3 Ways Retail Brands Have Adapted to Consumers’ New Buying Behaviors

Beyond Traditional|Retail Marketing|Thought Leadership|Trends|

A month into Q3, businesses and clients at every level are looking for any silver lining from the COVID-19 pandemic. 23 years after Apple’s iconic “Think Different” campaign, many companies have taken the initiative to push far beyond business as usual to connect, create and communicate. For retailers in particular, that upside is the need to break down the wall (admit it, we marketers often put on quite a show!) and talk directly to the audience. Here are three excellent examples of how two retailers, and their agencies, have adapted their business models for the post-pandemic consumer:

Virtual Shopper Program – Tanger Outlets

Tanger Outlets embraced a major technology shift, with the help of our team here at infinitee, to meet their shoppers’ needs during and after the COVID-19 quarantine. In a first-of-its-kind offering from an outlet retailer, Tanger rolled out its exclusive Virtual Shopper program to give at-home consumers access to onsite stylists. After filling out a quick form (which even supports inspiration images), this program enables anyone, anywhere, to shop for new styles (and at great savings!) across the entire Tanger Outlets portfolio of designer  brands — instead of limiting them to the nearest brick-and-mortar shopping center. A team of Virtual Shoppers pulls the chosen merchandise and customers can then decide to pick up their purchases curbside or have them delivered. 

This extension of the company’s customer service focus fortified their relationships with existing shoppers and paved the path to brand loyalty with the digitally-native generations. As referenced in the AD AGE NEXT: RETAIL webinar, in-store shopping is expected to decrease by 14% in 2020. With this cutting edge virtual program, Tanger Outlets has leveled-up with customers who demand personalized experiences. For in-person guests, Tanger has also revamped its website with tips and tools to stay safe and shop easily. From updated hours and face mask requirements to virtual store maps and listings, planning a trip is seamless. In many locations, shoppers can call their favorite brands, complete purchases over the phone, and swing by their Center for curbside pickup.

“Express Car Buying” — Benzel-Busch Dealership

This New York-New Jersey auto dealership turned luxury car shopping into a couch sport with their “Express Car Buying” program. With the help of New Jersey-based agency, Looney, Benzel-Busch upended the car-buying market with the industry’s first fully-digital showroom, virtual concierge assistance, and online-only payment process. With a few easy clicks, buyers can shop the full Benzel-Busch inventory of vehicles. Shoppers can also customize their ultimate dream car and the concierge service will locate it for them. The online-shopping program also provides hassle-free, best-available pricing, as well as instant cash offers for trade-ins without visiting the dealership, and personal assistance for financing and leasing. Lastly, customers choose to pick up their new car or have it delivered directly to their house.

In their effort to “Crush COVID, One Car at a Time”, the dealership also took luxury detailing to a whole new level. Touted as the industry’s first, the Benzel-Busch 360º Sanitize team (for new and used cars, and those scheduled for maintenance) uses a non-toxic steamer and ozone treatment fogger to eliminate 99.9% of germs, bacteria and viruses. They also replace the vehicle’s HEPA filters then seal off the car for a deep clean that lasts for up to six months.

Socially-Distanced Photo Shoots – Tanger Outlets

Finally, let’s take a quick behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to shoot a direct mail magazine while keeping everyone on-set safe, healthy and socially-distanced. Yep, you read that right — yours truly (the infinitee team), with major prep work from Atlanta-based Amanda Bertany Productions — shot Tanger Outlets’ TangerStyle Fall 2020 magazine from six feet away. Here are just a few of the innovative solutions we used to keep the cast, crew and cameras rolling:

  • Casting chosen from remote card submission 
  • On-set EMT held temperature checks upon arrival and departure
  • Masks and hand sanitizer provided for every person on-set
  • Live stream feeds for remote approvals by agency partners and clients
  • Required hand-washing breaks
  • Individually wrapped and sealed meals for every person
  • Deep cleaning protocols before and after the shoot
  • Patience and positive attitudes all around

And here are a few more recommendations for any creative teams currently prepping for upcoming productions:

  • Require group casts to quarantine together — consider choosing real families, couples and friends
  • Bring a separate, sealed change of clothes for anyone taking public transportation
  • Clean all rented wardrobe before and after use — dry-cleaning, steaming or UVC light exposure are highly effective

While the COVID-19 outbreak is something we just have to work through, we’re excited by the solutions, processes and procedures being developed that help us to continually meet deadlines and exceed client expectations. At infinitee, pushing our clients to the forefront of their industries is our top priority. Need a team to help you figure out your post-pandemic strategy? Email Vince — he’ll rally the troops and we’ll make it happen for you!


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