Webloyalty comments on how retailers are responding to Coronavirus
Ben Stirling, Managing Director At Webloyalty, comments on how response to Coronavirus outbreak is impacting consumer loyalty:
“The Coronavirus epidemic has taken over every aspect of our lives and the high-street is no exception. Across the country, retailers of every shape and size have had to adapt. As customers inevitably and understandably panic, their relationships with brands are being tested in unfamiliar ways.
“Some brands are already seeing a marked increase in customers as people adapt their lifestyles in response to the virus. With consumers looking to avoid crowds, at the end of last week, Ocado Group PLC said it was experiencing ‘exceptionally high demand’, and this is likely to continue as people naturally start to avoid public spaces out of fear of contagion. Similarly, other brands that provide ‘indoor alternatives’ such as Netflix, JustEat or Deliveroo could benefit as people avoid public socialising.
“Aside from lifestyle changes, some brands are being judged more on their response, which could have material impact on customer loyalty that outlives even the epidemic itself. Wilko, the self-styled ‘family friendly’ homewares brand has come under intense scrutiny for its decision to clamp down on employee sick pay, this week of all weeks. While bosses have insisted this is an unrelated move on their part, it could prove a calamitous decision if the initial media response is anything to go by. A number of brands, such as the nation’s pharmacist, Boots or supermarket giant Tesco have sensitively and deftly rationed certain essentials such as toilet paper, dried goods and hand-sanitizer due to the incredible consumer demand. Scarcity is seldom a positive message but the level-headed approach could translate into long-term brand loyalty, provided they manage to make good on their assurances stores will remain well stocked.
“Even if COVID-19 has had no material impact on a business’ ability to deliver products and services, make no mistake, the public is watching eagerly. The agility and deftness of a brand’s response to its customers, employees and suppliers could translate into long-term brand loyalty and similarly, any fumble or insensitivity could have dire repercussions.”
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