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3 successful online retail strategies to survive and thrive in 2020

25 June 2020

By Drew Smith

Drew is the Director of Product Strategy at Upp and focuses on how technology can help brands and retailers deliver what their customers want.

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In the current climate of online retail, you need innovative and resilient strategies so that your retail business can survive, thrive, and continue to a new era after the current crisis passes. In the meantime, to stay competitive you must adapt and adopt new strategies.

It’s a struggle, especially when there are so many ways you can optimise but you don’t know where to start. Your departments may be littered with out-of-focus or siloed data and using strategies that are not aligned with the overall business goals. Specifically, you could be handicapped by the following:

  • Metrics and goals that don’t drive overall business revenue and profit
  • Siloed departments, goals and data within the retail business
  • Lack of visibility of which products, campaigns and customers will drive success

You may understand those challenges but the notion that a problem well defined is a problem half solved gets you only halfway there. The rest of the journey is getting help in tackling these pain points and optimising a strategy.

While you focus on the core of your business, you can harness the power of automated intelligence to speed you along the road to success. You do that through combining your most critical business and marketing data to give your team actionable insights that drive those core business objectives.

You can get there from here by aligning your goals, utilising the vast amounts of data your business collects, finding ways to engage your customers, and optimising your online presence. Let’s dig deeper into those steps.

Step 1: Align your goals

Many retailers struggle to ensure they are reaching for the right goals, and this is due to poor internal communications and alignment. Departments frequently aim for different goals and that can negatively impact overall business objectives like profit and revenue. Often well-intentioned people can work at cross purposes. Turf and power struggles and the old adage that knowledge is power can build silos of data and divergent mission awareness.

As a leader and manager, you must ensure that your teams are not siloed. Ask around and determine whether there is a clear mission that everyone understands. Find those data silos and see how you can combine the good stuff and throw out the redundancies.

You can do that with the help of AI-driven software -- like Upp -- and you can then collate all data with an omnichannel approach and gain actionable insights on how to improve your online strategy. Software like this can ensure you’re aligned around the right business metrics to drive success - margin and revenue. For example, think about steps to take right now, such as reducing marketing spend on poor performing products and utilising that previously sheltered data.

Step 2: Utilise your data

The advantage of examining silos of data is that you can make better data-driven decisions. Your decisions can focus on:

  • Reducing costs
  • Evaluating your product lines
  • Streamlining processes

Each of these may have been long overdue as more urgent core business occupied your full attention. Whether your approach is centred on preserving or driving cash flow in the short term or plans to jumpstart everything when the economy lurches forward once more, data is the key to everything.

With realigned goals and with the help of AI software, you can gain visibility and quickly analyse, synthesise and adjust your strategy. This granular approach to data can help departments make better-informed decisions, but it is equally important to remember that these actions need to align with your overarching business goals — which retailers sometimes fail to do. Once you think of using data to your advantage in this way, it can help you make immediate improvements.

It’s vital to use your data in a way that generates the best results. You are collecting lots of data on your customers. Are you choosing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that drive both revenue and profitability? It’s hard to do both without true visibility of your margin on every SKU, which a platform like Upp can do instantly.

performance metrics driving the behaviour

Keeping your promises in an uncertain supply chain

You can further optimise your online presence by pushing the products that can absorb the volatility of the global supply chain. What products do you have now? Can they be shipped in a timely and cost-effective manner? Focus on selling surplus, easily shipped stock items and avoid breaking promises on high-demand products blocked in the supply chain. Also, if products are in positive margin, you should consider pushing those to channel and pausing spend on negative margin products, to ensure you’re giving customers what they want while also thinking about your overall profitability. 

Important note: Upp features SKU Level Google Shopping insights. This feature is not available on any other AI platform or on Google. It provides a granularity for retailers to provide clear visibility of their products. It ensures that you as an online retailer are promoting only the products your customers want to see and drive revenue and margin for the business. You can tweak sales and promotion campaigns accordingly.

Step 3: Optimise your online presence

With the number of platforms and devices people currently use to shop online, there’s no question of whether you should be utilising as many of these options as possible. You need to make it easy for customers to find you and the products they need. Here are some ways to optimise your online presence and give your customers what they want plus more: 

  • Partner up with influencers and well-known online brands through platforms like Instagram.
  • Get on the mobile bandwagon. Consumer mobile searches are increasing as they are comparing prices between you and your competitors.
  • Make sure your product presentations are a good fit for the platforms they land on. For example, Amazon and Google have different product entry fields to help searchers easily find what they are looking for.
  • Make sure the images and descriptions of your product are crystal clear and help consumers understand everything you are trying to sell them.
  • Encourage your customers to leave product reviews. Those reviews are the word-of-mouth advertising that is enormously valuable for future sales and new customers.

The real value of AI tools

Finally, if you want to optimise your online presence, you need to use AI tools to your advantage. That advantage translates into a better understanding of your customers and product uniformity across every channel you use. Software like Upp can help you do that. It collects all the data and allows you to sell without overlooking vital information.

You need an end-to-end solution with a comprehensive lifecycle review and actionable insights. Those added analytics allow you to access critical data for data-driven business decisions.

Take control of your business to survive and thrive in 2020

Harnessing successful online retail strategies is a 3-step process:

  1. Align your goals and break down those silos.
  2. Utilise your data and make the best data-driven decisions.
  3. Optimise your online presence.

During these unprecedented times when communications are particularly difficult, Upp AI technology can help you make data-driven decisions to reduce costs, increase revenue and drive growth. When the crisis passes, you will be ready to stay ahead of your competition when the barriers crumble — and because you became agile through AI.

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