How to build a stronger brand with eCommerce analytics tools, Part I

Presented by: 
Josi Mathar2022

This post was updated and originally published May 2020.

As a brand owner selling through online retail websites like Tesco, Amazon and Walmart you need retail insight data to help make the right decisions for your brand.

There's no shortage of guidance on the internet - from brand building to digital marketing - however this doesn't always make figuring out how to best optimize your brand for online retail.

Instead of testing out tactics while crossing your fingers, let us give you a full breakdown of how to use the data and insights from eCommerce analytics tools to drive your online market share and revenue growth through actionable insights.

What are eCommerce analytics use cases for CPG brand growth

Ecommerce analytics provides you with knowledge about how your brand is performing online. Simply put, these data points convert to useful insights that can help your eCommerce teams better understand how your products are seen across online retailers. More so, this data when relevant also helps brand owners, sales individuals and marketers make the commercial decisions that accelerate online sales and increase profitability.

In short, eCommerce analytics can help you answer these key questions:

  • Am I using the correct imagery to showcase my products?
  • Where can I focus my team's sales efforts to improve online sales?
  • What are my competitors doing today that will impact my brand tomorrow?
  • How does my pricing model compare to similar products sold by the competition?
  • Are my products being found by shoppers when they search across retailers?
  • Are my product listings meeting brand compliance rules and regulations across my markets?
  • How do I know when to drive promotions or commercial upsell activities?
  • How do I manage pricing, promotion, presentation and assortment to build a more profitable online business?
  • Crucially, is my eCommerce strategy working?

If you have found yourself or your teams discussing the above while looking for ways to drive category growth online then you need eCommerce or digital shelf analytics.

Regardless of whether your trusted 3P sellers, such as Amazon or Walmart, provide you with sales numbers and conversion rates, this data doesn't present a complete picture.

As more retailers shift their investment into eCommerce your teams need to know what levers to pull across multiple channels. It is no longer enough to focus your eCommerce efforts on one or two big players online. The online retail landscape has now changed and the brands that succeed in this new normal will be those that have equipped their sales, marketing and commercial teams with the data to unlock growth.

However, data alone cannot ensure success: brands need to know they have the right skills and knowledge to win online. Online retail demands teams have the knowledge of what works, what's different and where to focus in order to optimise the chance of success. It's little wonder then that 77% of CEO’s also stated that operational effectiveness and organic growth are key focus areas for the next 12 months, a figure pre COVID19. Online retail certainly offers the opportunity to achieve growth, leaders will also want to integrate with a platform that helps your brand and commercial teams better understand the drivers as well as blockers behind your sales numbers. That way, you can optimise your eCommerce efforts accordingly to maintain a competitive advantage online.

Current events and the importance of eCommerce analytics

The UK's eCommerce sales skyrocketed 9.4 percent this past December pre COVID-19, and since COVID-19 categories seen as slow to adopt online retail such as fresh produce and online grocery are seeing change driven much faster than expected due increased consumer demand and it’s growth isn’t expected to diminish anytime soon as consumers adapt to choosing an online first shopping approach. Critically, this isn't just a single market trend, across the globe mature and developing eCommerce markets are seeing up to 80% week on week growth in eCommerce sales.

Nielsen COVID-19 analysis ecommerce growth total FMCG

With the world gripped by COVID-19, many brick and mortar shops experienced difficulties keeping their shelves stocked.

As a result, customers have started turning to online shopping for groceries and other necessities for the first time. As a brand leader ambitious to drive sales and profitability, it’s more important than ever to respond to mounting challenges online with a topical fit for purpose eCommerce strategy. Whatever your strategy is coming into 2020 one thing is for sure, COVID-19 has altered the demands and eCommerce has fast become the top priority for brands selling through retail.

As we embark and navigate unprecedented change, having your eCommerce teams armed with automated actionable insights to power revenue growth, product availability and visibility will be instrumental in winning market share online.

“The eCommerce channel continues to grow in importance for us and we’re really pleased to partner with e.fundamentals [which fits into the business as part of a wider company focus on eCommerce].” James Brett, Head of Customer Marketing Twining's

Why you need digital shelf analyticsThere are a variety of factors you must consider when moving focus to online: you want to ensure that your products are listed as intended but also that you gain an understanding of where opportunities exist so that you can enhance listings for growth and premium product categories - a factor we’ve compiled under the fundamental Sell the Benefits, and that your products comply with regulatory requirements which we summarise under Fix the Basics. Both fundamentals are part of our 8 fundamental framework of winning in online retail.

For category managers, insight data can help build and optimise the buying journeys for your brand's online customers. What worked in store is applicable to the online landscape - it's just the mechanism that has changed. You don't have that end aisle stand, but you do have the ability to leverage category pages and themed display advertising to help your products gain mind share and visibility. End aisles and physical displays work well in stores, but online, the journey from browse to consideration to purchase is much harder to craft if you don’t have the data to illustrate the full picture.

Fortunately, an integrated eCommerce platform can help you keep track of these variables or what we call fundamentals and thus guaranteed optimised customer journeys that help drive shopper views to conversions in basket. Online the journey from browse to consideration to purchase is much harder to craft without the data to illustrate the full picture.

The key to promotional effectiveness: a winning campaign backed by retail insights

What is the secret to more online sales? Execution of a winning campaign that optimises your promotional competitiveness. The right eCommerce platform can help you do just that. Let us explain how.

Developing a winning campaign is based on an overview of promotional activity across your key competitors and categories both current and historical. Armed with this retail insight and knowledge, brands can promote products much more effectively across target retailers for enhanced revenue gains.

A view of the promotional landscape across a category offline helps inform competitor activity online, it also serves to inform decisions your category managers and commercial teams can take within physical retail stores. What's more, this data will help you plan promotions in a way so that you run the right activity at the right time optimising your eCommerce strategy in real time. With e.fundamentals, you have access to such promotional data for the online landscape across all your key retailers. This arms your commercial, marketing and sales teams to fully understand and join up the in store and online promotional campaigns so that you promote and campaign effectively with a true omnichannel strategy.

With retail promotional insights and analytics your commercial and brand teams will be able to see all of your competitors promotional activity in one place, then click on any promotion and see how it's performing on a retailer's website. With access to your competitors' historical promotional activity, you can spot commercial opportunities throughout the calendar year anticipating market trends. Unlike in store such promotional activity also plays a part in driving product visibility; yes promotions make your product stand out on the store pages, but promotional activity also plays a role in supporting your brands online rankings when it comes to retail search engine optimisation. Thus, our eCommerce data analysis will revolutionise how you position your products with different online retailers. It'll give you a head-and-shoulder advantage over the competition. A true master plan for unlocking growth.

“We wanted an eCommerce partner that could move beyond just fixing the basics. The actionable insights the e.fundamentals tool provides will allow us to develop our online sales channel and bring our category vision to life.” Sean Ferguson, Digital marketing manager Molson Coors

Preliminary conclusion

Today, brands needs to prioritise the online shopping experience. It's essential to do so using eCommerce analytics to ensure marketing and sales team get a holistic view of product display and campaign performance across retailers.

In order to build a strong brand online, we discussed:

  1. The eCommerce analytics use cases for CPG brand growth
  2. Current events and the subsequent importance of eCommerce analytics
  3. Why brands need dedicated digital shelf analytics
  4. The key to promotional effectiveness is a winning campaign backed by retail insights

In part II of our series "How to build a stronger brand with eCommerce analytics", we're looking at 4 more aspects essential to strengthening your brand with eCommerce analytics such as Shopper Marketing insights, pricing and promotion and impediments to online sales and eCommerce analytics for better NPD execution and launching products online.

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