The biggest challenge that the electronics industry is facing during COVID-19 is dealing with the delays in manufacturing while addressing the rising demand on certain home use products.
According to a survey by IPC, a non-profit association that connects manufacturers in the electronics industry, manufacturers expect a few weeks of delay in shipments. Since the beginning of the outbreak in China, interruptions in manufacturing and shipping has had global effects. The delays had a domino effect on transportation, sales, prototyping and the launches of new products, and potentially increased the average costs.
The most sensational but expected news came from Apple, when it announced a delay in the launch of iPhone 9 and claimed it would not be able to meet projected sales estimates due to the outbreak. Hyundai and Nissan too announced suspending productions in South Korea due to delays in the production of electronic parts.(WhaTech).
What Can Electronics Marketers Do to Tackle the Situation at Hand
In the light of all these updates, the electronics industry is now faced with the challenge of managing the supply and demand balance. Global lockdowns had an impact on the imports of non-essential products. Yet there is still much to do for marketers in the electronics industry. Since nearly 20% of the world population is under quarantine, there is a rise in demand for certain products that address the needs of people staying at home.
As many are going through passive times in their homes, home entertainment products are gaining popularity. Similarly, small appliances that improve the quality of life at home, in terms of cleaning and healthy eating, are gaining importance as the lockdowns last. Since many brands had to shut down physical shops, the continuity of many businesses continues online. And there’s much to do! Online retail has become a vital sales channel for the electronics industry.
First and foremost, as a marketer, you need to find ways to connect with customers about their needs in this time of self-quarantine. Needless to say, your website becomes your most powerful tool in this uncertain period. Your brand’s website needs to be flexible and easily adaptable. It should be filled with contextual and personalized content to capture your customer’s hearts.
Your website should lead your users through a convenient layout where they can rapidly find their primary needs, see your stance on the crisis and be warned about any possible delays from the get-go. Being able to reposition your strategy and execute actions without losing time, is the key to navigate these challenging times.
According to a recent survey published on Statista, there has been a curious rise in the demand of several products during lockdowns. While the interest in dumbells has increased by 725% in the last 30 days, breadmaker (increased by 324%) and mouse for laptop (increased by 85%) are on the list of recently popular products.
As seen from the rising interest in formerly unpopular products, we can deduce that user priorities are changing faster than we can foresee. The survey illustrates that the primary concerns of people who are quarantined are: staying healthy, staying active, and staying productive.
Keeping these shifting priorities in mind, you need to do your part in highlighting the related products on your brand’s range of products.
Some small home appliances to showcase to help your customers to stay healthy could be humidifiers, vacuum cleaners, hand vacuums, powerful and functional kitchen appliances like juicers, and instant pots.
Some home entertainment products to keep your customers mentally active could be game consoles (ie. Playstation), music sets, games, TV sets.
Some products to help with productivity during the WFH period and home-education could be laptops, tablets, mouses, headsets, among others.
After identifying which products in your inventory best address such needs, there are several ways to highlight these categories and lead users gracefully into these products.
Insider’s Slider banners are a great help since they allow flexibility and take only a few minutes to implement. You can bring such products to the center of your website by adorning them with contextual and relevant content that speaks to the realities of your customers. Some great examples are from BestBuy and Newegg, some of the leading electronics emporiums.
Now is the time to be creative and come up with bundles to combine useful products.
Creating kits for Work From Home, home entertainment or continuing education from home is a great way to grab the attention of your customers.
With Insider’s InStory you can greatly increase the engagement across your site. Inspired by the visual powerhouses Instagram and Snapchat, Insider’s InStory is a full-screen, vertical messaging format that provides an immersive and fresh experience for web visitors. It harnesses the power of stories and facilitates product discovery. Any kind of familiar and convenient methods to better serve your customers can be an engaging way to direct your users’ attention to these spot-on bundles. With InStory, you can create infinite personalized stories for your website at scale.
It is of utmost importance to be transparent to your customers about any disruptions on business. Sharing the current state of your business continuity with your users is important for driving loyalty and trust. When you explain your reasons from a sensitive angle, trust that your customers will understand and sympathize with your decision.
See the example from Amazon below. Who can argue against prioritizing the vital needs during this period?
Similarly, you may feel the need to shift your priorities toward the shipping of health or hygiene-related appliances.
Following in the spirit of the previous strategy, you need to also share with your customers how you are reacting to the outbreak—the measures you are taking for your teams, customers and the continuity of operations. A heartfelt but short message detailing the measures you’re taking, or a sincere letter from the CEO goes a long way in showing that you care about your customers.
As many of your customers won’t be leaving their homes and will be reluctant to get packages from others for precautionary reasons, it is ideal to come up with non-contact delivery options and highlight them on your site with banners.
Seeing how you create alternatives for the safety of your customers is an important step in building a relationship of trust.
In such times of quarantine, troubleshooting and technical help services gain importance. These types of services should be personalized or automatized to a certain extent. And your technical support team should be reachable since your customers won’t be able to get out of their homes to get their appliances fixed. And you may see an increased demand for such services since most home appliances will likely be used much more than usual in this period.
In that vein, following up on your customers in a personalized way and reaching out to them will make your brand stand out. If, let’s say, a customer has bought a TV set 2 weeks ago, you can highlight your after sales services by sending them automated emails powered by Insider’s AI-backed technology. You can also greatly benefit from Insider’s workflow automation tool Architect and create omnichannel journeys where you do not need to worry about anything to initiate conversations.
Increased demand in certain categories, challenges in production, and delays caused by limitations in the workforce and global mobility make it difficult to manage stock challenges. If not handled well, these challenges may lead to customer dissatisfaction and have negative effects in the long run.
In the case of supply chain problems, promoting and highlighting available products is a good idea, rather than emphasizing out of stock products. But, you may still come across a high demand for out-of-stock products. It is especially important to master the communication of such cases during these times. We are going through a period of heightened online activity, where the engagement between brands and customers are increasing, and first-time users have the potential to become loyal customers. With personalized notifications you can keep your customers updated on their preferred products and initiate loveable digital experiences.
You can also leverage Insider’s Smart Recommender product which allows you to recommend related products to your customers if a product is out of stock and you can offer a similar product. Powered by both artificial intelligence (AI) and personalization, Smart Recommenders helps in converting new users into buyers.
These steps are especially important for post-COVID times (yes they will come one day), and establishing a trust-based relationship with your customers now, can help you win them over the long run and add value to your brand. Although the post-COVID period may not be your first priority, now is the time to think about ways to sustain these engagements.
You may find that the best way to drive conversions is to make offers your customers cannot refuse. You can consider offering promotions such as free shipping, extended warranty, free returns among many others. If you offer such deals, make them easy to find and see. Even a customer who is completely new to online shopping should be able to notice such convenient offers. Keep in mind that these lockdowns are bound to increase the number of online shoppers. So you need to broaden your audience and count on the first time visitors as you strategize your actions.
Like every industry, electronics too has been affected by the outbreak. However, there is much more to do while adapting to the circumstances and navigating through these rough times. We provided you with proven strategies and explored various angles to tackle these uncertain times. In whichever way you decide to proceed in the light of the unfolding events, always keep in mind the importance of personalized, relevant and timely connections with your customers.
To learn more about how Insider can help your business during the crisis with continuity and growth reach out to us and we’ll schedule a personalized demo with one of our digital growth experts.
Responsible for running the Australia and NZ business for Insider. Triple digit growth dictates hiring exceptional talent and building a team culture that is focused on hyper growth and creating value based enterprise client outcomes. We have a compelling GTM and we are helping our clients to achieve significant competitive advantage. We are changing the value game for our clients and we are having fun as we go!