As part of Digital Influence Lab’s initiative to bring the spotlight to marketing and the specifics amidst COVID-19, worldwide lockdowns and a declining economy, we have prepared a series of live panel discussions focused on how marketing needs to adapt in the new normal. In the first installment of this series, we are focusing on retail marketing.
“Unprecedented”, “the new normal”, “digitalization”, “pivoting” – these buzzwords have been at the top of everyone’s minds. However, what do these mean for retail marketing?
On 19 May 2020, we brought together 3 marketing professionals from various industries to discuss the emerging trends and changing landscape of the retail marketing sector.
Our panelists include:
1. Yvonne Lim (Razer’s Global Ecommerce Director):
- Currently the Director of Global eCommerce for Razer Inc – a renowned name among gamers, and a leader in the gaming hardware/software industry,
- Over 10 years of experience accelerating business growth for the retail and consumer industry under her belt.
- Started her eCommerce career helping startups and SMEs to kickstart their online presence before accelerating the online growth of global brands in international markets such as Uniqlo, Adidas and Asics.
2. Collette Miles (Yoga Movement’s Creative and Content Manager):
- Creative and Content manager (traditionally Marketing Manager) at Yoga Movement, with prior experiences in SPH Magazines and lululemon.
- Collette brings with her first-hand experience in the fitness industry and how Yoga Movement keeps themselves relevant this Circuit Breaker.
3. Colin Phua (Captive Media’s CEO and Founder):
- Captive Group is an integrated media & marketing agency group headquartered in Shanghai with operations in Beijing and Hong Kong. Clients range from MNCs like Adidas and Fila to mainland companies like Shimao Group, TRT 同仁堂, and even government organizations like Tourism Australia.
- Under Captive Media, Colin launched MallMax in 2014, creating China’s first and now the largest shopping mall integrated media resources platform, working with over 200 malls in over 60 cities across China. During 11.11, Captive Group has helped Adidas to sell over 25 million pairs of shoes through Taobao Live.
- Launched in 2017, Captive was one of the earliest service vendors to offer New Retail marketing services, and has been appointed Joint Business Partner by TMall New Retail to offer interactive pop-ups, smart retail solutions and data-driven Online + Offline media promotion solutions for TMall brands.
Together, the panel, moderated by Sharon Neo, founder of Digital Influence Lab, delved into what marketing for retailers entails in this ‘new normal’.
Join our panelists on a discussion with a practical approach to how retailers can market in this "new normal", the opportunities present for the now and the future, what new retail could look like, with additional insight into how to move their operations online or reinvent their business model to suit the current circumstances.I'm going live using StreamYard! Before leaving a comment, please grant StreamYard permission to see your name at streamyard.com/facebook
Posted by Sharon Neo on Monday, 18 May 2020
What are emerging marketing trends that are relevant to your experiences? (8:10)
- Need for consistent branding offline and online
Collette: With services increasingly being digitized, I noticed that it tends to be done on a large scale without much attention to detail, and as a result compromises on brand output and quality. With Yoga Movement, beyond providing online classes, we also seek to replicate the sense of community that our brand is built upon.
- Live streaming
Colin: Increasingly, brands are turning to live streaming to sell products and services, and typical live streaming formats have changed to include more professional and interactive setups such as building a retail store within the studio.
- Importance of brand relevance
Yvonne: This boils down to identifying the relevance of your company in the particular circumstances, and how your services and products are aligned to what people care about. For example, although Sentosa is closed off the visitors, they have created a virtual Sentosa on Animal Crossing.
What are some foreseeable mid-term changes you predict and what actions do you recommend retailers to take? (18:45)
- Try new things
Colin: Although it is too early to say what changes will occur given the uncertainty of the climate, retailers should take this opportunity to try new things and push their boundaries.
- Invest in word of mouth marketing
Yvonne: This can include reaching out to previous customers for reviews, and possibly venturing into affiliate marketing. After all, people continue to make purchases through friends recommendations.
- Opportunity to reach out to clients across the world
Collette: For the fitness industry, it is likely that the hybrid offline/online model will stay in the near future, and going online may be the future of fitness. Companies no longer need a physical store or a large budget to expand overseas.
What are some marketing strategies retailers can take to capture market share and stand out from global competitors? (27:45)
- Content is king
Colin: Retailers should always start with content and ask themselves essential questions such as: What content can be created from your product or service? How relevant is your content to consumers? How are you packaging and delivering the content?
- Brand positioning
Collette: From the start, Yoga Movement positioned ourselves as a very global brand. By ensuring diversity in representation, we made sure their content was relatable to as many individuals worldwide.
- Customer service.
Yvonne: How you stand out is how you treat your customers – you have to make sure that customers that buy from you will come back.
Compared to China, what does Singapore lack in live stream selling and what are recommended platforms for a predominantly American or European demographic? (40:35)
- Complete and convenient ecosystem
Colin: China has a more complete and convenient ecosystem that Singapore has yet to grow towards. For instance, in Singapore, the process of linking live streaming platforms like IG Live and Facebook Live to online marketplaces is not as seamless.
- Social selling
Sharon: The aspect of social selling is more effective in China, where they better understand conversion from live stream to sales and there are stronger calls to action.
- Livestreaming opportunities
Colin: There also is the misconception that live streaming is only for people to sell discounted items, but companies can also look to live streaming as an opportunity to communicate new products and design concepts.
Yvonne: Although Razer has not sold items on live stream, we have launched a cloud clubbing party to engage our customers during quarantine, which goes to show how live streaming can also be used for brand building.
- TikTok as a platform for the European and American demographic
Yvonne: For Europeans and Americans, TikTok is the fastest growing platform to reach out to a large user base across a wide demographic. People who have had a late start on Instagram can afford to go onto TikTok and grow their followers from there, especially since TikTok is currently less saturated.
How can smaller brands incorporate live streaming into their marketing strategy? (44:50)
- Need for consistent effort
Colin: Live streaming should not be seen as the be all and end all and brands should not go in with the mindset that follower numbers will jump instantaneously. It is important to create consistent content that showcases the product USP and engages the audience such that at the end of the livestream, viewers will (1) Know more about your brand or (2) Purchase the product.
Yvonne: Smaller brands can afford to experiment with multiple narratives and content formats, and tweak their strategy according to the response.
Getting used to the ‘new normal’
Collette: With the ‘new normal’, people are gradually finding new routines and it is unlikely that the retail environment will return to what it was pre-COVID.
- Online expansion efforts
Colin: For brands who consistently have had a strong online presence, the shift online meant renewed vigour, but for brands who just got online, they can just keep going since it is another means of earning revenue.
- Relevance of in-person events
Colin: With respect to the relevance of in-person events, I believe they still remain relevant given humans’ innate need for interaction. Experiential marketing tactics incorporating technology and interaction that facilitates two-way interaction such as quizzes and QR codes are increasing in popularity.
What is anything interesting you are working on and do you have any parting advice? (54:40)
Yvonne: We are actually working harder than before given that there are many more projects with the various changes, and we are ensuring that Razer staff does not feel isolated during this period.
Collette: Within the YM Fam, we have been conducting internal classes for our staff and partners, as well as wine down sessions to keep everyone connected and not lose touch with their practice. We have also been busy doing up contingency plans and SOPs, and coming up with new creative campaigns and marketing their new hybrid way of practice.
Colin: We are getting ready to launch Singapore’s first shopping mall live streaming shopping festival with Suntec City and it is exciting given that it is uncharted territory.