What is digital shelf monitoring?

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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.

With the world now buying online, the digital shelf is a stage that showcases the heart and soul of your brand. But as brands, manufacturers, and retailers in the omnichannel space are well aware, what’s seen on the digital shelf represents only a fraction of the total effort that goes into getting products online.  

Behind the scenes, the digital shelf is a bustling, self-contained ecosystem. An ecosystem that requires extensive coordination at many levels before it can debut your products on the virtual stage. Critical to this coordination is digital shelf monitoring, the process of ensuring products remain stocked, listings accurate, and content error-free.  

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Why monitor your digital shelf? 

As brands strive to strike a balance between in-person and online sales, the digital shelf poses unique challenges. However, with effective software that can monitor and harness the data-driven strength of your digital shelf, such challenges can be converted into promising sales opportunities. 

Digital shelf monitoring facilitates several benefits, including: 

These benefits are more than theoretical advantages. Online retail is projected to comprise nearly 40% of global retail sales by 2026, so the necessity for an optimally monitored and managed digital shelf is more than clear.  

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What to monitor on the digital shelf 

At its foundation, digital shelf monitoring should include keeping track of product performance and buyer behavior. However, there are several other key elements to consider when monitoring your digital shelf performance. 

Content compliance monitoring 

Product information compliance is an ever-evolving aspect of the digital shelf. It’s also an essential aspect to keep on top of, as insufficient or incorrect information can result in your products’ violation of policies or requirements of marketplaces, resellers, and even regulators. Here are some of the key compliance issues you need to monitor:  

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Search monitoring 

Complex algorithms behind the search bar determine whether your products capture customer attention from the front page or remain hidden on page four or five. Thus, it’s essential to monitor key digital shelf metrics associated with product discoverability and search engine optimization (SEO), such as: 

Monitoring these dynamic factors offers valuable insight into how well your products are perceived and represented on the digital shelf, providing opportunities to optimize your listings to become more visible.  

Price monitoring 

Careful oversight of product prices in near real-time is critical to digital shelf performance. Software-based price monitoring alerts brands to market fluctuations and competitor pricing changes, enabling a swift response to maintain a competitive edge. 

Such pricing data also empowers brands to make strategic adjustments where necessary and gather intelligence on long-term market trends. 

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Stock availability monitoring 

Keeping the digital shelves stocked (and the physical shelves in sync) is a pivotal element of digital shelf monitoring. Stock issues can cause significant challenges for even the most well-established brands and manufacturers. Monitoring stock availability can help you: 

Ratings monitoring 

Customer ratings are an open book into product sentiment and quality. By monitoring this facet of the digital shelf, brands can gain invaluable insights into how their products are faring in the eyes of their customers.  

Such monitoring also enables brands to respond quickly to negative feedback. This can help mitigate harmful posts and reinforce your commitment to customer satisfaction. 

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Category monitoring 

The proper categorization of products can make or break their visibility. Keeping track of category positioning is critical across channels, in particular third-party marketplaces and resellers.  

Monitoring category position as part of an omnichannel strategy can reveal new opportunities and threats, allowing brands to maximize product discoverability and digital shelf performance.  

Can digital shelf monitoring help me optimize the digital shelf? 

Digital shelf monitoring serves as the fundamental underpinning to optimizing your digital shelf, offering the key insights that drive effective strategic decisions and reinforce your position in your market.  

Attentive monitoring of your digital shelf paves the way to numerous optimization benefits, including: 

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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 monitoring. 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

who uses digital shelf monitoring?

Brands, manufacturers, and retailers utilize digital shelf monitoring with omnichannel and social commerce strategies. It’s also an essential tool for brands planning to implement these strategies, as it enables them to effectively manage their online product information and customer interactions across multiple platforms. 

can digital shelf monitoring help me get more insights into my customers? 

Absolutely. Digital shelf monitoring solutions, such as inriver, allow for the ethical gathering of engagement intelligence. By tracking consumer interactions with your digital shelf, you can gain valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences, enabling you to tailor your offerings and marketing strategies accordingly. 

what software is best to use for digital shelf monitoring?

The ideal software for digital shelf monitoring offers a holistic approach to managing and optimizing your digital shelf. This requires product information management (PIM) software with digital shelf analytics (DSA) and product data syndication (PDS) capabilities. Inriver’s PIM solution stands out in this category, providing comprehensive tools for measuring digital shelf metrics.