The Growing Importance of the Digital Shelf in the Retail Industry
By: Salman Saeed
When we go shopping in stores, we check products from the shelf. According to the research, consumers buy products from the middle shelf because it is closest to their eyes. Thus the placement of products in retail stores matters a lot. The retail industry is one of the fast and most flourishing industries in the world. Digitalization has changed the way we used to shop before. This breakthrough in shopping behavior came when Covid-19 hit the world. Whether it is groceries or electronic products, people prefer shopping online. Here comes the concept of a Digital shelf.
What is Digital Shelf?
The digital shelf is the process of reaching the shelf of the store without physical presence. It helps the shoppers to reach the shopping touchpoints after researching and discovering the products online. Moreover, it engages the customers with brands. The online shopping journey is random and it is occurring all the time. Whether a person gets influenced by an e-commerce site or any marketing post, he enjoys the digital shopping journey before visiting the store. It influences the consumers to buy products that increase sales.
Significance of Digital Shelf
The digital shelf is an important part of the marketing strategy of retail industries. Before visiting brick-and-mortar stores, people visit the stores digitally. They check the availability of the product online and then order it. We are living in a fiercely competitive world, if retail stores don't go for the digital optimization of the shelves, they lose a good market share. Digital Shelf provides new opportunities for online retailers to attract traditional shoppers. According to the latest research, 60% of consumers used smartphones to buy products from brick-and-mortar stores. It shows that the influence of digital shelves is increasing.
How to Win on the Digital Shelf
You can win on the digital shelf by providing a pleasant online shopping experience as compared to competitors. You can do this by understanding the customer,s requirements and optimizing the digital content accordingly.
Improve Visibility through SEO
Taking the assistance of SEO is like making the potential customer look towards the shelf. SEO can improve e-commerce website visibility. It will make your products rank high in the search results because the search engine is the first contact point of the potential customer in digital shopping. 75% of consumers stop scrolling the website after the first page. Impressing the consumer with the first page is no less than a necessity. The SEO team determines the keywords that shoppers mostly search for the products and brands and make such content and blogs that are valuable to match consumers' search.
Design Different Approaches for Different Marketplaces
You can't use one approach for different markets. For instance, a marketplace like Amazon requires a different approach from Google. Many people that want to shop will visit the Amazon digital shelf for their product search instead of Google. Therefore, you should learn how Amazon SEO works. Initially, you can get the most out of it by product listing titles and details that are similar to keywords. In addition to it, you can go for competitive prices, innovate products and find how paid advertising can work for your brand. In this regard, Shopper Intelligence can be used for higher-ranking keywords for products or brands and even for one page which is designed for different markets.
Focus on Digital Shelf Metrics
Traffic analytics is best at winning the digital shelf. You should have an understanding of the metrics so that you can track them continuously to understand how to respond to the order to improve sales. There are many digital shelf metrics that you can use.
Conversion Rate: This shows the number of people that visits the website and make a purchase. You will be surprised to know that eCommerce sites' conversion rates are below 3%. It is a standard. However, it changes with time. Examining the conversion rate shows what are the reasons that are hindering sales.
Bounce Rate: It shows the number of people that visits the site and leave. A high bounce rate tells that customers are not findings products according to their preferences. It impacts the ranking of the website.
Average Order Value: You can increase the value of orders by using different strategies. For instance, you can offer perks and loyalty points to the customers.
Customer Lifetime Value: This shows how much time a single customer spends with your company to show their worth. Monitoring CLV is very important to implement loyalty and reward programs.
Acquisition Cost: If the cost of attracting the customer is more than the money you make then you need to re-structure your acquisition cost strategy.
Go for Paid Advertising
Paid advertising on Google and Amazon is increasing retailers’ visibility online by creating brand awareness. Without any strategy, you should not invest money in advertising and expect high sales. For this, you need to learn the different channels and different kinds of paid advertising to know which advertising can work for your brand. Pay-per-click is the best option for many brands that want to show their visibility. It is as simple as its name. You can bid for an ad spot and you have to pay each time when someone clicks on the ad.
Improve the Quality of Visual Content
The retailers that want to win digital shelves adopt the latest eCommerce trends like 3D images, videos, 360° images, and augmented reality to show the potential customers, how does the product look like. In this way, shoppers are more likely to buy products and there is less probability of return. Shopify is using AR augmented reality function supported by a 3D warehouse. It shows a better picture and size and details of the products.
Reviews of the Customers
According to the research, for 55% of buyers, reviews are very important in making a buying decision. If a buyer gives a good review then it gives the signals to algorithms to place your products in highly searched products. With high ratings, your products can attract more customers. The job of the retailer and marketer is to create an image of the products that match customers' expectations. On the other hand, they need customers to rate and give reviews about their products as much as they can. They can do it if you send them push notifications, discount offerings, and email notifications. These reviews are considered a source of encouragement.
Consumer buying behavior is very unpredictable and it changes with time. The digital shelf is a technological innovation in the retail industry. The retailers have to look after the inventory of the stores so that they don't run out of stock. Out-of-stock products can hamper the customer's user experience. Traditional inventory management methods are not sufficient to back digital shelves. Therefore, many brands have integrated ERPs with different inventory tracking systems. This has prevented many brands to go out of stock. Brands require more than one method of checking the inventory to avoid delays and stockouts and to ensure visibility on the digital shelf.
The digital content on the web engages the customer and routes the customer to the digital shelf. Therefore, your content should be of high quality and in multiple languages. In addition, it requires SEO, which focuses on different shelf metrics, paid advertising, customer reviews, and inventory management to get the required results. You should develop your content to maximize sales through the digital shelf as it can do wonders for the retail industry.