Inventory shortfalls continually plague businesses today. The pandemic spurred many global supply chain issues, which have left businesses to overcome many empty shelves and keep customers patient throughout the process. However, many companies navigated the issues by adjusting customer expectations through marketing. Proper communication and avoiding campaigns to push demand keep sales at a manageable level while still growing your brand.
The supply chain likely won't fix itself anytime soon. Retailers like H&M in Europe or Nike in the United States have had issues due to factory closures and delivery delays, which caused months of production backlog. And as dreadful as that sounds, it's crucial to resist the temptation to cut back on advertising costs. Doing so does more harm than good, as it damages your brand standing instead of bolstering it for improved times. You can overcome these issues by altering your advertising to highlight your company values and identity, during periods of low inventory.
People look to your values and corporate social responsibility as well when purchasing. Of those people, 71% of consumers prefer buying from brands that align with their values, and 84% believe it's vital that a company supports charitable causes. Businesses who soften the impact of unexpected issues like inventory shortages tend to thrive much better than their competition, as it makes them resilient and sturdier companies.
Here we'll go over how to advertise with low inventory to build your brand over the long run.
Why You Shouldn't Stop Advertising
It's tempting to stop advertising when you have little inventory. The problem is that when you do, you let your previous efforts expire as people lose awareness of your brand. It negatively impacts your efforts by staying out of customers' minds for too long.
The last thing you want is for people to forget about you, as 71% of consumers won't purchase unless it's a recognized brand. Even potential investors feel the same way, with 82% confirming that name recognition plays an integral part in their investment decisions.
Fortunately, building your brand without pushing sales is well within your wheelhouse. All it requires is a simple adjustment of your marketing, or a shift in your messaging. For instance, you can lower the frequency of advertising and adjust your campaign message to help maintain awareness.
Build Brand Awareness Campaigns
Brand awareness refers to your brand's level of recall and recognition among consumers when mentioning your industry or type of product or service. People automatically think of Coca-Cola when talking about soft drinks, for instance. Or tissues are synonymous with 'Kleenex,' regardless of whether they're Kleenex brand. Launching campaigns centered on building that presence and awareness develops your customer's impression of who you are, making it more likely that they will impulsively purchase your goods.
A brand awareness campaign differs from a sales-based campaign because it doesn't aim to get customers to purchase. Instead, its goal is to build or strengthen their connection to your brand. That may sound counterintuitive, as don't all businesses want to make sales? But brand awareness helps establish your credibility among potential customers, building loyalty among your existing customers to keep your current customers coming back. That way, you increase the likelihood of repeat business, instead of earning many, one-off customers. It's easier to manage the amount of inventory for your core clientele rather than buying extra inventory for potential customers.
To conduct a brand awareness campaign, focus the ad messaging on your credibility and value instead of products or sales promotions. For example, if social media is one of your campaign marketing tactics, you should focus mainly on interacting and responding to followers, and improving your reach to new users ultimately creating strong brand awareness. For sales-based campaigns, you would give more focus on directing your followers to new products and deals, letting them know about specific promotions and offers.
Adjust Messaging on Supplemental Channels
In addition to adjusting your ad campaign, you should adjust your messaging to subtly alert interested customers to inventory issues or even use it as a selling point. You can use your marketing email subject lines to highlight low inventory, encouraging people to buy quickly to secure sales when you need them. Alternatively, you can add notes on your website to explain that delivery times may be longer and ask customers to be patient.
Both scenarios help turn a drawback into a selling point. People have an intense need to be a part of something others are interested in, and when they hear there's a shortage, they're likely to make a purchase. Of Millennials alone, at least 69% experience FOMO (fear of missing out), and you can leverage that to your marketing benefit.
When paired with proactive customer service, you can gain more loyalty because customers feel how much you care about their business. They appreciate you taking the time to kindly inform them about the shortage and potential delays so it doesn't crush their expectations when they need to wait an extra week or two before their purchase arrives.
Maintaining Customer Connection Helps Manage Inventory Shortfalls
Maintaining a presence with customers helps you weather inventory shortfalls by giving you leverage until you advertise more regularly. More sales are always an important goal, but focusing only on them doesn't help you build a lasting brand. Building an identity humanizes your company and gives it something for returning customers to connect with personally.
Brand awareness campaigns are essential investments alongside standard campaigns, and are a fantastic option for maintaining advertising without pushing sales. While they require some nuance to launch, you can ease some of the difficulty by working with an experienced media partner. They have the expertise to help you reach your target audience and develop deeper customer connections to continue your company growth.