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Digital shelf success – analysis and optimisation


Digital shelf optimisation measures the performance of your digital shelf in three key metrics: 

Digital shelf analytics is the set of processes which gathers the business intelligence you need to measure and assess the success of the sum of these three elements.

Ensuring products are in stock is the determiner of sales and conversion on the digital shelf, alongside a prominent search ranking. Organic search is becoming the most common entry point for product and brand discovery. Once on the shelf, the product detail page and the virtual ‘packaging’ are as important as the packaging promotion and shelf positioning are for products on a physical shelf.

Leveraging customer attention

You put items on the digital shelf to attract consumer attention. Capturing it depends on digital shelf optimisation at a granular level – examples are:

  • Ensuring digital assets used are attractive, eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing
  • Strategically positioning best-sellers and high volume products on the shelf
  • Ratings and reviews
  • Tagging each item with the updated and competitive price


Digital shelf analytics is the enabler of the process of continuously monitoring the above components, extracting and interpreting insights, and finally, acting on them.

Digital shelf analytics involves all of the above and more – clearly, you cannot physically check the shelves to examine if these performance factors are optimised, hence the need for the range of digital shelf analytics tools on the market.

How to analyse the digital shelf

Formerly, business users would copy-paste data on customer reviews, prices or sales onto an Excel sheet. A time-consuming exercise, prone to error, and wholly unsuitable if you need to display products on various websites, marketplaces or in overseas markets. Modern digital shelf analytics tools collect these relevant data using a web scraper (a tool which targets given websites, extracts the relevant data, and sends it to recipients in a specified format).

Data analytics and digital commerce

Online and physical shopping are blending into one, as omnichannel, which in itself is  an increasingly complex enterprise.  Brands now interact with their target through websites, videos, live shopping experiences, large marketplaces and multilingual territories, so how they manage their digital estate is critically important when it comes to powering strong digital shelf performance.

Mobile shopping is omnipresent, and, despite the vast migration to eCommerce during the pandemic, the separation of online and offline has become blurred – the focus on improving online conversion is key, but offline sales certainly haven’t gone away.

In omnichannel shopping, buyers don’t follow a linear path to purchase. For example, I might use a search engine to enter a search term, find a product, visit the retailer’s website. Then, I compare prices elsewhere. For a high-value item, I will visit a physical showroom before making a purchasing decision. There are variations on the customer journey, and this randomness and unpredictability is the challenge for all merchants. How to leverage every datapoint to optimise sales across all channels.

An omnichannel strategy renders unsuitable for the reality of electronic commerce the large majority of legacy data systems and siloed working styles. That’s why solution vendors for digital shelf optimisation have developed platforms with customisable digital shelf analytics scorecards. These provide merchants with fast and clear data with the insights enabling actionable measures to make a qualitative difference.

Download our guide for How to win on the Digital Shelf

What do digital shelf analytics tools measure?

  • track stock availability and changes to products (delistings)
  • check content compliance
  • analyse reviews and ratings
  • carry out web-crawling
  • monitor text content quality and suitability
  • monitor suitability and quality of digital assets (images, video, and so on)
  • track the above across international markets
  • monitor price evolution


Above all, what serves your best interests is benchmarking your digital shelf performance – not only against your own pre-defined standards, but against competitors’ performance. Digital shelf analytics should ideally provide you with a holistic and actionable set of insights into your KPIs in relation to the areas above.

A final word on product data

It might be stating the obvious, but the success of any digital shelf analytics strategy is predicated on using high-quality data. Otherwise, results are based on inaccurate information, insights become skewed or distorted, and decision-making about optimisation can be seriously compromised. Solidity of foundations for the digital shelf is based on the following elements regarding data quality. Here are some key points to take into account:          

  1.  Your PIM system exists in part to establish and maintain high standards of product data quality so you can guarantee consistency of            content across all channels, based on each channel’s display and compliance requirements.
  1. Save time and cost by leveraging the machine-learning-driven automated workflows within your PIM solution so you can simplify          enrichment and automatically de- duplicate data whilst maintaining quality standards.
  1. Keep a keen focus on core products and key attributes for your channels because this enables you to enrich the most revenue-                    generating areas
  2. Monitor and address returns data, as this may be an indication of problems with product content quality.
  1. Construct a customer-friendly taxonomy to categorise products without duplication. Not only is it simpler for customers to find            products, but you can also map to your marketplace categories easily as well as enabling you to inherit shared data from higher levels of the taxonomy.
  1. The PIM dashboard gives users oversight on status, alerts and opportunities in real time across all integrated functionalities,                        meaning that changes and optimisation can happen quickly and efficiently to keep the digital shelf at the level of quality needed in              order to win out against competitors, drive traffic, increase conversion rate, and enhance the bottom line.

At Start with Data, we support and guide our clients towards digital shelf optimisation.  Our experience and expertise will help you implement the changes you need to compete in a highly challenging digital ecosystem. Contact us for a more detailed conversation about how we can help you master your digital shelf.

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