3 Strategies for Retailers Responding to the Pandemic

November 11, 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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3 strategies for retailers
November 11, 2020
By Drew Smith

In light of the ever-evolving circumstances of 2020, retailers have had to think on their feet and react to changes as quickly as they can, to ensure they stay ahead of the competition.

This article will break down three strategies that retailers should put in place and the tools they should be using to help them to continue surviving and thriving right now.

1. Have the right systems in place

Retail has now shifted online. It’s gone from something “nice to have” to becoming essential that retailers have a digital presence.

In the UK, retail eCommerce is expected to account for 27.5% of all retail sales in 2020 – the highest ever. Compare that to 2019’s 21.8% – a 26% increase in just one year. It’s added around £5.3 billion to the UK’s eCommerce sector, which was already the largest in Europe.

According to new data from IBM, the pandemic has accelerated the shift from brick-and-mortar stores to digital by five years. Whether it’s moving transactional business completely online or using eCommerce to facilitate same-day in-store pickup, the companies that have embraced this digital shift have seen the biggest benefit.


The keyword in today’s environment is agility. Successful retailers must be able to adapt to change, move rapidly to meet demand, and seize opportunities as they arise. It’s now more important than ever to have complete transparency of performance data to know where opportunities lie and how to act on them.

Access to information

Retailers who are operating with complex legacy systems will find it harder to adapt to change. In fact, traditional reporting systems won’t allow you to easily see the data you need to make informed decisions, meaning you are flying blind.

The right technology must be put in place to provide the insights you need in an ever-evolving environment. Those stuck in legacy systems that haven’t moved forward will struggle in the new economy.

Realign teams around revenue report

2. Keep a close eye on your Google Shopping campaigns

One out of every three paid clicks on search goes to shopping ads. Since Google Shopping spend accounts for the majority of Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns across the retailers, you need to make sure your campaigns are continually being monitored and updated to ensure that you are achieving optimal results. Finding out what’s working and what’s not working is vital to running successful Google accounts. It’s in a constant state of flux, so reviewing this frequently is a must.

Optimise your campaign structures

Here’s one specific place to examine. Most retailers group their products into campaigns without much thought into the campaign structure. For example, products might be grouped by season launches or product categories. We believe that there is a better way. Instead, group your products by performance. You can then set your ad spending at a very granular level to maximise the chances of hitting your business’s revenue and profit targets.

However, doing this manually is extremely time consuming and not replicable. Google alone does not provide all of the required data you need to make good decisions. Traditional reporting software won’t give you the granular insight you need to understand how profitable campaigns can be. That’s why we developed our platform: to allow, for the first time, the alignment of ad spending to business profitability. Not only that, but our platform also provides granular SKU level data that Google provides no visibility on, which is vital to understanding your product performance. 

We use product and margin performance data not available in the Google platform to drive bidding, not the other way around. This ensures that every change made helps drive you towards your overall business goals. It tracks consumer demand and adjusts campaigns accordingly, only surfacing what you need to act on to hit your revenue and profit targets.

This creates constant optimisation in a constantly evolving environment.

3. Ensure profitability is at the heart of your goals

During the coronavirus pandemic, many retailers’ goals shifted away from profitability and focused more on revenue sales. Teams were facing issues such as excess stock and old season products that have put pressure on retailers to boost their sales and revenue performance for the short term in order to get rid of this stock. This means teams had to adjust their focus to revenue growth to stay afloat and worried less about long-term profitability. 

Depending on individual business goals, adjusting your objectives and strategic decisions to match changing KPIs is the most important factor in success. That’s why retailers need a software that can provide them with actionable recommendations to help them meet their objectives.  

Align your goals

At Upp, we provide retailers with enhanced transparency over their data. This provides marketing and digital teams a clearer picture of what’s happening in real-time to meet business goals and align their actions to their KPIs. 

Upp’s Margin Hub means you can set your KPI targets as necessary to meet your business goals, and the platform’s machine learning capabilities will adjust Google Shopping spend across your campaigns accordingly. This allows for better data-driven business decisions and the ability to change rapidly as business conditions evolve, making it easier to reach your profit targets.

Opportunities to run profitable marketing campaigns

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