Covid-19 has been tough for all business. Regardless of the sector, each and every business in the world has been impacted in one way or another. Some may say that it’s the reality of a tragedy, whilst others have chosen to invest to increase their online visibility during a time of crisis. Whilst every business have gone through ups and downs in recent months, it has been too late for some with Thorntons the next business to announce the closure of all its stores.
So, here’s why brands that have been unsuccessful in their online innovation during Covid-19 are now seemingly failing.
Over the last 12 months, we’ve seen several high street stores permanently close the doors to their shops as a sad, but very real, result of Covid-19. Some may say that it’s a result of the Pandemic, whilst others are sure that if said brands would have taken the early initiative to boost their online presence, they wouldn’t have been made redundant from our streets. Here’s just a handful of businesses impacted by the Pandemic:
Earlier this year, Topshop alongside 3 other Arcadia retail brands confirmed that they would also be permanently closing their stores. Online fashion retailer, ASOS, came to the rescue, buying Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT for £265m.
Sadly, Thornton’s announced that it would be closing all 61 stores across the UK having been unsuccessful in generating enough online demand for their products over Covid-19. The move is said to be permanent, with more than 600 jobs expected to be impacted by the sudden closure.
Bonmarché was yet another fashion retail brand that was hit by Covid-19, falling into administration in early December 2020. However, it was announced earlier this month that Peacocks may be set to rescue the women’s fashion brand after being revealed as the preferred bidder.
Covid-19 proved that it was a real threat to high-street businesses when shoe company Oliver Sweeny Group closed seven of its stores during summer 2020 including flagship stores in Mayfair and Covent Garden. Several other stores located in Leeds and Manchester were also permanently closed following the announcement that the business was placed into administration in July.
Debenhams also closed its stores for the last time in 2020, with Boohoo buying the newly online retailer for a whopping £55m.
Keep Your Brands Visibility Afloat
With more businesses permanently closing their doors in light of Covid-19, things are only getting more competitive in the online space. It’s not only impacting the competitiveness of the online world, but also how consumers shop online, particularly Gen X and Millennials buying habits. Spending has dramatically been cut back within both groups, with many choosing to stock up on essentials and reduce the amount spent on experiences.
Older generations seem to be slightly less concerned about Covid-19’s effect on the economy, with only 24% of boomers cutting back on their spending habits pre-Coronavirus. Variations have also been identified by gender, with the Pandemic impacting how much women spend on products.
With more businesses taking on the online world and less wanting to head out to their local stores, including supermarkets, there has been a noticeable shift in the changes in revenue across the sector, too. Grocery ecommerce is just one sector to somewhat benefit from the Pandemic, with many turning to online stores during lockdown to purchase items that sold out locally. The demand for subscription services also increased, with people seeking convenience services that were available at the touch of a button to help keep them entertained during lockdown. Throughout the Pandemic, the items people choose to purchase online have continued to change, with the demand for health and safety products, groceries and luxury goods fluctuating the most over the past 12-months.
Coronavirus have impacted brands across the world, including those we know and love and are often inundated with the moment we step onto the high street. However, it’s not over just yet. As we enter a new phase of Covid-19, brands that are in the process of innovating their companies need to do so and fast as more and more businesses turn to the last resort of permanently closing their doors.
Brands need to start focusing on their online return as well as their in-store return. Covid-19 has undoubtedly shaken things up for every business, but in recent months, the importance of having a strong online visibility and reputation has been second to none. Thornton’s is the latest business to be impacted by the Pandemic, confirming that they would be closing their branches across the UK yesterday.
Social media has been a godsend for many businesses, providing them with the chance to quickly update their customers and get the word spread about their closures and re-openings. For many businesses, social media now guides the way forward, allowing them to easily interact with new and existing customers and provide them with a modern form of customer service that can be management 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If there was anything to prove that email marketing wasn’t dead, Covid-19 was certainly it. More and more businesses have been turning to email software to help them stay in touch with their customers, and their customers with them. Email marketing is even beginning to outrank the likes of social media and PPC advertising because, though it still has competition, it’s enabled businesses to excel their ROI even during these strange times.
Incorporating multi-channel marketing into your strategy is key, especially when it comes to making sure your business is present where your customers are. As spending habits and preferences continuing to shift online in favour of the consumer, it’s important to maintain a consistent message to retain loyal customers and increase the number of potential engagement points you have with them. It’s no longer about being in one place, just like we’ve seen with the businesses who have failed as a result of their slow transition online.
Covid-19 is still very much a thing, but it’s great to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. As we transition into the next phase of the Pandemic, it’s important that businesses remain inspired by the online world and invest in their business’s online presence just as much as that in person. How has your business adapted, do you have a story? We’d love to hear from you.