Increased eCommerce adoption created massive opportunities for CPG brands to reach new shoppers across different channels and markets. But it's coupled with big risks: the 'digital shelf' is highly dynamic, changing at incredible speed and so requires a whole new set of skills to manage, measure and optimize it. Category, ecommerce and marketing teams must learn how to utilize automated category performance insights from across hundreds of retailers.
Today's consumers rely on your digital shelf for discovery and information. Executing effectively across your online channels is now critical, with a clear demand to get it right for shoppers first time every time. It's about more than just data — teams now need to have the knowledge and capabilities to act fast based on relevant insights that drive the right actions at scale. So, if you're serious about winning online, digital shelf analytics is the must-have technology to accelerate category growth. But how do you know which service is the best? We've summarized the strategic questions to consider during the selection process.
What is the digital shelf
The digital shelf is the representation of your brand(s) to shoppers across all your online retailers. Compared to the physical shelf, your brand owns the 'digital shelf' for your products. This makes you solely responsible for its creation, management and improvement at all points. This is where having digital shelf analytics (DSA) becomes non-negotiable.
Gartner's Innovation Insights for Digital Shelf Analytics identified DSA as a rapidly emerging technology critical for brands looking to win market share online. Now that ecommerce has reached a sticking point, having access to daily automated, competitive intelligence that shows you reality vs expectation across key performance areas can no longer be delayed.
The benefits of using digital shelf analytics
As digital commerce channels continue to diversify, it's simply impossible to measure and audit content manually. DSA technology is a game-changer.
Listing the primary benefits, it's easy to see why:
- With daily full category intelligence you have a source of truth that enables you to have strategic and influential conversations with retailers.
- Provides insights that help align internal teams around strategy and omnichannel thinking; no longer are eCommerce and front line teams working in isolation — world-class DSA unites teams to be effective
- Delivers data insights that are actionable, attuned to frontline managers' roles; you need people to increase online profitability not crunching spreadsheets.
- A clear view of everything driving your online performance from search, availability, content, promotion, pricing, customer feedback and more.
- Enables teams to quickly identify competitor activity, benchmarking current strategy vs category performance.
DSA vendors must help you with more than "fixing the basics''. They must be dedicated to helping you build long-term strategies for dominating your category globally. So, how do you choose the right partner? Here's what we suggest.
How to pick the perfect digital shelf analytics partner
Wherever you are on your business maturity curve, your digital shelf analytics vendor has to offer a scalable solution allowing you to grow at pace long term. It also has to integrate seamlessly with your existing tech stack and flex to the ways of working you have to day and your needs for the future. What's more, a full-service solution sees feeding seasoned industry experts advice to your teams as standard. Use the below as your vendor selection checklist.
Questions to ask before you choose:
- Who in the team is going to use the tool and what insights do they need to succeed in their role? How actionable is the data?
- Will the setup and onboarding be easy? Is the solution cloud-based so it can integrate well with our PIM and other datasets?
- Is the solution scalable and will the insights make meaningful contributions from the start?
- Can the provider help build e-commerce capabilities fast? Are they openly sharing industry best practices and adapting to market teams' needs?
- Will the tool unlock opportunities for growth in an easy-to-read and shareable format? Are executive-level scorecards available?
- Do they perform ethical retailer data gathering ("scraping") or do we risk harming our trade partnerships with irresponsible practices that affect conversions and retailer's site speed?
If your existing DSA provider can't tick any of the above, its time to switch.
Still serious? Here's what's next
Seek a solution that offers full-category competitive intelligence that unites your teams around ecommerce while driving your commercial agenda and creating win-win scenarios across your eRetailers. Stop wasting profitable opportunities, take action and book a free demo with us today!