Shoppers love looking at things, and if you want your business to succeed, you’d better make sure your products are as appealing across the digital shelf – where they’re housed online – as they are within a physical retail space.
According to Statista, online shopping sales surpassed 5.1 trillion US dollars globally in 2021. It’s clear that more and more consumers are using the digital shelf to find out about and interact with new products; they no longer need them physically present when deciding whether or not to purchase.
Creating a digital shelf strategy is all about supplying websites with high-quality product information that drives sales. But how do you know which areas will best showcase your brand?
In this article, we explain how to create a digital shelf strategy that helps your business stand out online, for all the right reasons.
What makes a successful digital shelf strategy?
Any company looking to improve its online presence needs to have a successful digital shelf strategy in place. This means paying attention to a wide range of factors, including:
- Digital shelf analytics
- Optimisation of key elements, such as content and imagery
- Your intended customer journey
- Shopper feedback
Seeing as the digital shelf is a limitless space, it can be daunting for businesses looking to boost their visibility in the ecommerce world. But don’t worry; as long as you approach your digital shelf strategy as an ongoing project, you’ll be able to make the gains you need in the areas that matter to your business.
10 ways to create a winning digital shelf strategy
Want to win at the digital shelf? Well, you first need to coordinate your brand across all its online channels, before tracking performance to see what’s working and what isn’t.
Here are our tips for creating a digital shelf strategy that will put you on the path to ecommerce excellence:
1) Hear what customers are saying
On the digital shelf, customers are able to give their opinions about your brand more freely than ever before. This feedback often gets shared far and wide, and if your business is going to thrive in the ecommerce space, you must listen to what people have to say about the company.
Only by having ears to the ground with features such as social listening and review monitoring will you be able to respond effectively and retain your market position.
2) Play to your strengths
Your brand undoubtedly has a USP. Whether you pride yourself on customer service or are committed to specific causes, identifying what sets your brand apart from the competition is the first step to standing out on the digital shelf.
You can then tailor your digital shelf strategy to suit what makes you unique. Are you better off leveraging social media channels rather than producing articles (or vice-versa)? Do your product pages show off your brand’s personality? Are your team equipped to convey this if customers reach out to them? Once your individual strengths come into play online, you know your strategy is working.
3) Embrace consistency
Part of being a successful ecommerce company is providing consistent, accurate information to your customers. This applies to any partners you work with, too.
Selling through multiple retailers means establishing a single source of truth from which to update product content quickly and easily. By updating key pages whenever your business makes significant changes, you help guarantee brand compliance, which is hugely helpful to shoppers on the digital shelf.
4) Be specific
At the same time, you must liaise closely with retailers listing your products online, specifying exactly how you want them to appear. Relying on third parties for such crucial decision-making could lead to incorrect portrayals of your brand, which may in turn harm its current market position.
Explain to key stakeholders how your products should look, and put the right tracking tools in place. With software like Magpie DBX, you can monitor how your partners are displaying your products across the digital shelf, giving you the opportunity to act fast if things go wrong.
5) Know what you can do (and what you can’t)
Too many businesses fail on the digital shelf because they overreach and can’t deliver the experience shoppers want.
For instance, if your team is small, there’s no point implementing a large-scale digital shelf strategy; this could result in substandard workflows, and you risk disappointing customers with hastily thought-out experiences.
Try keeping a record of all the resources you have at your disposal. And remember, it’s better to do one thing really well than lots to a poor quality.
A few questions to ask yourself when devising your digital shelf strategy are:
- Can customers convert easily through my digital touchpoints?
- Do I have the tools in place to scale my business online?
- Have I got the staff who can help me realise my vision?
6) Decide which metrics you want to measure
Not all businesses have the same KPIs. Some want to increase their sales, some focus on customer support, and others simply feel like giving their brand awareness a boost. Choosing the right metrics as part of your digital strategy is key; once measured, you can see how well it’s going and how you can improve.
Try creating a deck or document that has all your KPIs listed, with metrics corresponding to each point. That way, you’ll always know what to look out for and test as far as digital shelf elements go.
7) Understand your current position
Whether you’re only just beginning or currently dominating the market, your brand will at least have some space on the digital shelf. But is it clearly displayed or pushed right to the back?
Understanding the prominence (or visibility) of your business has a direct bearing on its growth. After all, how can you know where you’re going if you don’t even know your starting point?!
8) Identify new markets
In the good old days, brick and mortar stores catered for local customers and visiting footfall. Now, though, there’s more opportunities online.
The digital shelf allows you to target national or even global markets. This way, you’ll be able to reach customers you didn’t even know were there, and potentially add more kudos to your brand.
9) Keep growth in mind
All businesses want to grow; it’s how they stay competitive in a highly saturated market. As such, you should build your digital shelf strategy around potential expansion.
By optimising your scalability, you stand a much better chance of gaining market share and appearing more prominently on the digital shelf.
10) Analyse and optimise
A successful digital shelf strategy is all about analysing performance, then acting based on what you find. Don’t just relax once your company starts to do well online – you’ll soon fall behind the competition!
As a rule, month-on-month reporting across all your digital channels will help identify any problem areas of your digital shelf strategy, so you can optimise them effectively.
How to ensure your digital shelf looks its best
Have you ever shopped in stores where you wished that staff had given a little more care to the displays? Your digital shelf is just as important, and you must take the necessary steps to ensure it always looks great.
It’s no good using out-of-date imagery on your product pages, or having a bunch of 404 errors come up when someone clicks on a landing page. If you want to keep your brand leading the pack, you must make any and all changes concurrently across your channels so no-one is left feeling confused.
Also, a big pitfall is logos. Companies who often change their logos and designs can inadvertently alienate customers, which inevitably leads to reduced sales. Bottom line: be consistent! And don’t leave any channel behind.
Using Magpie DBX to create a digital shelf strategy
Streamlining digital shelf activity from one central hub, Magpie DBX has numerous tools to help you grow your ecommerce business.
For instance, our price tracker provides 24/7 reporting on not only your products but also those of your competitors, alerting you if there are any market changes. Likewise, the Stock & Availability feature lets you track delivery times and messaging, so you’re always able to meet customer expectations.
Want to learn more about how Magpie could help you create your dream digital shelf strategy? Get in touch with us today and request a free demo!
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