Waiting for the fast to be over. Trying not to picture a sweet date as the day wears on. Hearing the sound of breaking bread and passing the dishes around. Gathering with loved ones on a long table and feast on the well-deserved meal. Being woken up for suhoor by the echo of a drum on the street. Trying to stock up for the rest of the day before the dawn breaks.
This is the yearly trailer for the holy month of Ramadan—a celebrated and awaited time for Muslims worldwide. This year, like everything else, the scene will be much different. The communal spirit of the holy month will have to be replaced by a virtual one and the focus will be on immediate families who will stay together in their homes.
For you marketers, it will be a new movie this time. As believers try hard to practice willpower, you’ll go through a similar challenge—trying to be more resourceful and caring than ever to be there for your customers. And leverage the momentum of the month that culminates in Eid Al Fitr, a three-day celebration at the end of the Ramadan.
Ramadan in the COVID Era
Top 10 Strategies That eCommerce Marketers Must Know for Ramadan Campaigns
Ramadan begins around April 23rd this year. Generally, before and during the month of Ramadan, retail consumption surges. Families stock up their kitchens, buying each other gifts of all kinds. People book trips to be with their families, and travel to holy destinations like Mecca and cause what marketers call “the Ramadan Rush”. Many fill restaurants and cafes at night time, before starting fasting again. Yet this year, certain industries will be busier than others as lockdowns continue and get more widespread. Travel, hotel and restaurant industries, along with certain branches of the retail industry, will likely be hit hardest.
Whether your business is running slow or you expect a surge in traffic for Ramadan, there are things you should do to increase the visibility of your brand. Here are some best practices to prepare you for taking the best route in the midst of a crisis.
1- Iftar and Suhoor: Changing Peak Hours in Online Activity
There are two key activities that determine the flow of the day during Ramadan: Iftar and Suhoor. People break fast at iftar and eat their last meals during suhoor, a pre-dawn meal. Other than these two key moments, people abstain from eating and drinking water. Accordingly, the hours when they are most active change.
People tend to be most active after iftar and suhoor, after quenching their hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. These new patterns become the norm for the month. People will be unusually active during the early hours of the morning, right after they start their fast. Knowing the changes in these patterns and adapting campaign schedules accordingly is the least marketers could do.
Using a recurring push messaging technology like Insider’s, you can send timely and relevant push notifications during peak hours when your users are most active and likely to engage across digital channels.
2- Getting the Timing Right is Everything During Ramadan
In relation to changing patterns in online activity, there are major windows of opportunity to connect with your customers. Right after people break their fasts (iftar) or right when they eat and begin the fast (suhoor), you can send personalized push messages on related products and special offers. As this is the time when your customers are relaxed and energetic enough to browse online, their online activity will increase.
For grocery stores—it’s an opportune time to make your customers feel like you are there for them. Sending reminders for suhoor and goodwill messages after iftar can win over your customers’ hearts.
You also need to keep in mind that in certain geographies, businesses go into reduced hours during Ramadan. Managers of paid adverts, you do not want your valuable marketing budget to go in vain, right? So all your marketing strategies need to take into account around iftar and suhoor.
3- Showcasing Personalized Product Recommendations
In Ramadan things that are most sought after change significantly compared to the rest of the year. Find out about the best selling products with Insider’s AI-backed technologies. Leverage these top purchases and showcase trending products to guide your customers towards popular products. Discover Insider’s smart recommender. It helps your customers discover products that are in demand by recommending them during their purchase. You can showcase products that are trending or products that are mostly bought together.
4- Stand Out with Contextual and Gamified Promotions
Towards the end of the month, before entering Eid Al Fitr, it is a good idea to create promotions especially for personal care and fashion products, as the demand for these categories rises. Insider’s gamification products are a great way to differentiate your deals during the high-promotion season while entertaining your customers with fun and engaging widgets. Insider’s partners report that gamified coupon templates increase conversions significantly when compared to conventional discount widgets.
With Insider’s scratch coupon, you can trigger curiosity among visitors and encourage them to scratch the box to access their discount code.
5- Do Not Underestimate the Power of Bundles
Bundle up popular and traditional Ramadan products to ease stocking up for your customers. Traditional grocery products of Ramadan vary slightly according to regions but most common ones are dates, nuts, olive, calorie-rich and nutritious meals that are ideal for suhoor times. Bundling these products facilitates stocking up or even sending care packages to loved ones improving your Average Order Value (AOV). Find out more on how you can improve your AOV in our eBook here.
6- Gift Giving: A Compelling Aspect of Ramdan
During Ramadan, it is a common behavior to buy gifts for loved ones, as a celebration and souvenir of this spiritual period. People buy various products from jewelry and electronics to small appliances and textile products. For example, according to a 2020 Google report “online searches for kitchen appliances as gifts see an astonishing 2,782% spike in the MENA region.”
Using product discovery tools like Insider’s Maven, will help your customers find what they are looking for in a faster and more efficient way. Maven helps you ask the right questions to your users with the help of AI-based technologies, and takes them to their desired product faster. It delivers a convenient and personalized experience within minutes. You should leverage the power of gift-giving during this time where people are prone to sharing and gifting.
7– Relative and Powerful Content is the Greatest King/Queen
It’s not only activity times that change during Ramadan, but also mindsets and behaviors to a certain extent. Many people see this spiritually powerful period as an opportunity to stop or decrease bad habits. Well-being and health concerns take the front seat such as quitting smoking and weight loss, as eating at later hours and decreased physical activity challenge staying fit. In fact, “How to Lose Weight During Ramadan” has been the top 4 questions searched on Google during the past 3 years.
People also search for cooking videos and look for sumptuous iftar and suhoor recipes to motivate themselves. Brands can connect with their customers on relevant topics such as these.
Encourage your customers to start changing bad behaviors, inspire them to make healthy choices despite the challenges of fasting. Share trendy, practical and healthy recipes, give out promotional booklets including recipes or tips on forgoing bad habits and making healthy choices during suhoor.
8- It’s a Time of Giving to the Less Fortunate
Acts of charity and helping the less fortunate is one of the pillars of Ramadan. According to the Muslim religion, it is believed that those who give charity and commit acts of kindness receive increased blessings during the spiritual month.
Committing to social responsibility projects can be a meaningful strategy for your brand engagement. You can create campaigns of donating packages to NGOs. Setting up this donation journey in a mindful way can both be very effective in collecting donations and driving conversion on your site. You can design these journeys in such a way that, the moment your customers come to the check-out stage at the shopping cart, you make them pay an extra dollar or add certain products to their basket so you can send Ramadan packages in their stead. This final push would increase the impact of social responsibility. Especially during COVID-19, such donations become even more important and relevant. Your projects can guide your customers to donate easily.
9 – Pay Attention to Cultural Sensitivities in Your Ramadan Campaigns
Worldwide 93% of Muslims take part in the Ramadan fast (according to Pew Research), yet it is celebrated in different parts of the world and cultural nuances in all regions can vary. In order not to be offensive or be on the inappropriate side, make sure to get your campaigns checked and confirmed by locals.
10 – Time to Increase Brand Engagement with Value-Driven Messages for All Industries
No matter which industry you are from, staying still is the worst thing you can do during Ramadan, a high-opportunity time for all businesses. For those industries, who are hit the hardest, make sure you are remembered with a positive message by your users. There’s no limit to creativity, raising people’s spirits during these times. Connect with your users through meaningful and value-driven content and establish a strong brand image.
In this period, you need to connect with your audience across channels. A 2019 Google report shows that growth on social media surges in MENA. The mobile activity becomes #1 with people spending 147 minutes per day on average, chased by 113 minutes of TV per day. So think about creating campaigns for channels where your customers are already active and engaged.
Despite the hardships, it looks like Ramadan and all the other religious holidays came at the right time this year to brighten our spirits during uncertainties. With almost half the world in lockdown, Ramadan will be celebrated differently for sure, but the uplifting spirituality shall remain the same. As a marketer, there are many things you can do to show that you think about your customers during this important period and making the necessary adjustments to provide them with a convenient and delightful journey.
I am passionate about helping retailers and brands to acquire, understand, retain, reward and grow their customer base in e-commerce, hospitality, retail and service sectors. Working with CX and digital marketing strategies. Currently working with the worlds first integrated GMP - Growth Management Platform to manage all customer touch points with an AI powered unified data layer, creating a true single customer view.