COVID-19 Marketing Strategies for Food and Beverage Brands

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Overview

While the coronavirus impacted how consumers are shopping, food and beverage brands are one of the most affected industries. With bulk shopping for stocking up, high demand for delivery, and disruptions in supply chains, your food and beverage brand has most likely had quite a change over the last few months. This guide will walk you through how to use your Klaviyo account to continue to engage with your customers, build your brand, and give pertinent information to your audience, incentivizing them to buy.

No time to read? Check out the webinar below for a walkthrough of best practices around COVID-19 for food and beverage brands with one of Klaviyo's Onboarding Specialists.

 

Touch Up Your Ecommerce Site

Before diving into Klaviyo features, let’s take a step back and mention what to include on your site. To start, if you have any issues with shipping or fulfillment, let your customers know with a banner on every page of your site in order to set expectations. Fulfillment issues will likely not deter someone from purchasing so long as you welcome them into your brand and make them feel a part of your community. Conversely, if you do not have shipping or fulfillment issues, you should also have a banner onsite to let customers know that they will not have to experience delays with their orders.

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Likewise, if you have physical locations, make sure that customers know whether or not your locations are open. If your physical location is not open, consider adding a virtual tour online and putting up a way for passersby to subscribe to your marketing from the window of your store. For more information, head to our Guide to Pivoting Your Product Offering.

On your homepage, be sure to feature your most popular products. In particular, highlight items that can help make at home feel more comfortable or making having a meal at home feel like an occasion.

After you’ve prepared your site, let’s explore how you can get the most out of your Klaviyo account.

Segments to Build

Segmentation is key for targeting a group with personalized and pertinent information. While you should have a handful of segments that you send to regularly (e.g., engaged, unengaged, VIP), let’s dive into a few segments to build to enhance your messaging amidst the coronavirus.

By Location

Your customers will have different needs based on their locations. If they’re renters who live in a large city, they may have vastly different motivations to purchase than customers who own a home in a rural area. Let’s highlight how you would target these customers differently.

City-Dwellers

Many city-dwellers don't have access to their regular purchases at their local grocery stores. Additionally, large cities are likely to be those hit hardest by the coronavirus, so you’ll want to be especially careful with your tone for this group. To target them with relevant content, start by creating a segment of customers who live in big cities.

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With this group, send information about buying items in bulk or from your subscription service. You can also highlight how your facilities are cleaned to keep these customers safe.

Local Customers

Likewise, you’ll want to keep your local customers up to date with specifics around how coronavirus is impacting your physical locations and options they may have to shop (e.g., curbside pickup, delivery, online-only, etc.). Create a segment of shoppers within a certain radius of your store.

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Behavioral Information

Next, let’s look at how to use behavior information that you have in Klaviyo to create relevant segments.

Subscription-Based

If your business offers subscription services that are still functional, you can target customers encouraging them to sign up for your subscription services in a few ways. First, you can create a segment of customers who have purchased from your store but do not have a subscription.

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With this group, you can target them with on-site content that promotes the benefits of subscribing for regular deliveries rather than one-off purchases.

Second, you can target customers who are still engaged with your brand but have either cancelled their subscription in the past or have never started a subscription. 

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In addition to your winback flow, you can target this group on social media to encourage them to come back to your brand.

Lastly, you can create a segment of coronavirus shoppers. Because these are new customers who might not know about the benefits of your subscription program, you can give them educational information about your subscription service.

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Abandoned Cart/Browse Abandonment

Abandoning a cart or browse indicates that a customer is interested in purchasing from your brand, but may have been distracted before they could complete the purchase. In addition to an abandoned cart or browse abandonment flow, create a segment based around their behavior to target them in other channels, such as social media or on-site forms.

This first segment is the abandoned cart segment. This group will consist of people who have started a checkout in the last five days but did not purchase.

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Likewise, the segment below is those who have browsed your site but have not purchased.

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With these segments, you can target them in a flow, on social media, or with an on-site popup that we’ll highlight in the section on signup forms. Head to our Guide to Creating an Abandoned Cart Flow for a deep dive into your abandoned cart flow.

Food Preference

You can also create a segment around someone's preference information.

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You can gather this information both with a Klaviyo signup form or in your emails. You can then either create content promoting their favorite items or cross-sell to encourage them to branch out and try a new product.

Lifetime-Value Segments

Lastly, you can segment based on customer lifetime value (CLV). With these segments, you can target high-CLV customers with your new items or your VIP collection and low-CLV customers with your sales and clearance items. Head to our Best Practices for Using Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) Data for more information.

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Signup Forms to Personalize the On-Site Experience

Signup forms are a great way to get browsers to subscribe to your marketing. In addition, they are a perfect way to personalize the on-site experience for both new shoppers and your longtime brand enthusiasts alike. Let’s use the segments we created above to create optimal experiences for browsers.

Abandoned Cart/Browse Abandonment

After you’ve created an abandoned cart or browse abandonment segment, follow up with an on-site notification in addition to your reminder flows.

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If you have a split or certain email in your flow that offers a discount, you advertise only to the people who received the communication on your form by assigning an associated profile property within the flow and creating a segment around the property.

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Targeted Offers

If you want to promote your subscription services to the segments that you created in the above section, you can target those customers with on-site content that can either give them an offer or give information about your program to encourage them to buy.

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Likewise, to your local segment, you can encourage them to sign up to receive SMS and MMS messages that will keep them in the know about your physical locations or to receive transactional text messages about their orders.

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Using Forms for Acquisition

It's paramount to stand out among the crowd. An easy way to do that is to cultivate your on-site experience for your customers. If you offer a sampler pack, this may be an easy way to get your customers to convert. 

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Gathering preference information is another simple way to target customers with the products they are interested in. With food especially, you can consider asking for preference or allergy information.

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You can use this information to either create a buying guide with a flow or to show different information in emails based on their preferences. 

Campaigns to Send 

While the current events are anything but normal, you should not alter your regular sending cadence. It’s important to continue sending regularly to your customer base to maintain strong email deliverability. To adjust to the new normal, alter your messaging and how you market your products to ensure you’re not being insensitive or out of touch. Head to our blog post on How to Communicate With Empathy During the Coronavirus Crisis.

Be Human in Your Marketing

Because someone cannot stroll into your physical location or try your products before buying, it’s important to stand out by showing off what makes your brand unique. While there are many different ways that you can do this, let’s explore a few that are easy to implement in your next newsletter campaign.

Charity Efforts

This is a great time to show solidarity with people who are suffering as a result of COVID-19. If your brand is giving back, you should highlight your efforts and encourage your customers to get involved.

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Education-Based

Because your customer might be trying your products for the first time or looking for something new, send a campaign to share instructions on how to use your products (if applicable), links to how your items are produced, or opportunities to win a cooking or cocktail class with one of your chefs.

Highlight Your Employees

In addition to promoting your products, highlight the people behind your brand. This includes everyone from manufacturing to marketing. Introduce your employees and show that they work hard to ensure your customers have a stellar experience.

Virtual Tour

Setting up a virtual tour of your physical store, kitchens, or office space is a great way to give your customers a behind-the-scenes look at your brand. As most offices are currently vacant, this may be a unique opportunity to show off a clean workspace.

Community-Focused

If your local (neighborhood, city, state, etc.) community is a big part of your brand or if you have a restaurant/bar or sell in local grocery stores, send a special campaign to your local customers keeping them up to date on your hours, food and drink availability, and how people can support your business during this time.

For other ideas, head to our Guide to Moving From a Brick and Mortar to Ecommerce Business.

Activities

A fun way to promote a sale or tease a feature release is to have an activity in your email that customers can complete for exclusive access. Connect-the-dots, word searches, crossword puzzles, and mazes are all fun activities that you can give to your customers. Encourage them to post their finished product on social media with a special hashtag to spread awareness of your brand across channels.

Flows to Touch Up

While there are not any specific coronavirus flows, it may be a good time to touch up your essential flows to ensure the content that you’re giving to your customers is relevant and not tone-deaf. Below are some suggestions for what you can do to make sure your flows are successful.

  • Do not advertise in-store offerings
  • Set delivery expectations and highlight your return policy
  • Show your best bulk buying options, rather than all-time bestsellers 
  • Showcase your brand story and community
  • Remove copywriting around going out and interacting with others

An easy way to have an alternate COVID-19 flow without creating a whole new flow is to set up a conditional split with 100% of your customers going down the coronavirus messaging for now. Set a reminder a few weeks or months out so you can change it back to the original content when business returns to normal.

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Important flows to revisit are:

Analyze Your Results

After you’ve done the hard work of making sure that your brand is set up to drive sales and give people essential food and beverages during this time, analyze your data to know how your marketing is performing. Once you shift your messaging to reflect the global impact of coronavirus, be sure to analyze your results. Ask yourself:

  • How are campaigns and flows performing with this new messaging?
  • Are sales lower or higher amid the pandemic?
  • What information have I gathered from customers? How will I use it going forward?

Keep track of deliverability metrics, such as open, click, spam, and bounce rates, that affect your sender reputation, as well as how much revenue you gain from each owned channel.

According to data pulled from Klaviyo, open and click rates are on the rise across food and beverage brands.

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If you're looking to grow your brand, A/B test your campaigns and flows, check out your form performance, and understand how your sales perform from a bird’s eye view. By staying up to date and monitoring your analytics, you won’t need to wonder about the state of your business during these uncertain times. Rather, you will make data-driven decisions to build your brand and own your growth.

Guidelines for After the Coronavirus

Once stay-at-home orders start to lift and life returns to normal, you can take the insights you’ve gained and customers you’ve acquired to continue growing your brand. To prepare for life after the coronavirus, utilize the following best practices for communicating with customers:

  • Keep Customers Informed
    Give customers a heads up if and when any brick-and-mortar stores re-open, when items are back-in-stock, when shipping is back to normal, and any important company information. Maintain a supportive tone even if your content shifts away from the virus or stay-at-home activities, as the effects of the pandemic will likely linger and vary depending on where your customers live.
  • Keep Flows Relevant
    If you altered content to discuss the pandemic or to change the tone of your key flows, revert your flows back to their original content, or take a post-coronavirus tone in your flows.
  • Use New Information to Personalize Communication
    If you gained information about customers from forms or email, be sure to turn those insights into actionable marketing content going forward. You can create segments based on profile properties, recent pandemic shopping behavior, and more to then make more targeted content. For more information, head to our Guide to Email Personalization.

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