The FAQs of Marketing During a Recession

October 28, 2020

As a consignment shop owner, the last eight months have likely been some of the toughest times you have faced during your career. Whether your business suffered from confusing health guidelines, or a botched SBA loan process, it likely has been a troubling time, to say the least. 

This current change that society is going through will not be temporary. Many things must change to adapt to the new times. One area of your business that likely will need to be refreshed will be your marketing efforts.

In short, overhauling your marketing strategy will take time and effort, but must be done if you want to remain relevant throughout the rest of this pandemic. Here are some of the FAQs of marketing during a recession.

Should I Cut Spending?

The short answer is no.

Usually, when something goes awry, shop owners look to cut their spending. Typically, when businesses begin to cut costs, the marketing budget is the first to dry up. However, recent studies show that cutting advertising during a recession can cause more harm than good.

It can be difficult to justify spending money on marketing while you may be losing money for a few months, the thing that people forget about, especially when times get tough, is that marketing drives long-term relationships with consumers.

If all of a sudden a room is a lot less crowded, it is easier to stand out. This scenario holds true when it comes to business as well. If your competitors are like the majority of people, they have already cut their marketing budgets, paving the way for you to have the loudest voice in the room.

Do remember that you may not be able to keep the business afloat all by yourself. A business loan can help free up other money your business has so you can continue to spend on marketing, as well as your other departments. 

Take the time to think about both the long-term and short-term impacts that your decisions will have on the business. The best business owner is able to see both the benefits of quick wins as well as help the business work towards a bigger goal. When times get tough, so must you.

Where Are My Customers?

Right now, due to COVID-19, there are more people than ever at home using their computers, phones, and other connected devices. Experts estimate that data usage is up 47% from the time when the pandemic started. 

Most business owners are probably thinking, “I already have an effective marketing strategy.” While this may be true, the digital landscape has just become more crowded. It is harder than ever to stand out amongst the competition. You can no longer just post a fun Instagram graphic and expect to gain followers.

To have an effective digital marketing plan you must have a multi-faceted approach that uses multiple distribution channels to assist in delivering your message. To effectively reach your consumers, you must utilize all different disciplines of digital marketing.

A few recommended areas of your digital strategy to address are:


  • Search Engine Optimization. SEO has become one of the most important areas of marketing in the new digital environment. Marketing experts agree that 25-35% of people click on the first organic search result on a Google search. As more consumers move online, being listed on the first page of a Google search for consignment or clothes will matter more and more.
  • Social Media Marketing. The current climate of the world makes social media marketing one of the best channels to market through. Social media marketing is a cost-effective way to tell a story, connect with your audience, and show you care. There was a 7-minute increase in the average time adults spend on social media daily during the pandemic. Experts estimate that this pandemic boost will last until 2021, so now is the perfect time to get online.
  • Web Design and Optimization. With online shopping on the rise, having an optimized eCommerce website will be imperative to your success. Invest in optimizing your website and storefront to ensure your customers keep coming back. Luckily, SimpleConsign’s Shopify plugin allows you to easily transfer your in-store inventory onto a powerful online storefront. Meeting your customers where they want to shop will be extremely important as stay-at-home orders continue to be enforced.

What Should I Say?

The best thing that businesses can do right now is to show compassion, but also communicate the value that they add to the surrounding community by being in business. 

Consumers will want to see that you, as a business owner, care more about the wellbeing of the general public than the success of your business. Putting yourself on the backburner and focusing on being a compassionate member of the community you serve will go a long way with your marketing tactics. Building a more human relationship with your customers will help nurture a healthy relationship that may not benefit your store now, but it will in the future. 

While people are looking for compassionate emotional content right now, people are also beginning to feel pandemic fatigue. Everywhere you look, there is COVID-19 content. If you are struggling to deal with the pandemic, it can feel inescapable. 

As a business owner, show that you care about the issues going on around you, but also, continue to advertise as you would. Deliver content that showcases the value you provide as a consignment shop owner. In other words, show off what makes your business unique. 

If you just invested in a new POS software, tell your customers. Got some new awesome inventory? Post it on your social media accounts! 

At the end of the day, your business will serve as an escape for your customers. Be the light in their day by providing compassionate, excellent service, and the marketing messaging will write itself.

Dennis McCarson

Dennis is the Marketing Director at SimpleConsign, managing everything from advertisements and social media to email campaigns and this very website! When he is not hard at work he spends his spare time listening to records with his dog.