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Sustainable Ecommerce Growth Through Digital Shelf Analytics

Sustainable Ecommerce Growth Through Digital Shelf Analytics

In today’s era, the initial encounter between customers and businesses occurs in the vast realm of the online world. Just a couple of years back, in 2021, retail ecommerce sales amounted to approximately $5.2 trillion worldwide. This figure is forecasted to grow by 56 percent over the next few years, reaching about $8.1 trillion by 2026. Undeniably, online shopping reigns supreme in today’s society, and as a result, digital shelf analytics has emerged as an indispensable tool for ecommerce enterprises. With marketplaces, retailers, and distributors rapidly digitizing and an ever-increasing number of businesses joining the race, this tool has become a lifeline for ecommerce-first businesses. It empowers them to elevate their online presence, amplify product visibility, optimize pricing strategies, and glean invaluable insights from consumer feedback. By harnessing the power of digital shelf analytics, ecommerce businesses can propel their sales growth and maintain a competitive edge in the ever-expanding online shopping landscape.

What is Digital Shelf Analytics (DSA)?

As consumers increasingly turn to online marketplaces, retailers, and distributors to make their purchases, it has become essential for consumer brands to monitor their digital shelf presence on these platforms. This involves keeping track of and optimizing various touchpoints as customers discover brands to buy from (both your own and competitors’), browse available catalogs, and make purchasing decisions.

This customer touchpoint monitoring is now enabled by digital shelf analytics tools to optimize online presence and drive sales. By leveraging next-generation scalable data harvesting technology, extensive data analyses, and sophisticated machine-learning techniques, businesses can gain valuable insights into their online product listings and make informed decisions to enhance their performance. Analyzing the digital shelf provides a comprehensive view of how products are presented and perceived on various online channels. It allows businesses to monitor key metrics such as product visibility, pricing, customer reviews, and competitor positioning. With this information at their fingertips, businesses can identify areas for improvement and take proactive steps to maximize their online sales potential.

Challenges with the conventional way of analyzing ecommerce shelves

Let’s cut to the chase. With increasing focus on faster and more accurate attribution techniques, traditional ways of analyzing ecommerce shelf performance are slowly being rendered obsolete and replaced by the need for powerful tools that help optimize brands’ online performance. Conventional methods of monitoring digital shelves often involve manual processes, such as manually checking product listings on various online platforms, collecting data through surveys or customer feedback, or relying on sporadic audits. These traditional methods introduce several limitations and are less effective in today’s fast-paced and data-driven ecommerce environment:

Time-consuming & inefficient:

Manually monitoring digital shelves requires significant time and resources. It is a labor-intensive process that becomes impractical as the number of products and digital channels increases. Moreover, manual methods cannot keep up with real-time changes in product availability, pricing, or customer reviews.

Limited scalability:

Traditional methods cannot handle large volumes of data. With the exponential growth of ecommerce and the increasing number of products and channels, collecting and analyzing data manually for every product and platform becomes challenging.

Incomplete & subjective insights:

Manual monitoring may provide only a snapshot of the digital shelf, offering limited visibility into product performance, customer reviews, competitor positioning, and pricing trends. Moreover, subjective biases can influence data interpretation and decision-making.

Inability to handle data complexity:

Ecommerce data is vast, diverse, and unstructured. Traditional methods struggle to handle the complexity and variety of data, limiting the ability to extract meaningful insights.


What digital shelf analytics brings to the table

Effective execution of digital shelf presence management can bring numerous business benefits for consumer brands. For one, it can help increase brand visibility and reach, as consumers are more likely to discover and purchase prominently displayed and well-reviewed products on the platform.

One of the key benefits of monitoring your digital shelf presence is that it allows you to control “how your brand is presented to consumers?” With the enormous data volumes generated through monitoring the product listings on marketplaces, brands can comprehensively understand their own and competitors’ digital shelf position. The benefits of analyzing the digital shelf go beyond identifying gaps in product offerings on ecommerce channels. It allows your businesses to:

  • Enable penetrative insights on the discoverability of products compared to competitors, helping marketers to gain the spotlight in the marketplace.
  • Understand the availability of products across online channels to nullify stock-out situations to aid the inventory and supply chain teams to take actions even more proactively.
  • Active attention on product pricing on marketplaces, retailers, and distributors, to arrest undercutting and overpricing to ensure unified pricing strategy implementation across channels.
  • Identify brand and product compliance violations by different sellers early on to prevent brand erosion.
  • Enhance customer satisfaction by identifying areas where improvements are needed. By monitoring customer feedback and reviews in real time, businesses can address concerns promptly and make necessary adjustments to ensure a positive customer journey.

Enablement of analytics on digital shelf data supports faster decision cycles across the board, with cross-functional teams involving inventory, supply chain, marketing, branding, content, pricing, and merchandising – providing individuals with the right information to function optimally.

How can advancements in analytics help businesses uncover root causes and gain penetrative insights from digital shelf data?

Dealing with an extensive portfolio of products and their offerings on marketplaces involving multiple seller partners on a daily basis can quickly become overwhelming. Businesses that deal with ecommerce must contend with unscrupulous sellers, missing product descriptions, listings that are not optimized for ecommerce SEO, unavailability of products and frequent unattended stock-out events, and unwarranted discounts and promotions run by the third-party sellers eroding the brand image to name a few.

Along with the challenges faced on the ecommerce front, some additional challenges have risen due to the sheer size of available data: managing and governing the data generated by crawling the digital shelf, getting the right actionable insights, and identifying the root cause of hampered key digital shelf metrics. A well-informed, technologically equipped, and disciplined deep dive analytics function can help you solve most of these challenges. With automated data collection, real-time monitoring and alert systems, advanced analytics, and machine learning, several types of analyses can be performed to drive improvements to digital shelf metrics. Let’s explore them in more detail:

Analyze search performance for enhanced product visibility:

Understanding how products are ranked in search results is crucial for digital shelf success, especially when competing with different brands on the same category of products. Analyzing the visibility metrics like “Share of Search” allows businesses to understand their search ranking and identify factors that influence rankings. Factors like underutilization of relevant keywords, unavailability of products, and poor customer ratings affect search ranking the most. The analytics enablement on search metrics helps you gain penetrative insights by performing search ranking assessments and benchmarking against the category or keyword optimizations and recommendations to improve their search rankings, increase visibility, and attract more potential customers.

Understanding the positioning of the competition better to gain a competitive advantage:

By analyzing and benchmarking against industry peers present in the same marketplace, businesses can identify areas where they are falling behind and uncover opportunities for improvement. For example, your competitor has been enriching the product listings with more product images, having additional informative content sections, engaging Q&A sections and better product ratings and reviews, discounts offered over the period, etc. This helps businesses understand competitor pricing strategies, product assortment, and promotional activities, allowing them to make informed decisions to stay competitive.

Corrective pricing and promotion strategy for boosted revenue and profits:

Brands have little control over sellers and third-party partners on ecommerce aggregator marketplaces, so attaining consistent pricing and promotion can become a hassle if not monitored actively. Tracking and analyzing pricing and promotion metrics can help businesses identify sellers who are not adhering to the pricing guidelines and offering huge discounts or selling products at a higher price than the set standard retail price, ultimately resulting in consistent pricing of the products across sellers, marketplaces, and regions. Enabling deep dive analytics can allow businesses to analyze pricing data, including historical trends, competitor pricing, and price elasticity. By understanding how pricing impacts sales and profitability, companies can optimize their pricing strategies, identify opportunities for discounts or promotions, and maximize revenue.

Improved availability of products across marketplaces by extensively examining in-stock and out-of-stock situations:

Tracking and analyzing the availability status of each product or SKU offered on the market gives businesses leverage to ensure there are no opportunity losses due to low or no stock situations. It also helps understand the velocity of purchase of your product, the rate at which the product stocks are replenished, and whether there are frequent patterns of stock-out situations in specific marketplaces, ultimately helping you understand the demand curve of your line of products to plan inventories better and ahead of time.

eClerx’s presence in the space and impact delivered

Effective execution of digital shelf presence management can be challenging for brands, especially those with an extensive product portfolio or those selling through multiple channels. This is where eClerx Digital’s digital shelf analytics platform – Market360, can be extremely helpful.

Companies in various industries, from electronics to fashion, have harnessed the power of eClerx’s Market360 platform to optimize their channel strategies. For example, a major electronics manufacturer used Market360 to find that their product descriptions do not effectively convey their products’ key features and benefits. The electronics manufacturer saw a threefold increase in conversion by updating and optimizing their product descriptions and adding rich content. In general, by aligning content, stock, pricing, and marketing activities with real-time insights, eClerx’s Market360 clients have achieved results like 80% faster identification of market opportunities, 15% increase in sell-out, 12% improvement in availability for top products, 5% improvement on product visibility in search and significant channel growth.

For more information on how you can take advantage of digital shelf analytics tools for your business, contact our team today.

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