20 Jul 2020

High Street stories: agile retail campaigns are conquering the new normal

Most of the UK’s high street stores have reopened – with headlines featuring scenes of shoppers desperate to spend their pent-up cash. Judging by recent news footage, most of us are still as keen as ever to get value for money (Primark) and comfort (Nike Town).

One of the other high street winners has been Zara, which had long queues outside its stores across the country the minute retail stores opened again. Zara has long had a loyal following for its ability to recreate high-end clothing looks at affordable prices (fashion-conscious readers may remember THAT midi dress that sold out everywhere last summer). Like many retailers, Zara suffered losses in Q1, but online sales were up 95% in April[1] and the company has been praised by commentators for its resilience in the current crisis.

As a marketer I’m always on the lookout for inspiring campaigns, and Zara’s Summer 2020 advertising is a brilliant example of agile, innovative marketing.

Adapting to travel restrictions and social distancing, the brand sent clothing samples to models to take their own photographs. Their pictures struck a chord with consumers, who felt closer affinity with the models seen at home, without hair and makeup during lockdown – this, after all, is life as we know it now! Zara has had the confidence to break from the norm and experiment, resulting in a fresh, relevant campaign which has made its competitors’ advertising look staid and out-of-date.

This is marketing at its best: understanding customers’ needs and behaviours while adapting quickly to new circumstances.

Zara’s owner, Inditex – the world’s largest apparel retailer – is shaking up its business model in response to the crisis and has pledged to invest $1 billion in online shopping platforms. This will result in the eventual closure of 1,200 high-street stores worldwide, but it is part of a long-term strategy to invest in digital and align with changing consumer habits.

We’ve seen some fantastic examples of resilience and agility in the construction industry. The RMI sector is, in the main, back up and running, and sales for many companies are booming.

Those that are doing well (and a number of MRA Marketing’s customers report year-on-year sales well ahead of 2019) have been quick to adapt by modifying manufacturing and logistics processes while switching the sales focus to virtual meetings and reaching out to customers remotely via video marketing and social media.

The world has changed – the most successful companies have changed with it.

[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52991009#:~:text=Inditex%2C%20the%20owner%20of%20Zara,up%20from%2014%25%20in%202019.

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