What is digital shelf management?

the best way to beat the e-commerce competition

As online sales continue to accelerate, only with a structured digital shelf management strategy can brands and manufacturers be confident of converting on every channel.

The digital shelf is a complex, multi-faceted entity that requires continual management to ensure product listings and content remain optimized for customers, channels, regulators, and more. 

This management includes analyzing, monitoring, and optimizing the digital shelf. However, this is not a one-off task. It’s a continuous, circular process powered by three essential software solutions. These are PIM (product information management), PDS (product data syndication), and DSA (digital shelf analytics).  

Optimized digital shelf management is a product of these three solutions working together to provide a ‘closed loop’ digital shelf solution across all channels, from third-party resellers and marketplaces to owned channels and social media platforms.  

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What can be managed on the digital shelf? 

From product listings to customer reviews, you can manage numerous elements of the digital shelf to improve your product’s performance and visibility. Let’s delve into a few critical aspects of digital shelf management. 

Digital shelf insights 

Digital shelf analytics is the process of examining key performance indicators and digital shelf data to gain an understanding of product efficacy and customer interactions.  

The importance of DSA and its intersection with digital shelf management becomes clear as it uncovers crucial product and consumer insights, facilitating optimization efforts such as: 

In essence, DSA helps paint a clearer picture of the digital shelf as part of a well-rounded omnichannel strategy, driving data-backed decisions and enhancing management efforts. 

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Search results positions 

As sales are increasingly driven by clicks and swipes on the digital shelf, the search bar is often the first step of a customer’s online buying journey. Securing a strong position in the ensuing results page is therefore paramount—customers can’t purchase what they can’t find, after all. 

Moreover, modern shoppers value convenience and personalization. They expect not only to find what they’re looking for but also to receive tailored recommendations to their interests. 

Satisfying these growing expectations doesn’t happen by accident; it necessitates strategic planning and careful optimization. Key strategies include: 

Advanced DSA technology confirms these aspects at every step of the customer journey. This captures potential revenue that might otherwise be lost due to poor optimization. 

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Product listing pages and assets 

In the dynamic and rapidly shifting landscape of market trends, retaining customer satisfaction often hinges on ensuring that your product descriptions, images, videos, and other assets remain accurate, consistent, and relevant. 

These qualities are especially important for brands, manufacturers, and retailers maintaining an omnichannel presence, where the task of updating and maintaining product listing pages and other digital shelf data can be daunting.  

For many brands, this is where product data syndication (PDS) comes into play—offering a means to syndicate and synchronize digital shelf data assets efficiently across all channels. 

Stock availability 

According to McKinsey, manual forecasting of stock availability typically yields only 60% accuracy, resulting in a 10% increase in inventory costs due to either overstocking or understocking. 

In contrast, a well-managed digital shelf implements real-time inventory tracking, resulting in benefits such as: 

The most advanced DSA software solutions don’t stop at auditing online product availability. They also synchronize with physical store locations, thereby boosting in-store performance and offline sales and improving inventory forecasting accuracy to as much as 90%. 

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Pricing policy and strategy 

For brands, manufacturers, and retailers in the omnichannel space, maintaining effective pricing strategies can present some challenges:  

Manual verification of these continually changing details is not practical. Instead, leading DSAs integrate with product information management (PIM) solutions to ensure internal price consistency, offering AI-assisted analysis to streamline efficiency.  

Competitive position 

Front-page search engine results and digital share-of-shelf are limited resources. To stay ahead of the competition and capitalize on the prime real estate of your customers’ screens, managing your digital shelf must go beyond internal data. 

To spot market opportunities and threats, it’s essential to monitor and harness competitor intelligence in key aspects like pricing, search ranking, product performance, and reviews.  

For brands, manufacturers, and retailers, the goal is not simply to exist on the digital shelf, but to excel on the digital shelf by driving greater visibility, engagement, and ultimately, conversions.  

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inriver: The complete digital shelf solution 

As digital shelf expectations grow, so does the need for an agile, scalable solution that can meet diverse demands and drive revenue for even the most complex omnichannel strategy. To meet these evolving expectations, inriver offers the complete PIM solution for digital shelf management. The inriver PIM has market-leading API-based syndication and digital shelf analytics, letting you ‘close the loop’ on your digital shelf and curate every byte of your omnichannel output.  

The composable inriver PIM goes beyond e-commerce. Our multi-tenant SaaS solution turns raw data into rich, valuable product information for every digital and in-person touchpoint. From sourcing and manufacturing to sales and recycling, the inriver PIM supports the entire life cycle of your products. This means you can extract the greatest value from your product data by always delivering accurate and reliable product information wherever it matters most. 

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frequently asked questions

what is digital shelf monitoring?

Digital shelf monitoring is a fundamental component of digital shelf management. It involves evaluating the health of your digital shelf by identifying potential vulnerabilities such as listing errors or inaccurate data. It also offers actionable insights on areas of opportunity ripe for optimization, like outdated product pages.  

what is a digital shelf strategy?

Digital shelf strategy is a vital part of a brand’s omnichannel marketing efforts. It seeks to optimize digital touchpoints across social commerce, e-commerce platforms, and resellers. The goal of a digital shelf strategy is to provide a seamless and engaging online consumer experience, which can drive brand loyalty and increase sales. 

what is the meaning of shelf management?

Digital shelf management is the continuous, closed-loop analysis and monitoring of digital shelf data. This process includes but is not limited to, monitoring product data for accuracy, ensuring brand consistency, optimizing search results, tracking inventory in real-time, and monitoring pricing and competitors.