Almost all retail and luxury brands have been significantly impacted because of Covid-19.
Naturally, bricks and mortar retailers have taken the biggest hit, but even those online sectors which are booming (think grocery and health and well-being) have been affected as they think about how to realign their businesses to keep apace with shifting consumer needs and concerns.
During this period of rapid change, many marketing budgets have been slashed and retailers are seeking new ways to drive revenue and growth, with little appetite for risk, which is why we’re seeing retailers across the globe ramp up their partnership and influencer programmes.
Partnerships happen when enterprises align themselves with other businesses or individuals that already have a trusted relationship with consumers. Whether it’s a brand to brand partnership, an affiliate program, a social influencer partnership or even a charity partner, retailers can leverage existing brand equity and reach a new built-in set of consumers. For example, an online fashion brand can partner with influencers to drive sales of their new sportswear range or a tech retailer can partner with bloggers in the gaming community to produce content about their latest headphones or keyboards.
For Asian retailers eager to find new ways to drive growth, here are the top three reasons to embrace or expand partnership programs in 2020:
Reach an expanded audience
For brands who have recently shifted to a 100-per-cent online model, or for those pure-play online retailers that have suddenly got more competition, now may be a time to double down with your referral partners to take advantage of the increased awareness and engagement they are receiving from people spending more time at home on their digital devices.
It’s also a good time to get creative with your thinking as consumers need that extra bit of motivation to spend. Consider forging new partnerships with verticals that may be more active, such as entertainment and streaming services, delivery apps, remote fitness, or health products to offer discounts, loyalty rewards, and incentive perks.
In a bear market, marketing budgets are even more under scrutiny which means the ability to track ROI is paramount. Display advertising is increasingly hard to attribute given the steady demise of third party cookies, so now is a good time to optimise spend on direct, performance-based relationships. Put simply, partnerships bring cash in the door.
Increased mobile commerce
We already know that Asia is a mobile-first, and often mobile-only, market but now everyone is at home all day and on their phones. Everyone. In fact, new research from Bain (in conjunction with Facebook) shows us that 85 per cent of all digital consumers in Southeast Asia report they have tried a new app since the start of this year. Apps account for more than 70 per cent of mobile sales and generate three times the conversion rate of mobile web for their owners, so there is a great deal of potential upside for retail brands who seek out app-based referral partners.
At Impact, we have over 10 years’ experience helping retail brands like Decathlon, Lenovo, Love, Bonito and gaming lifestyle brand Razer manage and expand their partnership programs. Register for Impact Growth, our virtual partnership summit to hear how modern partnerships are transforming the way businesses work together to succeed in today’s community-based consumer ecosystem.
Antoine Gross, right, is GM, Southeast Asia at Impact