How to pick the best digital shelf analytics vendor

Presented by: 
Josi MatharApril 21, 2021

We all know ecommerce is exploding, but do you know how to fuel your CPG’s online success fast and at scale? Read on to find out: 

  • Why digital shelf analytics (DSA) will help unlock growth like never before
  • The benefits of DSA and how it turns your frontline teams into ecommerce ninjas 
  • How to choose the best DSA partner to turbocharge long term success 

Winning with digital shelf analytics — speed is your new competitive advantage

Finally eGrocery has been cracked or has it?

CPGs can now reach new shoppers everywhere, any channel, any market, but the risks are just as enormous: the ‘digital shelf’ is changing at incredible speed and without the skills to manage, measure and optimize it, CPGs will lose share and sales. To drive sales online, today’s category, ecommerce and marketing managers must learn how to use automated category performance insights from across hundreds of e-retailers globally.

But does your digital shelf matter? Recent events catapulted the digital shelf centre-stage. With shoppers flocking to online shopping for everything from weekly grocery shops to big-ticket purchases, it appears a tipping point has occurred in shopper behavior that looks set to stay. Brands now have to act to get their share of the market across multiple channels.

Yet, it’s about much more than just data — teams now need to have the knowledge and capabilities to act fast to drive the right actions at scale. In doing so teams are building competitive advantage which is critical to becoming an  online category leader for the long term. Having the right insights to enable strategic conversations internally is great, having a DSA that gives you the actionable intelligence to have a strategic category conversation with retailers is even more powerful. 

Gartner’s Innovation Insights for Digital Shelf Analytics identifies DSA as the key technology for CPGs determined to win online market share. Having access to daily automated, competitive intelligence that displays reality vs expectations across key performance areas can no longer be delayed. After all, Mercatus projects eGrocery sales to reach $250B by 2025 so laying the groundwork now will create multiple opportunities for the future.

But how do you know which service is the best? We’ve summarized the little known facts and strategic questions and to consider during the selection process.

The unbeatable benefits of using digital shelf analytics

As digital commerce channels continue to evolve, it’s simply impossible to measure and audit content manually. DSA is a game-changing technology. Before we highlight the benefits, we’ll create common ground by quickly recapping what the digital shelf actually is.

We like to define the digital shelf as the complete representation of your brand(s) to shoppers across all your online retailers. Compared to the physical shelf, your brand owns the digital shelf for your products. This makes you solely responsible for its creation, management and improvement at all points. Thus, having digital shelf analytics (DSA) becomes non-negotiable.

An awe-inspiring overview of the primary benefits of using digital shelf analytics

How DSA helpsWhy it’s important
Acts as source of truth Daily automated, full category intelligence enables you to have strategic and influential conversations with national and global retailer partners
Breaks silos Provides insights that help align internal teams around strategy and omnichannel thinking. Ecommerce and frontline teams are no longer working in isolation — world-class DSA unites teams to be effective
Insights are actionableDelivers data insights that are actionable, attuned to frontline managers’ roles because you need people to increase online profitability not crunching spreadsheets
Holistic view on KPIsAn easy-to-read view of KPIs driving your online performance from search, availability, content, promotion / share of media, pricing, IMAP and ratings & reviews
Competitor benchmarkingEnables teams to quickly identify competitor activity, benchmarking current strategy vs category performance

Instead of making the list even longer, we’d like to sum it up this way: a digital shelf analytics provider must help you with so much more than “fixing the basics (of product content)”. 

The eGrocery marketplace evolves simply too fast and with online grocery sales to surpass $100 billion this year you must partner with a DSA software vendor dedicated to helping you build long-term strategies for dominating your category. 

So, how do you choose the right partner? Let’s explore.


How to pick the right digital shelf analytics software provider

Undoubtedly, there are requirements for features and functionalities to address the rapid growth of ecommerce for the here and now. But, don’t rely on short-term fixes to fuel your long term success online.

Regardless of where you are on your business maturity curve — leading DSA partners have to offer a scalable solution which will allow your brands to grow in a way that matches the dynamics of the ecommerce marketplace. 

They also have to integrate seamlessly with your existing tech stack and flex to the ways of working you have today while assessing your needs and equipping your teams for the future. What’s more, a full-service solution sees feeding seasoned industry experts advice to your teams as standard. 

The ultimate digital shelf analytics vendor selection checklist

With the above in mind, take this list of questions and considerations as your guide to what’s the best option for your CPG business before you decide between providers. 

  1. Actionable insights: who in the team is going to use the tool and what insights do they need to succeed in their role? How actionable is the data?
  2. Ease of onboarding: Will the setup and onboarding be easy? Is the solution cloud-based so it can integrate well with our PIM and other datasets? 
  3. Scalable solution: Is the solution scalable and will the insights make meaningful contributions from the start? 
  4. Building capabilities: Can the provider help build e-commerce capabilities and know-how fast? Are they openly sharing industry best practices and adapting to market teams’ needs?
  5. Reader-friendly: Will the tool unlock opportunities for growth in an easy-to-read and shareable format? Are executive-level scorecards available?
  6. Ethical data gather: Do they perform ethical retailer data gathering (“scraping”) or do we risk harming our trade partnerships with irresponsible practices that affect conversions and retailer’s site speed?
  7. Protect trade relationships: Is the vendor committed to driving my commercial agenda? Are they knowledgeable enough to help me protect and enhance my trade partnerships? 

If your current digital shelf analytics provider (or the one you're eyeing) can’t tick ALL of the above, it’s time to switch right now.

How to succeed at scale with digital shelf analytics

To win confidently on the digital shelf we illustrated having digital shelf analytics providers is now a non-negotiable technology for CPG and that picking the right one — in fact the best one for your business — is critical. 

The three main areas we covered in this article are,

  • Why digital shelf analytics helps CPGs unlock growth like never before
  • The benefits of DSA and how it turns your frontline teams into ecommerce ninjas 
  • How to choose the best DSA partner to turbocharge long term success 

And we included a vendor checklist that we believe will make or break your future success. It’s time to seek a solution that offers full-category competitive intelligence that unites your teams arounds ecommerce while driving your commercial agenda and creating win-win scenarios across your eRetailers.

Stop wasting profitable sales opportunities, take action and book a free demo with us today!


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