Marketers and brand managers are a bit like paleontologists. No, you’re not digging for dinosaur bones on a daily basis, but ideally you are unearthing valuable insights that help sell products to more customers.
The major challenge? There’s a T-Rex-sized amount of data out there.
Modern digital shelf analytics technology captures more data than ever, and that means business leaders are depending on managers to find ways to glean actionable insights from all the data these tools provide. After all, numbers don’t mean much if you don’t know how to apply them.
And with competitors constantly seeking even the slightest advantages, the managers who can pull the best insights from the best data will win the digital shelf.
The good news is that if you know where to look, the digital shelf itself can offer a number of insights for optimization. Things like customer feedback, stock availability, and even your competitors’ products provide a wealth of information just waiting to be utilized.
Let’s dig into the details of how you can use data and insights to help increase your sales to Jurassic proportions.
Digital shelf insights vs. digital shelf data
First, let’s clarify terms by taking a quick look at the difference between insights and data.
Data are simply raw points of information. If you see that 200 customers have all upvoted the same question, that’s an example of a data point. Insights are what you take from the data—actionable steps to benefit your customers and improve your products’ standing on the digital shelf. Seeing that 200 customers are asking the same question and then deciding to incorporate the answer into the product description is an example of an insight.
Or, let’s say that you learn that a competitor is targeting the keywords, “cat food for elderly cats,” “elder cat food,” “old cat kibble,” and “senior cat chews.” Those are data points. The cat food you’re selling is every bit as good for elderly cats, but it isn’t marketed that way. So the insight you gain is that the elderly cat market may be a new avenue to explore with your existing product.
Four sources of digital shelf insights
When you’re looking for digital shelf insights, make sure to explore these four sources.
1. Aggregate review sentiments
Reviews are direct feedback from your customers, providing an invaluable window into what they think about your products. Both positive and negative reviews offer insights you can use for optimization.
With positive reviews, customers will tell you what they love about your products, how they use them, and which features they most appreciate. This not only lets you know what you’re doing right, but it can make for great points to emphasize in your marketing copy. Customers may even have found uses for your products that you’d never thought of before, opening up whole new avenues of digital shelf optimization to explore.
Negative reviews can help you root out and address problems that are costing you sales. Perhaps an outdated product description misled customers about what they were buying, or maybe there’s an issue you can address in the next update for your product. Regardless, negative feedback gives you a chance to make things right with affected customers and to fix the problem so that it doesn’t affect future customers.
It can be quite a chore to sort through all the reviews from across different retailers in order to pull out these insights. You’ll need a tool designed to help you with this process.
That’s where Brand Monitor comes in. The Ratings and Reviews module lets you bring all your customer reviews together in one convenient dashboard and filter them down by specific criteria. You can see at a glance the overall sentiments people are expressing by zooming out to see review trends and rating distributions. You can also set thresholds and see how many of your ratings/reviews are within those thresholds—the perfect starting place for you to discover digital shelf insights.
2. Popular questions
Many digital retailers include a Q&A box on product pages in addition to the ratings and reviews section. These questions can often be upvoted by other customers, making it easy to see which questions are most popular and most worth responding to.
While it’s absolutely worthwhile for you to respond directly within the Q&A box, if enough folks have asked the same question, it may be worth answering in the main product description as well. Not everyone who has that question is going to bother scrolling down to find the answer, and you don’t want to lose those potential customers when there’s an easy solution.
For example, if you’re selling water bottles, you may find a lot of folks wondering whether they’ll fit in a car’s cup holder. Even if you’ve already listed the dimensions of the bottle, people probably aren’t going to bother measuring their car to find out. They just want a straightforward answer. Assuming your bottle will fit into most standard-sized cup holders, that’s worth mentioning in the copy.
You may even find a brand-new way to promote your product. Let’s say yours is a general-purpose water bottle, but people start asking whether it will work as a water bottle for cycling. Intrigued by the question, you look into what makes a bottle work well with bikes, and it turns out yours is already a great fit. That’s an entire category you’ve been missing out on for promoting your product, and now you can reach a whole new set of customers.
3. Stock availability
When you run an ad campaign, you want the best return on investment possible. And a sure-fire way to keep that from happening is to advertise for a product that’s out of stock. It’s not only wasted money on an ad that yields no returns, but it runs the risk of frustrating potential customers, pushing them toward a competitor’s products instead.
But stock availability changes quickly, and retailers don’t always make that easy for you to keep track of. It may be that the product had plenty of stock at first, but your ad performed so well that customers quickly purchased them all. You’ll want to know right away when your product goes out of stock so you can either turn off spending on that ad campaign or redirect it to another product.
You might also want to keep track of your competitors’ stock availability. When one of their products goes out of stock, that could make for a great time to advertise on their branded keywords, positioning yourself as the first available alternative.
Brand Monitor can help you with all of this, tracking the stock availability of your products and your competitors’ products alike. You’ll get an alert the moment an SKU’s stock status changes, making it easy to turn on or off your ad campaigns as needed. Saving money and winning new customers is a win-win.
4. Competitor sponsored search keywords
When you advertise to promote your products, you do so based on the keywords you believe potential customers are searching for. But keyword research is difficult, and most retailers don’t usually give you detailed data to work with.
Sometimes, customers search for products like yours using keywords you’ve never thought of. And sometimes, competitors will have already figured out those keywords to advertise for.
That’s why it’s become best practice to consider your competitors’ ad campaigns when forming your keyword strategy. With the right tool, you can piggyback off your competitors’ SEM strategy and put their marketing to work for you.
Brand Monitor allows you to see all the terms your competitors have paid to show up for. If they’re advertising based on any keywords that you aren’t, you’ll have the chance to capitalize on that previously missed opportunity.
Find the insights you need
Discovering such insights for digital shelf optimization means collecting and analyzing way more data than is practical to do manually. It also requires real-time alerts to let you know the moment that you should take action.
You need a tool to make all this effortless. And that’s exactly what Brand Monitor was created to do. Convenient dashboards allow you to easily sort through all the noise and find exactly the information you need to know. Learn what key insights you may be missing out on.
Happy digging for those valuable bones of your marketing efficiencies!