7 Digital Shelf Metrics Every Brand Should Monitor

The human race produces data like Oreos makes flavors. At last check, Netflix users stream 404,444 hours of video every minute, Zoom hosts 208,333 participants in meetings every minute, consumers spend $1,000,000 online every minute, and FYI, Oreos has something like 85 different flavors and counting (if you’d even call Game of Thrones Limited Edition a “flavor”). We’re afraid to ask how many #TellMeWithoutTellingMe TikTok videos are uploaded every minute. And even though knowledge is power, it’s not always a direct line. Without separating the good data from noise, you’re likely to choke on it all, even with a Wasabi Oreo chaser.

Now consider that every brand wants their products to be more discoverable and their pages more effective. How do you make that happen? What needs to improve to put you ahead of the competition? The best products don’t always win the digital shelf.

In the world of ecommerce, the sheer volume of data points you can monitor is overwhelming. But as Oreo teaches us, not all data is equally valuable. If you want to stay on top — or you’re trying to get there — here are seven key digital shelf metrics every brand should pay attention to.

1. Share of search

Every major retailer has its own search engine with its own unique algorithms and data points to determine the best results for every search query. Ranking well on Target.com doesn’t mean you’ll also rank well on Walmart.com. Ranking well for one description of your product category doesn’t mean you’ll rank well for another.

If you want to win the digital shelf and get a bigger slice of the pie than your competition, you need to actively monitor how much of a retailer’s search traffic is going toward your product pages. You need a list of keywords to monitor and insight into where your traffic is coming from. Is your search traffic organic or paid?

As you can imagine, this isn’t something you can manually check. Even if you had the time to try every query for every product on every retailer’s site, that would only tell you your product’s position. You need to know search volume.

This is where PriceSpider’s Brand Monitor comes in. With it, you get at-a-glance insights into your products’ share of search for key terms (as determined by you) and the ability to track changes over time.

2. Number of sellers

More sellers means more sales, right? Not necessarily. When an online marketplace like Amazon or Walmart gets too crowded with multiple sellers carrying your products, it can actually hurt your overall sales. 

If there are too many sellers, consumers who want your products can’t tell which sellers are legitimate. People who stumble into your products through searches for your category will assume there’s something sketchy going on. This uncertainty increases the perceived risk of purchasing from one of these sellers.

Aim to have three or fewer sellers per marketplace. That allows for competition between sellers without creating too much confusion among consumers.

The larger your catalog and the more marketplaces you sell on, the harder it is to track and monitor this metric. PriceSpider makes it easy by consolidating information on all your sellers for each product.

3. Content compliance score

Imagine if every retailer’s site described your products differently. That would create a confusing experience for consumers who shop around for your products. Naturally, each product page would perform differently.

As your product catalog grows and your brand evolves, new people join your team and product page assets inevitably change over time. If you don’t vigilantly monitor your product pages to ensure they stay the same (or change in the same ways), you’ll wind up with disparate perceptions of your brand and pages that don’t perform as well as they could.

To prevent this, you need a definitive version of every product page, including the titles, descriptions, videos, images, and other assets you want and the order they should appear in. You can then evaluate the “content compliance” of each page on your retail partners’ sites.

Brand Monitor automatically crawls all your product pages and gives each of them a “compliance score” based on how closely they align with your established brand guidelines. This enables you to quickly identify the pages that need updates and the assets you need to change. You can also compare your pages’ content to your competitors, getting high-level intel about what you might be missing.

4. Conversion rate

Obviously, if you want to see how your brand is performing on the digital shelf, you need to know how often people buy your products after viewing them. Low conversion rates are a strong signal that something needs to change on your page. 

It’s also important to account for how conversion rates vary from one seller to another. Some retailers are much better at securing sales than others. If all your product page content is the same, but your conversion rates are different, that can be an indicator that there’s a difference in consumers’ willingness to buy from those retailers.

Whenever you have a choice, you should aim to drive your audience to your highest converting pages. That only happens if you have visibility into your retailers’ conversion rates. PriceSpider’s Where to Buy tool automatically tracks conversion rates, so you always know where to send your traffic.

5. Stock status

Inventory plays a critical role on the digital shelf. It doesn’t matter how good a product or brand is, if they’re out of stock for days or even just hours, their rankings will drop and someone else will be on top.

Keeping a close eye on your own stock can help you fine-tune your distribution network to ensure your rankings don’t slip. It’s also worth monitoring your competitors’ stock. When they’re out of stock, it’s a crucial opportunity for your brand. Double down on your ad spend for the product category or your competitors’ branded search to catapult your way up from the bottom of the search results, or if you’re already close to the top, scale back advertising to coast into first.

Either way, you want to know as soon as your competitors are out of stock. While this would be a pain to monitor manually — you’d have to pay someone to constantly click refresh on every page — Brand Monitor can track it automatically. You can get alerts or establish triggers to automate your reaction when a competitor goes out-of-stock.

6. Traffic

You can’t have conversions without traffic. And the more traffic you have, the more important your conversion rate becomes. The number of visitors on your product pages helps you gauge demand for and interest in each product, and it can also reveal how effectively your marketing campaigns are driving people to specific pages.

Understanding where your website traffic comes from and where it’s going is crucial for ecommerce optimization and analyzing your performance on the digital shelf. When you know which channels are most effective, you can focus your time and energy on the marketing endeavors that yield the greatest results.

Unfortunately, you can’t track traffic on a retailer’s website or a marketplace. And retailers can’t simply hand that data over to brands. But with a universal tracking tool like Where to Buy, you can see how much traffic you’re driving to each retailer’s website. This context is especially valuable when you need a retailer to update a product page or you’re negotiating other aspects of your relationship. It’s some of your most valuable leverage because you can always direct that traffic to another retailer that’s more invested in your relationship.

7. Cart abandonment rate

In ecommerce, it’s a given that some consumers will put your products in their cart and then leave the website. Abandoned carts don’t necessarily mean someone no longer wishes to buy your product. It might just mean it wasn’t the right time. There may be a conversation that needs to take place first. Or perhaps they didn’t have a credit card on hand or wanted to wait until they could coordinate with other purchases. 

But if your cart abandonment rate is significantly higher for particular products or on a particular retailer’s site, that’s likely an indicator that there’s a problem. It could simply mean that the price tag is scaring away potential customers, or that taxes and shipping costs are surprising them at checkout. It could also mean that you (or a retailer) is failing to provide a quality checkout experience. Maybe the customer was expecting to use a particular purchasing method that wasn’t available.

Cart abandonment rate is a key digital shelf metric you’ll want to watch. While there are aspects of it that you can’t control, spikes in cart abandonment usually mean that there’s something wrong with the customer experience. 

In ecommerce, for example, it’s becoming more common for brands to send customers straight from a PDP on their website to the cart on a retailer’s site. The intent is to maximize conversions, but it doesn’t always pan out that way. It’s a disorienting customer experience that attempts to bypass crucial stages in the customer journey, so it often increases cart abandonment rates.

As you analyze your performance on the digital shelf, pay attention to how various changes — on your end or a retail partner’s — impact cart abandonment rates.

Get a free guide to digital shelf analytics

The digital shelf is vast, with endless factors to monitor and analyze. In The Complete Digital Shelf Analytics Playbook, you’ll learn how to navigate this complex and rewarding space. 

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