Priorities are continuing to shift as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, which is impacting us all.

Routines, both personal and professional, are impacted. Shoppers are taking a closer look at their budgets and adjusting spending patters. We’re seeing a number of trends signifying how consumer behaviour is changing across our global networks. For the week ending 3/29, this is what changed in click and order activity:

  • US: Orders were down by 13% week-over-week, while total clicks remained steady, with 0.5% decline.
  • Canada: Click activity was up 9% across our Canadian network, while there was a decrease in orders of 6%.
  • UK: Orders were down by 8% week-over-week, while total clicks increased by nearly 7%.
  • Brazil: Orders were up 16% despite a 22% decrease in click activity in Brazil.
  • France: Our French network saw a healthy growth in shopping activity last week, with orders up 78% and clicks up 37%.
  • Germany: We saw notable growth in orders and clicks across our German network, up 45% and 20% respectively.
  • APAC: Orders were up by 8% in the APAC region week-over-week, potentially owing to the fact that APAC is further into the pandemic than the US and the UK, while overall clicks were down by 4%.

While businesses that are deemed “non-essential,” including clothing stores and fitness studios among others, are being ordered to close in the interest of public safety, the steady and increasing click activity we’re seeing across the world signifies that people are still spending time shopping online. Meanwhile, certain products, including athleisure and household items, are in much higher demand these days.

The opportunity to engage with consumers on the internet is there, but it’s certain that marketing during these unprecedented times requires brands to be nimble with their messaging, offerings, and budget.

We spoke with our account teams to learn more about what they’re advising their clients to do.

Be Conscious of Your Messaging

People are spending more time at home due to offices being shut down or, worse, due to the fact that they may have lost their job as a result of business disruptions caused by the pandemic. Focus your messaging around what you’re doing to help the community or how your products can help your audience weather the current storm.

Communicate Changes Quickly

Now is the time to err on the side of over-communicating any business changes you are seeing to your publishers and account teams to determine the right path forward. Make sure you notify all parties quickly about any shipping or distribution center disruptions, such as orders being delayed or not being able to ship so that strategies can be adjusted. If you normally promote in-store pickup and are suspending it because you are either closing your stores or encouraging shoppers to take extra precautions, make sure none of your publishers are promoting the use of store pickup.

Take Stock and Promote Accordingly

As people’s priorities change, the types of products they’re interested in buying are changing. Now is the time to closely examine what you sell and start promoting products that shoppers are more likely to be seeking out, even if those products aren’t what you would typically promote.

For instance, in the U.S., Rakuten Advertising saw a 92% increase in athleisure buyers during the last week of March. Sporting goods, meanwhile, saw a 22% spike. Retailers that have these types of products in stock should be taking extra steps to promote them in order to capitalise on increases in shopper demand.

Collaborate with your publisher partners to prioritise products that are timely and relevant. Employ dynamic commissioning rates to make sure the right products are getting in front of consumers, or offer better deals or discounts to make purchase more accessible to those who are budget conscious.

Increase retargeting windows and decrease ad frequency

Advertisers should maintain a steady touchpoint with the consumer, knowing that conversion may take longer and require more nurturing than usual.

Rakuten Advertising will continue to keep you updated with strategies and insights from our network. For more strategic insight, specific to your company, please reach out to your Rakuten Advertising representative. 

Stay Safe. Stay Well.