We, at Ansira, have spent the last few weeks helping our clients through tough transitions in their business. From developing new e-Commerce strategies and innovative campaigns, to rapidly updating email triggers and deploying cross-channel loyalty promotions, to helping pivot their national media spend to amplify local messages and creating compelling content focused on awareness and engagement. While we are still firmly in the middle of #5, “Restricted Living” on the Nielsen Consumer Behavior Chart, we are also starting to help clients think and plan ahead for the next phase, #6, “Living a New Normal.” We know it won’t be a light–switch to normal; it will evolve over time, much like we saw a phased approach across the country of event cancellations and non-essential business closures on the path to nationwide shelter-in-place orders. In this blog series, we will help highlight some key steps and actions that will be critical to an as-smooth-as-possible re-entry into the New Normal. While we haven’t yet found the oracle that has seen what the country will look like in a post-COVID world, we can take the lessons we’ve learned thus far and apply them to create an easier transition. The first step is what we call, “Knowing and Planning.”
Transforming Customer Experience
Most brands have experienced rapid digital and operational transformations – enabling mobile ordering, updating web to closer replicate the store experience, engaging customers in live streams, virtual meet-ups, and video chat. New services have been introduced like curbside pickup, contactless delivery, buy now-pay later, limited menus, partnership offers, and product bundles. There are so many innovative and interesting ways brands have risen to the challenge of not only preserving their interests and maintaining sales but meeting the new demands and expectations of consumers who have also had their daily lives upended. It’s important to remember that a lot of consumers are engaging with some brands for the first time and in new and different ways. The question on everyone’s mind is ‘which experiences are here to stay?’
To begin to answer that question, one first must start by understanding how your products, services, and engagements are performing across your customer segments. For one of our QSR clients, we are looking regularly at who is still visiting and how their behavior has shifted today vs. the start of the year. We are also tracking discount amount, discount rate, trip frequency, and sales. What we found was that, while visitor counts are down, frequency for those who are still active is up. Plus, while delivery and to-go shares are up, the largest growth share has been captured by drive-thru and mobile. We also found a group of active customers who were previously lapsed and a group of customers who are new to the brand. A few ways we can activate on that information is:
For this QSR client, we are using this information to begin to forecast impacts to sales over the coming weeks and months. We can track our new “baseline” against the activations above to map the success of our efforts in the areas of channel, message and offer against key target segments, product and daypart, and continue to heavy-up in the areas showing the most impact.
It’s important to note the order of the activations listed above. We prioritized them by quick-to-market actions that can be taken now and supported with test and learn plans, followed by activities that require additional analytics and insights. You’ll need good, tracked data. Take the time now to make sure your customers’ segments and transactions are appropriately labeled. Your campaign reporting should be set up by channel and offer, tracked at a customer or customer segment level, and tied to purchases with visibility into key transaction details.
Keep an eye on this space as we continue to break down key steps and actions as we look forward to “Living a New Normal.”