Marketers Get Creative in Lockdown

  • By Seok Nam-jun

    September 05, 2020 08:16

    Businesses are having to come up with unusual marketing strategies to generate any income during the coronavirus crisis. From airlines waiving penalties for flight changes or cancelations to luxury fashion "launches" online, few have been spared a fundamental rethink.

    Air Busan has waived surcharges on up to two ticket changes on 16 international flights booked until Aug. 2. The budget carrier usually charges between W30,000 to W50,000 (US$1=W1,189). Jeju Air also waived surcharges on changed international bookings made in July.

    Luxury brands have swallowed their pride and gone online. Chanel started marketing products on Kakao Talk's gift section in July, including perfumes, hand creams and lotions.

    Staff of Galleria Department Store's gourmet food chain get ready to deliver orders in Seoul on Aug. 27. /Yonhap

    Upscale department stores are also entering uncharted waters. The premium food court at Galleria Department Store is offering delivery within the hour to customers living within a 1.5 km radius of the mall.

    Hyundai Department Store launched a home-delivery service for pre-prepared food. "We saw a 100-percent increase in orders after starting our delivery service two weeks ago," a Hyundai staffer said. "We also achieved more than 50 percent of our targeted deliveries."

    Industry watchers believe the pandemic has changed consumption patterns permanently.

    Businesses across the board are rewriting their operating manuals to adjust to the rapid changes. Lotte Department Store already started live sales broadcasts in December last year and has since boosted their number from once or twice a week to more than 40 a month.

    Kia tried an online talk-show format where car experts answered questions from consumers when it unveiled the fourth-generation Sorento SUV recently. And when it launched the fourth-generation Carnival minivan, it used virtual reality technology to let potential customers touch and feel the car.

    More than 150,000 people logged on to the online unveiling of the Carnival, and Kia intend to keep using the format even after the coronavirus pandemic ends.

    Suh Yong-gu at Sookmyung Women's University said, "Businesses now have to consider online services along with a declining population and low economic growth as the key trends shaping the economy and come up with matching sales strategies if they want to keep growing."

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