3 reasons why monitoring your brand’s digital shelf will help you see the bigger picture


October 19, 2022

As brands make their products available on a wider range of e-commerce sites, category-level, data-driven insights are critical to success.

For most consumer brands, the idea of selling products in just one place has been ancient history for a long time. Brands need to have their product information across the digital shelf and reach their consumers wherever they are shopping. Our latest survey, “Inside the mind of an online shopper,” found 41% of respondents start their search on a marketplace like Amazon or eBay. 21% began with an online retailer and only 9% said they went directly to a brand’s own website. The reality is brands need to have their content everywhere, and that presents its own initial set of distribution challenges. But let’s assume the content makes its way to the shelf, you cannot stop there and just hope for the best.

data-driven insights need to extend across the digital shelf

When a brand adds more channels to sell the same products, how do you keep track of their performance? If you’re not sure your SKUs are in stock, well-rated, well-ranked, competitively priced, or even visible at all on a given marketplace, how will they sell? You need to see the bigger picture on the digital shelf.

Trying to track all this performance data manually is inefficient and ineffective. It’s a mission impossible. Yet many brands still struggle to justify investment in digital shelf analytics (DSA). Here are three reasons why category-level insights should be part of every brand’s mission to see the bigger picture:

1. E-commerce is a dogfight for the top spot

It’s no secret pricing and category ranking play a massive part in your success on third-party sites. Research suggests the first three products in an Amazon search result account for 64% of clicks, with 35% of clicks going to the first item in the list. Getting the ”Amazon’s choice” label (given to those highly-rated and well-priced) for your product can see your sales jump as much as 300%. Other marketplaces and e-commerce sites have their own algorithms, but it’s fair to say no site is going to prioritize your product over others that are better rated or more competitively priced.

Category-level insights will tell you how you’re ranked against competitor SKUs. Armed with this information, you can adjust pricing to be more competitive or identify and act to avoid a flood of poor customer ratings. Sometimes a simple change to the product description or adjusting an image in your PIM solution can help avoid disappointed customers, driving up your average rating and your position in search rankings.

2. Stock issues are the kiss of death

What’s worse than a low ranking? Being out of stock completely! If an e-commerce site has sold out of your products, it’s almost certain their algorithms will de-prioritize them in search results or, more often, simply make them invisible altogether. That’s bad news in both the short and long term.

In that same survey we released, 64% of online shoppers said they were very likely/somewhat likely to switch brands if the specific product they wanted was out of stock on the site where they’re shopping. Aside from the impact on immediate sales, once a consumer has sampled your competitor’s products, it’s going to be that bit harder to win them back.

By using category-level digital shelf analytics, you actively engage in digital shelf monitoring for both stock and visibility issues to ensure consumers are able to find and buy your products.

3. Identify new competitors and evaluate new channels

Most brands are quite clear about who their main competitors are, but how do you identify new entrants into your category? With category-level digital shelf analytics, you’ve got an instant view of the other brands competing with your SKUs. Data revealing a competitor is out of stock, poorly rated, or rising fast in the category rankings can support your strategic marketing activities and dynamic campaigns. Learning your main competitor is attracting complaints about reliability or poor features gives you the perfect reminder to highlight how your products are different, for example.

If you’re evaluating the viability of adding a specific additional e-commerce channel to your network of online outlets, category-level insights will help you establish whether your SKUs are likely to be a good fit in terms of pricing and features.

inriver: The PIM for digital shelf analytics

It’s clear that simply throwing your product information over the wall to an e-commerce channel and hoping for the best is not an option. A two-way flow of information about how your products are performing against others in the same category will help you find and fix issues that damage sales and revenue. Inriver strongly believes every consumer brand should be able to experience the benefits of category-level digital shelf analytics, which is why the inriver PIM platform comes with built-in digital shelf analytics in the form of inriver Evaluate.

Inriver is the only PIM vendor on the market to offer both syndication and DSA capabilities built into our PIM solution. This gives our customers complete control of their omnichannel strategy. They can meet customer expectations at every touchpoint and extract the most value from their product information. Powered by transparent data onboarded from across your supply chain, you can be sure you have a solid foundation for even the most complex digital shelf demands. With built-in syndication and digital shelf analytics technology, advanced data-sharing, and more, inriver offers the complete solution for every business in every market. 

want to see the inriver PIM in action?

Schedule a personalized, guided demo with an inriver expert today to see how the inriver PIM can get more value from your product information.

you may also be interested in…


  • Dave Copeland

    Director of Sales Engineering

    Dave has worked in the software industry for the past 20 years and within e-commerce for the past five, focused on solving the biggest issues facing brands selling on the digital shelf today. With a passion for solving problems, Dave believes that with the right technology, process and people, brands have an amazing opportunity in front of them.

    read more