Five ways to ensure your products get found, look sharp and fend off threats online
As lockdown eased across Europe this summer, leading management consultants, McKinsey, warned we might all be suffering from whiplash.
No, this wasn’t a new COVID-19 symptom. McKinsey was referring to the fact that the pandemic fast-tracked ten years of eCommerce penetration in just three months. During the same period, the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that a third of retail sales took place over the internet—the UK’s highest level ever.
This size and complexity mean brands can’t monitor the digital shelf without serious tech support. Digital shelf analytics (DSA) tools, powered by machine learning, however, offer a compelling solution.
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Here are five ways that DSAs can boost brands’ conversion rates by transforming your eCommerce sales and marketing efforts:
1. Maximizing product ‘findability’.
Consumers won’t buy your product if they can’t find it. Market-leading DSAs check your product is being sold in the most logical location and it hasn’t been mis-categorized.
For example, we should list a laptop computer in a home electrical category with similar products and brands. DSAs also ensure the retailer or marketplace uses the desired keywords for your product, and they have given it the correct level of prominence on their platform.
Leading DSAs reveals your product’s search ranking and how it ranks compared to similar products made by your competitors. Having established this, you’ll know where there is a need to improve your product’s search ranking.
2. Harnessing smart content management
The most advanced DSA solutions enable you to control your rich product content and alert you if a retailer’s site deviates from your preferred images, video, and written content.
For auditing your product pages, qualified DSA providers do more than scratch the surface. They don’t just check there’s an image in place; they ensure it’s the right image and any secondary images are correct as well.
The same applies to your titles, unique selling points, and granular product information. We check this detail the full length of the customer’s buying journey—from the category, search, and product pages into their cart.
We have shown this approach to improve conversion rates directly. That’s because consumers quickly lose trust in brands and products and are more likely to abandon a purchase if they face inconsistent or incorrect content online.
3. Monitor product pricing
Pricing intelligence is worth its weight in gold—no matter what sales channels you’re using. The digital shelf challenge is that it can be vast, and prices frequently change, so effective human monitoring is virtually impossible.
DSAs use artificial intelligence to automatically analyze pricing and promotions in near real-time right across the digital shelf. This data can help you understand how retailers are pricing your products, enabling you to benchmark your prices against competitors’.
“DSAs can also monitor pricing and promotion compliance and alert you if retailers are breaking pricing agreements—for example, selling your product for less than the minimum advertised price.
4. Strengthening stock and assortment
Consumers can only buy your product if it is available. Online, 70% of consumers choose another product if they run into out-of-stock issues.
Focusing on eliminating out-of-stocks is a good drive up online sales.
DSAs can provide you with early warnings to potential out-of-stocks so you can take action before you lose your search results positioning because of a lack of product availability.
5. Winning the ratings and reviews battle
Research suggests 94% of online shoppers read reviews before they make the purchasing decision.
It also suggests a product listing with at least five reviews is 270% more likely to convert a customer. For a higher-priced product, this likelihood increases to 380%.
In short, product reviews are now a big deal. DSAs can warn you when product listings don’t have enough customer reviews compared to competitors’ listings.
They can also alert product owners to negative reviews they might respond to on the retailer’s site, depending on the site’s functionality.
Choosing the right digital shelf analytics tool
When it comes to selecting a DSA solution, accuracy is essential. Market-leading solutions can achieve an accuracy level of around 98%. That’s because they don’t just search and fetch product data; the most advanced DSAs also feature a validation loop that ensures data is correct.
The best DSAs use customized bots to dig deeper into product detail, analyzing product content. They don’t just check primary product videos, photos, and descriptions. They go more in-depth and optimize secondary and tertiary content.
Another critical consideration is that leading DSAs search for and ethically fetches data without slowing down the retailer’s eCommerce platform.
They do this by ‘following the sun’ worldwide, analyzing websites when traffic is at its lowest, usually during the early hours of the morning. Then they present all of this information as real-time actionable insights using user-friendly dashboards and push notifications.
The digital shelf presents an increasingly large and complex sales environment. To successfully convert a growing number of sales opportunities, brands need to automate and analyze data capture right across the digital shelf using a market-leading DSA.
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