Skip to content

Digital shelf analytics: what you need to know

First movers on the digital shelf in manufacturing brands, retail and distribution are already doing this, so digital shelf analytics are an absolute must to compete in equal conditions. The right analytics provides the information required to make the changes which help to leverage opportunities or remedy a poorly-performing shelf.

Without the plan, the mindset or the software to provide customised digital solutions for your company, it isn’t feasible to manage and manipulate large volumes of data  manually. Omnichannel is starting to dominate commerce (on and offline) – honing the digital shelf is essential, so the time used to cleanse, sort through and act on data must be reduced. Otherwise, time to market lags behind competitors, mistakes are made (and later require rectification), and your digital shelf’s performance suffers.

What are the benefits of digital shelf analytics?

Digital analytics helps you to:

  • improve your product content and visibility 
  • determine share of search and competitors’ strategies
  • Discover and act on what shoppers are saying about your products (and why)
  • Optimise your assortment and execution of promotions

What happens without digital shelf analytics?

Apart from losing the will to live, as you pile through endless content, channels, images, video and so on you will be at a disadvantage in terms of:

  •         Inconsistent data quality due to manual checking
  •         Very time-consuming data management (like cleansing, adding, taking out, altering) 
  •         Potentially misleading datasets and indicators  from a sample of stores which cannot be guaranteed to be representative
  •         Lack of actionable insights, leading to substandard and neglected areas of your digital shelf.
  •         Limited capacity for benchmarking your digital shelf against competitors


Download our guide for How to win on the Digital Shelf

Analytics for digital shelf monitoring

Digital shelf monitoring should be ongoing: monitor all aspects of your products on all channels: product offer, text content, pricing, reviews and ratings. Check how well ads perform, monitor promotional campaigns, search (keywords) visibility and share of shelf across categories. Digital shelf monitoring of SEO is absolutely essential for brands to beat competitors on the digital shelf.

Essential features of a digital shelf analytics tool

There are several companies specialising in digital shelf analytics software with an array of tools to optimise your digital shelf. But the first question you should ask yourself is ‘What do I need from these tools? What does ‘well-performing’ mean for our company?’

Price monitoring: price heavily influences purchasing decisions, given that visits to comparison sites are becoming a more and more common part of the customer’s digital journey.

Stock availability tracking: irregular and inconsistent stock control shows lack of attention to detail and a potential customer takes a second to click away to a competitor’s site.

Content compliance monitoring: digital shelf analytics software will help you identify exceptions against catalog entries and monitor compliance at the level of product sales point. Make sure products are in the correct categories, with the right images. Discrepancies in product listings indicate a lack of consistency and attention!

Ratings and reviews: you could spot-check ratings and reviews manually but imagine the effort and inevitable oversights across all your channels. The right digital shelf software alerts when there’s a drop in ratings on a marketplace, or can flag a use case you could usefully address.

Real-time web crawling: commerce changes fast and constantly, meaning both opportunities and problems emerge rapidly. It isn’t much use to you if your digital shelf software collects data slowly or  not often enough. Software vendors make claims about delivering ‘data analytics in real time’ – check they can actually back up that claim! Capacity for fast change and responsiveness to changes is essential on the digital shelf, because shoppers are online 24/7/365. Measure your digital shelf metrics in the following areas:

Text monitoring: product page copy can make or break your product content. Displaying accurate information with  the right tone and length persuades visitors and increases conversion rates.

Digital asset monitoring: and whike we’re on content, digital analytics software can also montior product pages for images, videos, and other assets. Image recognition is an advanced capability, but relevant for the same reasons as monitoring your text. Outdated or poor images, videos, spec sheets and more arfe not only highly misleading, but highly irritating for customers, leading to an increase in returns.

{On this point, bear in  mind that more sophisticated digital assets are increasingly common (such as 360-degree product image spins, ‘phygital’ or augmented reality dressing rooms and image galleries, or digital displays and other signage. Are these pre-tagged with keywords for SEO?}  

Global tracking: most digital shelf analytics software vendors also claim their product crawls every channel, but in fact are frequently weighted toward domestic markets. If you’re present in international markets, choose a solution which can track activity wherever you need it to.

Conversion and cart abandonment rates: nearly half of British, French, German and U.S. shoppers abandon a product page without a second thought if they aren’t satisfied with the information or details provided. As ceCommerce customers yourselves, you know that shopping cart abandonment is still too common, whether it’s an overcomplicated checkout, lack of information or unexpected glitches in the purchasing process.

The customer tolerance threshold when encountering problems online is getting lower, so a high conversion rate mean you are doing it right – optimisation is constant, with regular updates and changes, and that the customer experience on your channels (all your channels) is as seamless as it can possibly be. Those are the digital shelf metrics which matter.

Above all, what you need is a holistic view of your digital shelf’s KPIs so your digital shelf analytics and digital shelf metrics cover all bases:

  •         Operational intelligence
  •         Content intelligence
  •         Marketing intelligence


Download our guide for How to win on the Digital Shelf

Digital shelf analytics should be embedded in your digital commerce strategy. At Start with Data, we have extensive experience in guiding and supporting clients with the development and implementation of a digital shelf strategy, using a PIM solution as an underpinning for top-quality product data.

We would love to talk to you in more depth about how we can help you to devise and implement your digital shelf strategy. So, why not get in touch with us!

Ready to take the next step in your PIM journey?

Our PIM experts are ready to talk