Covid-19 has brought very uncertain times within the world, with the retail sector being one of them. Many retailers competing within the programmatic ecosystem have never experienced such unique circumstances impacting business as they know it. Therefore, it’s imperative that agencies and retailers are smart during these testing times with a thorough review of planned advertising, social activation and marketing messages. It has never been more important to be appropriate and considerate to what customers are dealing with right now. Publishing marketing messages as if everything is normal may not resonate or be useful to your customers.

As always, we recommend maintaining the focus on your customers is going to be key during this difficult time. A change of tact is, however very much needed.

Here at Summit, we are experts in retail and in turn we thought we would share some of our thoughts that may help retailers during this unprecedented time.


Things to consider:

 Don’t focus directly on an ROI driven message

 The general public and your customers’ needs will change drastically during this time. Think about reviewing your engagement metrics and move them to your primary focus for now. Your customers will tell you how they feel and provide you with ideas that may not have been considered previously on ways in which you can help. Be sure to keep a close eye on your market share metrics as maintaining your share of voice against your competitor set is going to be crucial both during and post the current COVID-19 pandemic.


Re-evaluate your messaging daily

Be aware of daily changes in the news and communicate regularly with your customers. Utilise your social listening tools to discover key trends and topics that can be adapted to continue to provide engaging content that is of use to your customers


Product mix

 Be mindful that non-essential products will not necessarily be front of mind and ensure your message has clear purpose. Being kind goes a long way and the overall consensus from retailers should be about using retail for good at this time.


Think of the bigger picture

Don’t make knee-jerk decisions. Look for useful resources from history to support decisions made. For example the Drum discusses the impact on businesses that decide to cut marketing communication budgets vs those that maintain budgets. The estimated time to recover for retailers that cut spend can be up to 5 years, whereas with spend reducing or continuing at a normal rate the time frame for recovery can be much earlier. As mentioned previously a change of metric to determine performance is needed.


Focus on the good and be positive

As mentioned, messaging is hugely important, but remember to focus on your strengths, if you have a phenomenal delivery service that is still able to operate in a safe manner, shout about it! If you have products that are essentials, make sure you focus on your customers and those in most need.


Channel mix

Ensure you have a full review of your channels used. Not all channels were created equally, some will be more much more important than others over the coming weeks.


Top Twitter trends for United Kingdom now:

Image: trends24 as of 19/03/20


Facebook Ad Examples:

Image: Facebook as of 18/03/20

How has Coronavirus affected your organisations demand, traffic, conversions? What ideas do you have to fight against these challenging times? To find out how Summit could help support your business contact [email protected]




You can access lots of really interesting social data through