In just a few short weeks, the rapid spread of COVID-19 has impacted shoppers as millions of people are being asked to stay at home by health officials and their employers, directly impacting their daily routines and purchase behaviors. Shoppers are being asked to practice “Social Distancing,”—leading to work-from-home policies, online schooling for children and college students, and, for some industries, unemployment.

But Social Distancing isn’t stopping shoppers from being social…

It’s no surprise that more time at home has made a direct impact on social media consumption. More people than ever are tuning in to their social feeds to track real-time news and updates, virtually communicate with friends and family, pass the time while they can’t go out, and look for inspiration and comfort in their “new normal.”

Between March 11 and 17, Shopmium’s internal paid media team saw a 30%+ spike in impression inventory across all of its campaigns, meaning more users were tuning into Social, driving more opportunity than ever for brands to reach new and engaged audiences across platforms.

What it means for FMCG Brands and Retailers

During this time, people are turning to digital and actively seeking out ways to connect. Brands and retailers that understand this and look for ways to help shoppers during this time will stand the best chance of winning during—and most importantly, after—this pandemic is over.

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Here’s how your brand can tap in to Social to help shoppers:

1. Provide shoppers with valuable information they’re already searching for. 

While consumers are panic buying, they aren’t panic searching—instead, they are looking for valuable information, like “how long should I wash my hands?”. This means Social can—and should—be viewed as a platform for your brand to deliver valuable ideas and insights to shoppers during a time when they need it most. So where to begin? Tap into the topics that are most top-of-mind for consumers right now.

Shopmium’s Ahalogy Muse platform saw spikes in popularity around topics like “Homeschooling” (40% increase), “Cupboard Staples” (115% increase), and “Immune System” (158% increase) during the past 30 days.  Insert your brand into the conversation by providing category-relevant helpful content. Here are some examples to get you started:

  • Cupboard staple recipes for the family (what to do with all that extra pasta, beans, etc.) featuring your Food & Beverage brand
  • Tips for hand washing (when, how long, etc.) starring your Hand Soap brand
  • Tips to keep high-traffic areas of the home sanitised during a quarantine starring your Household Cleaning brand

The bottom-line? Use this time as a way to educate shoppers, while tying in your brand in a thoughtful way. Rather than shutting down all media efforts due to inventory outages and fear of being insensitive, Social can actually help put your brand at the forefront of the conversation in a wholly authentic way. 

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2. Find ways to help shoppers connect on Social during a time of “social distancing”

Despite mandated time spent at home, people are still finding ways to connect. Increased awareness of anxiety & depression is one of many reasons people today are hyper-aware of the need to connect with others during this time, especially those living alone. Through usage of tools that make real-time virtual communication possible, like Facebook and Instagram Story apps and Zoom, we are seeing a sudden rise of virtual happy hours, online recipe shares and live-stream cooking classes, virtual neighbourhood meet-ups, community watch parties, and more.

Your brand can get in on the fun while providing valuable ideas and inspiration for shoppers with the help of Shopmium’s Social-Amplification solution. Here are some ideas:

  • Influencers can host live stream “cupboard staple recipe” how-to videos featuring your Food brand
  • Beverage and Adult Beverage brands can own the “virtual happy hour” trend by inspiring shoppers with influencer-created cocktail recipe ideas and tips for throwing a happy hour online
  • Household brands can have influencers host a weekly live stream “Sanitisation Series” featuring their products and tips for keeping the home clean during this time

You can tap into Shopmium’s network to get started. Whether it’s repurposing old content or driving new ideas with the help of Social, our team can help your brand activate on these new consumer behaviors. 

We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone—from the brands and retailers trying to navigate this current climate to shoppers looking for answers. Planning ahead and evolving campaign plans to align with today’s behavior is critical now more than ever. The most important thing to remember is that we are all figuring this out together: Shopmium will continue to be a trusted partner, delivering insights, education, and strategic advice for our clients and partners that face new challenges during this time.

Shopmium can help your brand provide value to shoppers during this difficult time. For further insights, reach out to your Shopmium representative or contact uk@shopmium.com

*Sources: 1 Quotient Internal Data (March 13 – March 26, 2020); 2 Quotient Internal Data (Ahalogy Muse, February 26 – March 26), 3 Quotient Internal Reporting (Q1 2020)