3 ways to keep up with online consumer behaviour

September 10, 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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September 10, 2020
By Drew Smith

It’s no secret that consumer behaviour has been ever-evolving since online retail has skyrocketed, but this is especially true of the last few months during the pandemic. In fact, data from IMRG showed that in the UK, online retail sales increased by 32.7% year-on-year in May, which is the highest increase since March 2008.

That’s why it’s vital to understand your customers and adapt to their changing consumer habits. This blog will highlight how centralising your data, reviewing your overarching goals and using the right AI-driven software — such as what we do at Upp — can help you keep up with online consumer behaviour.

Do you need AI to understand consumer behaviour?

When a modest Google Ads account report can generate millions of rows of data per month, your strategy becomes complicated. The right technology uses AI and takes the overwhelming amount of data that’s available to businesses and simplifies it into actionable insights that help you understand your customers better. Let’s take a closer look at three ways you can track online consumer behaviour.

#1 – Centralise data to assess buying behaviour

Having access to your data and someone to analyse it is essential to determine what customers are buying — or not buying. Having an overview of all this data is the key to providing customers with what they really want and expect from your brand.

Assess what’s being bought at SKU level 

Find out what the current trends are and which products are selling the most during the pandemic. For example, there was a 433% increase in consumer demand for loungewear. This will help you cater to customer demand. Looking at your product performance at SKU level as well as category level can help you gain a more in-depth understanding of your target market and what you need to provide them with.

Pro tip: It can be tricky for retailers to stay on top of their real-time data, especially in the current global health crisis, due to more demanding working conditions and changing priorities with resources. Most traditional reporting software doesn’t provide the level of detail you need. However, the right tool, like Upp, will collate this data for you so you can gain real visibility over it, and it will even provide you with actionable insights to help give customers what they want and increase conversions.

Look at the right KPIs  

Retailers are used to looking at reports and metrics, but typical reporting software doesn’t necessarily provide the results your individual business needs to gain the right insights. And what’s more, each department is focused on their own goals and insights. This is especially true for Marketing teams who mainly focused on their own metrics such as ROAS while failing to see how their actions impact profitability.

Retailers need to use the right AI tools to help gain a bigger picture of company performance and help you to expertly get to know your customers. Understanding consumer behaviour is the first step to optimising your digital marketing efforts. You also need to ensure they align to your overarching business goals.

performance metrics driving the behaviour

#2 – Align your goals

You need to constantly be on the pulse of what your customers require, and that means regularly adjusting your goals to keep up with them. This is currently important because the pandemic has changed consumer shopping habits — and they will change again post-lockdown. 73% of UK consumers agree that their online shopping experience during lockdown will affect who they buy from afterwards so you need to stay ahead of the curve.

Successfully adjust your business objectives:

  1. Focus your business goals — Let revenue and margin be your focal points. Increasing revenue right now is vital to ensure you can weather the current storm. Understanding consumer behaviour by gaining visibility over your data and then focusing your overarching business goals will allow you to make informed decisions to improve sales and increase revenue.
  2. Align your overarching strategy with individual departments’ goals — While having overarching business goals is important, you need to align this strategy to individual departments. As previously mentioned, the KPIs tracked by each department will be dependent on their individual goals. For example, if your business goal was to increase revenue, this can be accomplished through different metrics. The marketing team may focus on ROAS, whereas the sales team will look at conversion rates and the ecommerce team will ensure return rates aren’t spiking, which will impact revenue. Different departments looking at these varying metrics will ensure that the central goal of increasing revenue is being met.
  3. Improve departmental goals — As mentioned above, your departments’ goals need to be aligned around the business’ goals and measured with the appropriate metrics. Departments need to ensure that they:
    • Gain visibility by centralising product data
    • Optimise products on the right online channels
    • Understand customer needs and boost customer experience across their purchase journeys using actionable insights
  4. Make the most of AI driven software — AI tools, like Upp, can help departments action all of the above. It can keep product listings consistent and optimised across channels, and centralise your data so you can gain full visibility of your product performance. This in turn will allow you to gain a clearer view of the bigger picture. As a result, you’ll be able to review and adapt your business goals as needed, and align them to your strategy.

#3 – Use AI-driven software

Traditional reporting and ecommerce software can only get you so far. But the right AI tool can ensure that your online efforts are effective and that you stay up to date with consumer behaviour.

Why AI tools are vital to profiting on consumer behaviour:

  • Supplies you with superior product visibility, and data on sales and margin. This shows you clear data on your customer responses that you can actively respond to and effectively.
  • Lists your products efficiently and smartly on Google Shopping, which helps you provide your customers with what they want.
  • Utilises machine learning to refine and improve your product copy, ensuring your products are seen by more potential customers who want what you have to offer.
  • Brings together your business metrics and trend data, giving you a reliable view of your shopping performance and how your customers act on your site.
  • Provides actionable insights that are data-driven, ensuring that any decisions you make within your strategy are based on real data. This helps you stay ahead of your competitors.
  • Helps you understand product performance at SKU level. Having a clear view of what products are performing well and which aren’t in real-time will ensure you’re staying up to date with consumer behaviour. You can then make informed decisions around inventory and solve issues around products that aren’t performing well.

Execute profitable GS w/Sku

Having a grasp on consumer behaviour

Optimising data, adjusting your goals and using the right software is crucial for keeping up with consumer behaviour and increasing your conversion rates. Enhancing your online performance right now is essential to surviving the current storm. A high 76% of consumers say that not all companies are making an effort to customise their online experience, despite the 73% of shoppers who expect that personalisation.

The right AI-driven software, like we provide at Upp, will enable you to gain visibility over consumer behaviour on both a granular and strategic level so you are equipped to meet customer demand and ensure that whilst your consumers’ needs are met, your team is also aligned to the overarching business and departmental goals.

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