3 expert takeaways from the Gartner Market Guide for Digital Shelf Analytics


January 30, 2024

inriver Senior Principal Advisor and all-round digital shelf analytics expert Joakim Gavelin shares his insights into the latest Gartner Market Guide.

The digital shelf can be a challenging sales environment. Nowadays, brands and manufacturers selling online are doing so with more products and SKUs across more channels and markets than in the past. In addition to owned channels, products are being sold on more third-party reseller sites and marketplaces. All this means one thing: there’s a lot more data related to products sold online than ever before. 

The key to building success online is the ability to effectively operationalize this digital shelf data. Too often, brands and manufacturers simply distribute product information to their online channels without proper oversight on how that information performs, and what they need to do if it doesn’t. Couple this with the fact that many third-party resellers and marketplaces lack the robust data reporting brands require to avoid digital shelf oversights and the need for a new solution to this issue is clear. 

These challenges are why digital shelf analytics (DSA) technology is taking on an increasingly important role in brands’ e-commerce strategies. DSA technology empowers brands and manufacturers selling online with business-critical insight into how their products perform online – and why. In their recent Market Guide for Digital Shelf Analytics, market analysts at Gartner explored the growing DSA market, detailing the key capabilities of the landscape, and what prospective users should look for in their DSA vendors. As a strong advocate for the many benefits DSA can bring, here are my three takeaways from this influential guide. 

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1. The power of extensive channel analysis 

When it comes to managing digital shelf data, the ability of DSA technology to support massive data volume, and at scale, is key. When in the market for Digital Shelf Analytics technology, brands should evaluate the breadth of channels that each vendor monitors and choose one that meets all their needs.  

As the Gartner Market Guide for Digital Shelf Analytics states: “Typically, DSA applications will scrape data for the SKUs provided by clients, but they can also compare data with other SKUs in a particular category in order to develop competitive insights.”  

Only through comprehensive monitoring across all their sales endpoints can brands truly maximize the value DSA technology brings to their operations. This coverage is key to sellers being able to identify the most profitable channels and markets for their products and optimize their product listing pages (PLPs) accordingly. As Gartner identifies in their report, inriver regularly analyzes 1000 sales channels. This includes marketplaces, resellers, and retailers such as Amazon, Bol, Wayfair, and Zalando, to name just a few. This provides our customers with a significantly more thorough approach to digital shelf monitoring than what’s offered by either Syndigo (with 420 channels) or Salsify (with 69). 

Inriver understands the need for complete oversight at scale. That’s why our digital shelf analytics technology crawls thousands of e-commerce sites every single day with ethical spiders that give our users a complete 360° view of their products’ online performance. With inriver Evaluate, brands can check stock levels, visibility, and pricing for any online retailer, worldwide. Users can also view historical and trend data to optimize their channel strategy today and tomorrow. These actionable insights help brands improve buyer conversion, increase product revenue, leverage upsell/cross-sell opportunities, and keep up with the dynamic digital shelf. 

2. The importance of product data governance 

As the number of SKUs, products, channels, and markets grows, so does the difficulty for brands to maintain governance over their product content. In their market guide, Gartner highlights the importance of having a robust data governance strategy in place to ensure that product content is accurate, consistent, and up to date. As suggested in the Gartner Market Guide for Digital Shelf Analytics, brands should “use DSA applications for content monitoring and governance, product positioning optimization and competitive intelligence.”  

To achieve the level of data governance needed for digital shelf success, it’s essential to look beyond the capabilities of DSA technology. Product Information Management (PIM) is a foundational software solution for brands and manufacturers wanting to secure bidirectional governance of product-related data across the supply chain that speaks to end users, not just internal audiences. 

person shopping online

The inriver platform integrates PIM and DSA into one complete solution that empowers users with product data governance across all their internal and external channels. The data collected by DSA technology on the digital shelf is fed back to the PIM platform, and into the single, scalable source of truth, the inriver PIM provides for every SKU. Only then can this business-critical data be effectively analyzed, monitored, and optimized accordingly to meet the needs of the digital shelf. 

Inriver is leading in sustainability and the upcoming DPP regulation with scalable, high-performance data modeling to capture the information required to support ESG reporting. Our solution covers the full product data life cycle with internal and external onboarding, and product enrichment, including leveraging AI capabilities, omnichannel content distribution, and evaluation, providing actionable guidance.   

3. The impact of AI-powered content creation and syndication 

The need to “close the loop” and act on the insight provided by DSA technology is key to ensuring your digital shelf remains optimized for conversions. By choosing an advanced PIM solution with integrated DSA capabilities, you can take advantage of AI-powered content creation. By leveraging artificial intelligence, you can create significant time-saving efficiencies in your content creation operations while ensuring the right product stories are told on every online channel. The final piece of the “closing the loop” puzzle is then syndicating this optimized content back out to your channels. 

Inriver’s comprehensive platform combines all these capabilities into one discrete solution that connects insight to action. Users can create AI-generated product content, syndicate it out to all their owned and third-party channels, analyze their product’s performance, and then respond to this analysis from within a single centralized platform. This not only enhances efficiency but also ensures that our users stay ahead in the rapidly evolving digital landscape. 

inriver: The complete “closed-loop” solution  

The Gartner Market Guide for Digital Shelf Analytics emphasizes inriver’s standout features as a leading vendor of not only DSA but of the comprehensive suite of software solutions modern businesses need to enable digital shelf success. As Gartner states, inriver leverages AI to provide “content onboarding, PIM, content creation and enrichment, translation, content governance, and syndication” in addition to our market-leading DSA technologies.  

As a seasoned DSA professional, I am incredibly proud of the continued digital shelf value inriver brings to our global network of customers. Across industries and markets, brands, manufacturers, and retailers are discovering the difference a closed-loop solution can make to their e-commerce operations. If you want to see first-hand what a closed-loop solution could do for your business, get in touch and schedule a personalized demo with one of inriver’s digital shelf experts. 

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  • Joakim Gavelin

    VP Digital Shelf Services

    Joakim has over 25 years experience in people, sales and business management, helping brands and business increase their presence, sales and profit. With deep knowledge in retail sales and intelligence to consumer behavior to global sales, he is familiar with both B2C and B2B - no matter the size, industry or location of company.

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