Ideas + Opinions

Building your e-commerce operation fast? We’ll help you find your edge

04 June 2021

Building your e-commerce operation fast? We’ll help you find your edge

Building your e-commerce operation fast? We’ll help you find your edge.

By Andy Smith, Sales Director EMEA, Hybrid Theory

For reasons that we hardly need to spell out, e-commerce had the year of its life in 2020, at one point registering ten years’ growth in three months. That’s according to McKinsey, who have given a dramatic name to the accelerated pace of digital transformation: ‘the quickening’.

Established e-commerce players were the headline performers of 2020 – at Amazon, UK sales rose by 51% last year. But you didn’t necessarily have to be a world-eating e-commerce giant to find yourself holding a good hand. In the first month of the pandemic, says Shopify, retail merchants who already had a thriving omnichannel strategy replaced 94% of the point-of-sale purchases they lost with online sales.

Inevitably, those with less heritage in the space have had to work harder to catch up. Without the right insights, the digital marketplace can be a bewildering one, but with the right eyes on the problem, even those who have been forced to accelerate their online operations through necessity can find a way to win. Because while e-commerce won’t grow so fast every year, it certainly isn’t going to stop growing.

The best data is fluid

Companies with a relatively small e-commerce operation typically don’t have a great deal of historic data. With vital sales on the line, they need to catch up fast, and for that they require fluid, real-time audience data that gives them access to those consumers who are in-market now.

For those who have a limited sense of their online market but are seeking to scale up, we can take a seed audience and build it out. By running a brand’s first-party data through our platform and through social channels, we can verify that audience, and if it performs we are able to amplify it and scale up quickly, enabling you to target a custom audience of qualified prospects in the online space.

The international opportunity

Smaller bricks-and-mortar retailers aren’t necessarily accustomed to focusing on international expansion, but e-commerce opens that door. A fluid data platform enables you to watch consumers coming in and out of specific audience groups in real time. The breadth of Hybrid Theory’s vision stretches across much of the world, allowing us to uncover consumers in multiple territories.

In some cases, we have helped retailers shift their business internationally during the past year, to account for the effects of different states of lockdown – as demand falls in one territory, it may well be rising in another. A shift in campaign focus allows a brand to put its marketing investment where the action is.

Find the problem and fix it

Over the past year, many brands have come to us who are seeing higher-than-usual site traffic that fizzles out without turning into positive actions. In other words, they have a healthy visiting audience, but not one that converts. The problem can have a variety of roots: it might be that the audience they are finding and successfully attracting is not actually very qualified; equally, it could be a problem with their site navigation. Intelligently trouble-shooting such conversion-blocking issues is critical.

Prepare to be nimble

The world constantly shifts, and it makes perfect sense for retailers to shift their priorities with it. One e-commerce client of ours switched smartly between three different campaigns in the four-week period between Black Friday and Christmas, alternating between a male and a female focus according to whichever one of several extremely carefully-observed buying trends was on the up-swing. We can help you build a nuanced strategy that lets you make the best of numerous commercial opportunities, rather than banking on just one.