How U.S. companies are announcing their response to the COVID-19 crises.
Amid the global pandemic, society, the economy, and the way we conduct business are changing before our eyes. To stay relevant, businesses must adapt their messaging around the current COVID-19 pandemic.
These days, purchases have shifted from discretionary to necessity. People are doing new things, and they’re doing them online. More than ever, people are turning towards online shopping. For this reason, as a business, it has never been more critical to optimize your banners and notifications to inform customers of how you’re responding to the crisis, and how you’re supporting your customers.
While the majority of websites have now incorporated some messaging related to the pandemic, there are a few that stand out as leaders in how to use announcement banners and notifications effectively.
Casper’s use of banners is diverse and impeccably executed. At first glance, it appears there isn’t much about COVID-19 on the site at all. In fact, the banner at the top of the site is a carousel that opens with a site-wide discount code. If you scroll, you’ll find this:
The copy used in the banner is impactful because it feels personal. As a consumer, Casper has made these changes to keep “you” safe; how nice of them.
If you click through the CTA, you’ll see a landing page with stellar copy and what is arguably Casper’s best banner yet:
The placement of the banner at eye level with its contrasting blues invite your gaze, and scroll, to pause. And the copy? Here, Casper nailed it. It hits you right in the gut. There are people out there doing heroic things for all of us. And yes, they certainly deserve an extra discount and an incredible night’s sleep. This one-two punch with perfectly executed banner placement and emotive copy helps convert a casual browser into a potential customer, which is the goal, of course.
Back on the homepage, integrated seamlessly into the site is a section beginning with, “Free, no-contact delivery*.” The tweak in copy from what was, presumably, “Free delivery” alludes to the fact that they’ve adjusted their delivery policy in compliance with the pandemic’s safety requirements, and they’ve announced it in a very subtle, on-brand way.
Finally, the main section of Casper’s homepage implies COVID-19, without ever mentioning it.
We are all home much more than ever before, and Casper capitalizes on that with this offer while remaining sensitive to the situation. Casper expertly crafts an on-brand message, that is connected to current events, and provides a discount to their customers without ever seeming like they’re taking advantage of a global pandemic, and that is marketing at its finest.
Consumers may only think of PayPal as a way to split the check with their friends, but PayPal is much more than that. Namely, it provides tools and even financing to millions of businesses, many of whom are currently reeling from the loss of revenue. Their response to the pandemic can make or break a small business’s ability to survive this crisis.
While overall PayPal’s response to the pandemic is exemplary, it wouldn’t appear that way at first glance. Interestingly, the lead photo on the homepage is tone-deaf in light of social distancing measures in place currently across the globe. Depicting friends sharing coffee in a public space in such close quarters seems to be a careless use of a stock photo. At first glance, the site appears out of touch with the pandemic but is redeemed by the banner below it.
Not only does your eye naturally pause on it, due to its placement and use of contrasting color from the darker images above, but also the copy leaves little to be desired. It’s human: “us” and “you.” It’s informative. It strikes an approachable, sensitive, yet business forward tone. It’s very well done.
Better still is the landing page you’re directed to if you’re looking for support for your small business:
From the simple heart to the incredible copy, to the plethora of support offered by PayPal to its small business customers, this page is so well executed. As a small business owner reading this page, you feel supported, seen, and empowered to take action to keep your business running.
When it comes to the pandemic, arguably, the most widely used essential service is grocery stores, and Whole Foods has curated a website that remains on-brand while also answering any question or concern their shoppers may have.
Upon opening Whole Food’s page, you’ll find the main section looks like this:
The white text box is overlaying colorful photos of real employees in their stores. The copy, “We’re here for you.” coupled with the photos, makes it feel personal. These are real people who go to work every day to ensure you’re able to get your groceries and feed your family. The text updates visitors that changes are being made and your experience in their stores are still important.
The CTA of “Find your store” inspires an action that converts into dollars. They could easily have used “Learn more”; it would be a natural fit with the copy, but learning more doesn’t convert to sales. Finding your store and purchasing from it, in person or online, does.
For those interested in learning more about which specific measures Whole Foods is taking, there is a banner just above this section.
Aesthetically, it’s a clean banner in brand colors that still manages to catch your eye due to its placement. The message is consistent: Whole Foods is caring for its staff and its customers, and it invites you to learn more about the specific actions the chain is taking.
It’s worth noting that in the top menu portion of Whole Foods’ site, they give COVID-19 updates equal importance to their store locator and weekly sales.
Not to be outdone by its subsidiary, Amazon features the most COVID-19 coverage by far. The site will look a bit different depending on if you’re logged in as a Prime member or not, but generally, the look is similar, and it’s very COVID-19 heavy. Almost all of the coverage above the fold is dedicated to it.
The very top of the website features a very eye-catching banner:
It’s arguably a little clunky, visually. The background is a color that’s not repeated throughout the site, and it’s very text-heavy. However, it does its job. It makes a consumer pause and pay attention. Even a cursory look informs of the subject, and, if interested, you can read on to the smaller text to the right. Interestingly, there is no CTA. Instead, it instructs you to learn more on another page entirely, and while the whole banner is a hyperlink, that isn’t immediately clear.
The sections below the carousel are all in response to the pandemic, with most clearly stating their connection. Immediately, an Amazon shopper sees a masked Amazon employee handling packages –– humanizing the massive company that has a history of being criticized for the treatment of its employees. The CTA here is uninspired; we consumers don’t need to see the URL they’re sending us to.
Next, you’re offered something for free. Implicitly, this is because of all the extra time families are spending together, and Amazon is sending the message that they’re doing something nice for you. And truthfully, it’s a great offering. The call to action is perfect.
The third box invites customers to Donate to the COVID-19 response, with an image of a food bank. While the photo may catch your eye, the CTA feels like an afterthought. Learn more, while often appropriate, isn’t fitting here. There are endless, more inspiring options available to use.
Nonetheless, “Learn more” leads you to a landing page that allows you to donate to several charities.
The page feels as though it was thrown together haphazardly, but clicking through allows you to donate using your Amazon account, thereby making it a frictionless process to help the cause.
Make it Your Own
These four businesses have approached the pandemic, and their websites’ response to it, in very different manners, and each is effective in their way. Casper stands out due to its subtle inclusion on the homepage leading to a stellar landing page and banners. PayPal starts slow but finishes strong with an effective homepage banner and perfectly executed landing page. Whole Foods’ site is nearly entirely COVID-19 related, but in a human-centric way that makes customers feel comfortable with their grocer’s response to the pandemic. Finally, Amazon features the most coverage, which is arguably the least effective, or minimally the least curated. Perhaps the lesson here is that more is not better.
Whatever tone you are looking to strike on your website, these four businesses provide a roadmap of how you can achieve it. Whichever path you choose, you must demonstrate your business’ agility, especially during the pandemic.
Utilizing the space on your website to inform customers of the latest has never been more critical. Whether for a promotion or a pandemic, it’s crucial that you can update the information on your banners with ease. With easy to update, customized banners, newclick.io can help keep your site up to date, whatever the situation.