In a time of record-breaking online sales, now is the perfect time to evaluate online retail sales strategies. However, online shopping is obviously not new and certain customer expectations must be met. If your online retail store isn’t measuring up to expectations, online consumers will shop elsewhere for the products they want. Here are three ways you can increase profits from your online sales.
Online shopping has grown steadily over the past few years. One study found that “online sales grew by 15.1 percent in 2019 and accounted for 51.1 percent of all retail growth last year.” This year, more consumers than ever have shifted to online shopping as part of their regular routine. According to a recent report, “42 percent of consumers are using digital channels to engage in activities more often than they did before.” The U.S. Census Bureau also reported first quarter eCommerce sales to be up 2.4 percent ($160.3 billion) from the fourth quarter of 2019.
Assortment Optimization is a powerful tool for retailers to increase profit and improve customer experience and loyalty. It combines cutting-edge machine learning techniques, an agile continuous improvement methodology, and flexible customization to accommodate unique business requirements. Like other related solutions, assortment optimization utilizes machine learning techniques and AI to find the optimal assortment for every SKU in each store location. However, assortment optimization offers other unique benefits.
AI-based systems do not always make better decisions than humans. Find out why, and how to make sure your system is getting the best of both worlds.
Man vs. Machine
When it comes to Assortment Optimization, AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning play a key part behind the scenes. While a human perspective helps, there are two important factors that make AI very important: scale and automation. For example, a large retailer with 1,000 physical stores and 10,000 products has as many as 10 million assortment decisions to determine which stores should carry which SKUs, what quantities, and when. Even though a significant portion of product offering is chainwide, that still leaves a formidable number of micro-decisions to be made. This amount of decision-making for humans is inefficient and not very profitable.
Assortment optimization is a major focus area for retailers at the moment. Retailers need more accurate SKU rationalization, a better understanding of what to buy in the future, and localized assortments that drive sales. Getting this right is crucial in the market today. There are a few traditional ways that retailers plan out their assortments. They either 1) think through their assortment from a business process standpoint, 2) look at loyalty and shopper data to determine assortment, or 3) think of a brand-new method to determine assortment.
The retail world of today is very different than it was 20+ years ago (and, yes, I’m old enough to remember). But, like the fashion world, some retail trends are coming full circle and starting to make a comeback (remember thinking bellbottoms would never return?). Retail used to be focused on the customer experience. Do you remember getting excited to go to Woolworth with your grandparents just so you could visit the soda fountain for a grilled cheese and milkshake? Years ago, shopping wasn’t just an ‘in and out’ thing. It was an all-day outing with the whole family. It was an experience.[Read more…]