you communicate with empathy? Let’s start with the definition. Broadly speaking empathy in the sense of what we are discussing today deals with being able to walk in the shoes of your customer to understand how they feel and what matters to them at this point in time.
Communicating with Empathy deals very much in a form of a dialogue between the retail brand and its customers. Customers want to know that your retail brand understands where they are at this moment, be it working from home and juggling their work and the needs of their children or being out of work fighting to survive. As such, the first thing your retail brand should not be doing is “selling”.
A lot of retail brands from what I see as we are opening up our economy are throwing sale after sale. What that communicates to your customer is that this re-opening is about me (i.e. the retail brand owner) getting as much as possible from you (i.e. my customers) because I have been closed for the last 3 months and need to fill my coffers. But is a sale necessarily what your customer needs right now?
Any form of communication from you to your customers should be focused on the brand giving back to its customers rather than selling to them. A great example of a brand showing that they care, would be for the brand to communicate how its customers can stay safe during this pandemic or how it is giving back to the community. For example, brands such as LVMH who quickly converted their perfume production lines to producing hand sanitizers or the many liquor brands who stopped production of their liquors to produce disinfectants and sanitizers and sometimes donating their products away to front-liners or even selling at cost to their customers.
These kinds of actions show that your retail brand truly cares and puts the customers first and actions like these are more likely to garner strong brand support for you in the future.
So what can you do as a retailer to show that you care? The first thing is to understand who is your customer and what are their needs at the moment. Could it be something as simple as extending additional payment plans for customers who may need to purchase from you but cannot afford to pay you up front at the moment? Or perhaps if you are a restaurant, you could donate a meal away to someone in need for every meal that is purchased by your customers.
The solutions as always are endless and we as retail brand owners can always do more to show that we care. The question is will we? Because putting out an ad or communicating that your retail brand cares is very different from actually walking the talk.
Tune in next week as we come to the conclusion of our I.M.P.A.C.T framework where we talk about the different technologies your brand needs to be looking into to stay relevant in this post Covid-19 era.
Should you have questions about the IMPACT Framework and how I can work with your retail brand to create your custom I.M.P.A.C.T plan feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit this site to see what our clients have said about working with us.