Digital shelving and analytics

Robert Hazeleger
Digital shelf analytics

Another relevant topic in the digital hype cycle is the digital shelf. What exactly does it mean and how can you optimise your digital shelves?

The digital shelf refers to the way a brand displays its product online and where it is displayed. This could be on a product description page of a retailer’s site, a mobile app, a third-party marketplace, personal website or any other eCommerce channel. These are the places that consumers go to search for and buy products online, much like a store shelf.

As with physical shelves in stores, digital shelves are where retailers control their image and the story of their brand and products. Instead of having the benefit of a captive audience and attractive packaging, the digital shelf relies completely on product descriptions and added content. To help purchasers make informed choices, retailers use content elements such as images, videos, instructions, prices, reviews and possible product variation options.

Getting digital shelving right is important for a number of reasons. Consumers tend to trust their search engines and, in most cases, won’t click past the first page of search results. Its therefore important to ensure optimal placing. Detailed product content and reviews are key to making purchasing decisions for the majority of consumers, some even browsing the digital shelf and reviews before visiting physical stores. Having a detailed digital shelf strategy is therefore a key ingredient in a successful ecommerce enterprise. Planning, prioritising and focussing resources on the most effective use of content and distribution will lead to well organised, revenue producing shelves.

Of course, none of this makes any difference unless you have your finger on the pulse of what results you are achieving. You need tools that collect as much information about your digital shelves as possible with particular focus on:

Descriptive – Actual data about what has happened, such as the amount of sales, published product content, inventory levels and consumer reviews.

Predictive – A combination of trending data, past activity and insights to determine what might happen in the future, such as predicting changes in consumer behaviour.

Prescriptive – Defining how your brand can move forward by suggesting next action items, such as when to replenish stock or run a marketing campaign.

As with any data, it’s how you act on it that makes the difference. Digital analytics can grow sales and impact the bottom line if the system enables you to act on touch points that increase sales, grow brand awareness and create engagement with your customers.

Of course, you also need to know where you stand in terms of your competition. With the right tools you can get a view of where you fall behind, how other retailers are selling and your exact position in search rankings. Understanding what products are showing up for which key words enables you to make effective changes when needed on a daily basis.

Would you like to understand more about Digital shelf analytics? We’d love to hear how your business works, so book a time to talk with us.