How to connect your share of shelf and market position

Your share of shelf is a crucial metric across retailer sites. It can be an accurate picture of your market share compared to your competitors. And also present how your products stand out both in terms of quality and quantity.

Across retailer sites, your SKU count needs to rival, if not beat, your competitors. However, it doesn’t stop there. On these retailer channels, ensure that your products are at the top or forefront of pages and relevant categories.

Why? Because it facilitates shoppers to find your products as long as your titles and descriptions apply to their search terms. The bottom line here is your share of shelf must be equal to or greater than competitors` and, of course, align with your brand image on all retailer sites.

Using share of shelf as a competitive key metric

1. Exposes your competitor’s share of shelf

While your share of shelf can provide ideas on how to improve your market share, studying your competitors can also provide valuable insights. Typically, your competitor’s share of shelf can expose which verticals and retailers they invest in the most.

It can also reveal the most critical categories your brand should focus on. Plus help you determine which share of shelf are keen and which ones you should dominate across key retailer sites. And, of course, optimize your assortment and distribution strategy accordingly.

share of shelf


2. Market position

Brands typically would invest in categories that are most effective for them. And analyzing the share of shelf can show your market position. Why? Because having more SKUs than competitors and higher visibility in your most essential categories shows you own these segments. And you could sustainably grow if you maintain a high SKU count and visibility year after year.

Monitoring this data will help you understand your share of shelf in crucial categories. Is it steady, rising, or falling? These are clear indications you have threats from your competition and help you address them early on.

3. Retailer Strength

Your share of shelf also exposes your retailer’s strength and target markets to a certain extent. For example, suppose a significant brand decided not to carry any SKUs at a specific retailer. In that case, that may show that the retailer’s target market doesn’t fit their brand’s or that maybe their products didn’t sell well there, so they pulled out.

Share of shelf is just the start

Note that your share of shelf only offers part of the picture. Even though your SKU count could dominate your competitors at a particular reseller, your sales numbers at the end is another half of the story.  

It’s right to say that if your products are available, good quality, and meet your consumers’ needs, your sales numbers should also be high. But what if they’re not? Then we certainly have a problem.  

So, let’s think about it from a consumer’s perspective. You need cornflakes, and you go online in search of it. You’d definitely see options from several brands and from a brand particular brand you like. The former may have a larger share of shelf, but the latter will win the sale. 

A classic scenario is finding your happy medium. More isn’t always better, especially if market demand for your products online doesn’t align with stock available.  

For an exclusive brand, offering a small percentage of SKUs could match better with your image. But for a commodity brand, a bigger SKU count might be most effective. 

Ultimately, there is no correct answer when it comes to your share of shelf. It is a highly individual metric, and the focus should be on optimizing your findability and availability compared to just trying to keep up with competitors. 

Originally published May. 07, 2021, updated May. 07, 2021

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