Competing on the Digital Shelf – Achieving Eye-Level Online

Competing on the Digital Shelf
Competing on the Digital Shelf

Every retailer and consumer goods manufacturer knows that the location of a product in store and on the shelf can make a crucial difference to product sales. Manufacturers spend considerable time, effort and money planning, merchandizing and persuading retailers to place their product in optimal location and level.

Typically, eye-level is best, then waist, then knee, and so on. But in the digital world what is eye level? Is it if your product is listed in the top 5 items returned by Google? Is it if your product is ranked higher than your competitors on a retailer’s website?

First Moment of Truth

Un-surprisingly, research has shown that shoppers are more likely to add products to their basket that appear higher in search results. Like being in a store, shoppers want to put their hand out pick it straight off the shelf, no searching and no thinking. Are you failing to impress at the first moment of truth?

While online sales are still a relatively small percentage of overall revenue, everybody agrees that it will continue to grow and is gathering pace. Digital shelf space has opened the door to new logos that were quick to spot an opportunity. This has left some top brand companies fighting for digital shelf space with smaller and relatively unknown players.

When you manage to get your product listed higher in the search results, is description correct? Is the image formatted correctly on all devices? Is the price right? Is product listed in right category?

There are a number of companies offering services to monitor your ranking, check images, description and prices, on search results from Google, Bing and store operated sites. However, many of these just identify the symptoms and do little to fix the root cause – Poor Data QualityGovernance

Great Product Data

What it all comes down to: Your product data needs to be good enough to replace a consultation with a knowledgeable and trustworthy salesperson.  Your product information needs to remove any of the customer’s fear that they might be buying the wrong thing. Contradictions confuse shoppers and keep them from buying. But consistency and completeness signal expertise.

Every product comes with a rich set of product information. Anywhere from dozens to hundreds of attributes and assets for each and every product.

  • Specifications
  • Dimensions
  • Sizes and colors
  • Images and videos
  • Ratings and reviews

This is essential information that helps shoppers become buyers. If you don’t have it ready for them when they’re ready to buy, they’ve clicked off to someone who does.

Product Information Management

To succeed you need to establish a central platform that all product information that has the following capabilities;

  • Data Management: For all products with all assortments, items, hierarchies, classifications and features.
  • Data Quality: Automated data validation as well as rules and dashboards for data stewards create a basis for making important decisions.
  • Digital Asset Management: Unstructured product data like images, graphics, documents, audio and video are managed centrally so that they can be readily located and formatted automatically for a specific publication channel.
  • Workflow management: Ensures that the right information gets to the right employees and departments – simply and smartly with web access.

Don’t forget Data Governance

It’s important to define an overall governance program for product information management that applies to all divisions, regions, countries, and brands. In addition to the policies, rules and best practices that will comprise your data governance program, you’ll also have to set up new roles that account for data stewardship. There’s no point in having a well thought out data governance strategy, if you don’t have the stewards to enforce it.

We have a great eBook “The Ultimate Workbook for Product Information Management” that covers the above more detail.

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