The digital shelf is a game of inches. Every piece counts, and it all comes down to the tiniest seconds during your customers’ online shopping experience: one-half second too slow or content not right can make or break you in this competitive landscape of eCommerce. It is an ecosystem of countless touchpoints that shapes how consumers discover, explore and purchase products online.
By now, it’s no secret that successful eCommerce brands make brand-retailer collaboration an absolute priority in their customer acquisition and retention strategies. They analyse digital shelf analytics on a constant, consistent basis, across multiple categories of their online presence and ensure that their findings are communicated to and actioned by the retail platforms that sell their products.
The 4 P’s –Product, Pricing, Placement, Promotion– are as important for your brands on the digital shelf just like they would be in brick-and-mortar stores:
- Ensure your products are being shown to their full potential and that every retailer uses the same digital assets to represent them
- Make pricing competitive so consumers can feel confident in what they’re buying from your retailers
- Place your products in the best position for high-value search queries
- Invest in the promotions that matter most for your category, strategically scaling them up or down based on what’s happening on the digital shelf.
Now that we’ve established a game plan, let’s dive into the 5+1 Digital Shelf Metrics you should monitor in order to win your digital shelf.
Product Imagery: Do your products have an appealing image?
Bad design, cluttered elements, poorly displayed products -if you were to walk into a brick-and-mortar shop that looked like this, would you make a purchase? Probably not.
75% of online shoppers rely on product photos when deciding whether or not they want to buy an item from a seller; outdated inaccurate imagery can cause confusion and lower trust in both the brand as well as its offerings which could lead them away altogether from purchasing your goods in future if this continues unchecked. It has been reported that 22% of returns happen because people feel like what was displayed visually didn’t match up with what they bought.
The images that you use to represent your brand should be fresh, engaging and show off the best parts of who you are as a company. Moreover, 360-degree product images make it easier for shoppers to visualize the products, and according to Shopify, they can increase conversions by up to 250%!
Share of Search & Navigation: How can the customers find your products?
As anyone who has ever shopped online knows, finding the right product can be a challenge. With thousands of items to choose from, it’s often difficult to know where to begin.
Retailers try to serve up the best results when consumers browse their stores because users tend to click on one of the top three search results. So if your products aren’t showing up as high as you’d like, it could be a sign you need to make improvements. You need a list of keywords to monitor and insight into where your traffic is coming from; Find out what keywords competitors are ranking higher than yours, which SKUs are driving low traffic and work with your retailer partners so people can discover the best products right away!
Although on-site search is often given a lot of attention, it is not always the most important factor for brands. 60% of visitors actually prefer using on-site navigation (category navigation) and onsite merchandising (banners) to find the products they want to purchase. This method of navigation can actually lead to a higher market share for a brand, as it increases both Search Share and Category Share.
Product Availability: Are your products always available?
When your retailers’ websites run out of stock, it’s like a giant flashing sign that says “GO SOMEWHERE ELSE” or “BUY SOMETHING ELSE.” In a recent study, 43% of online shoppers named (1) in-stock availability of desired items and (2) fast and reliable delivery as the two most important attributes when shopping online. Monitoring stock availability ensures your retailers will never get out of stock.
It also ensures you’ll only promote retailers that have inventory and allows you to avoid the ones that don’t. This helps you maximize conversions and increase the ROI of your marketing efforts.
But you shouldn’t just monitor your own stock availability, either. Any time a competitor is out-of-stock, that creates a timely opportunity. Take advantage by advertising for the moment their inventory drops; make sure yours are at the top position of search results so people can find what they need quickly without having too many other options available first from those who have been unable to keep up with demand as well.
Price & Promotions: Are you implementing an efficient pricing strategy?
Price differences can cause more than just a little frustration for consumers. Especially when sellers are trying to beat one another’s prices, any fluctuation could lead you down the path of having your product associated with low-quality and overpriced goods in people’s minds- which is not something that would help either yourself or retailers who work hard on bringing customers into stores. It becomes an anchor around everyone’s neck – making normal pricing seem too high even though it may have been previously profitable due simply because there will always be competitors offering less money outright (or at least so long as digital shelf space remains expensive).
The price monitoring tool is a must-have for any business looking to protect its margins and ensure customers are happy.
Ratings & Reviews: What do your customers say about you?
If you want to be competitive in today’s market, your products need reviews. And not just any old ones -the most recent ratings and reviews are what matter the most! 79% of consumers specifically seek out websites with product reviews. Brands who get this right can expect an increase of 270% conversion rate thanks solely to customer feedback provided by genuine buyers
The key to reading reviews is understanding what they measure. A nosedive in recent ratings doesn’t mean anything unless it’s accompanied by an increase or decrease across all categories, so take note before and after any fluctuations were made publically available. You might also want to check out customer feedback about availability & support issues as well systemic problems with shipping speed which could be affecting sales -all data points that can help you make sense of these numbers.
There may be a problem with the product itself which needs to be addressed, a lack of alignment between the product and the product page, or a new use case or application your customers are raving about. As you explore recent reviews, you need to resolve any problems they reveal, and you may need to modify your positioning to reflect the strongest customer value propositions. 53% of customers expect businesses they have had a negative experience with will reply within the week, so it’s important for companies not only to track feedback but also to take action.
5+1 Brand Share of Voice: Are you receiving enough share of voice across all channels?
Brand Share of Voice (BSoV) is an important metric that allows you to compare brand awareness on different marketing channels against your competitors. You can use it to measure how well your newsletters, banners, social media sponsored posts, Google ads, organic posts, contests, and blogs compare to the competition.
Ultimately, you can see how much of the conversation you dominate in your industry. By understanding your BSoV, you’ll gain a competitive edge, be able to spot gaps in the market, and know where you stand in comparison to others in the eCommerce space.
Measuring your BSoV across eCommerce retailer websites and other digital channels will help guide your eCommerce strategy in several ways:
- Monitoring competitors: You’ll get an overview of your visibility and performance online in comparison to other competing brands.
- Targeting audiences: Looking at the demographics of who is (and isn’t) interacting with your FMCG brand will help you better segment your audiences.
- Evaluating success: You’ll know if marketing campaigns are effective by measuring increases in Share of Voice.
- Optimising campaigns: By gaining BSoV insights through data analytics, you’ll be able to improve future campaigns and expand your visibility.
Are your measuring your Brand Share of Voice right now? If your answer is not, then reach out! We can help you start.
The value of data is clear and its importance can’t be overstated. It is the key to understanding what shoppers are looking for, how they’re finding it and whether your tactics are translating into sales. If you’re not currently taking advantage of all that digital shelf analytics has to offer, now is the time to start. You can download our eRetail Content Digital Shelf Checklist, and learn how to navigate this complex and rewarding space.