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    Expert Roundtable: Digital Shelf Management Techniques for Accelerating Modern Commerce Capabilities

    December 31, 2020
    6 minute read
    Expert Roundtable: Digital Shelf Management Techniques for Accelerating Modern Commerce Capabilities
    “Think about commerce, instead of just ecommerce, as the digital world fully expands.”
    — Lauren Livak, Senior Commerce Strategy Manager, Salsify

    Brands often get caught up in the haste of ecommerce. Digital channels have rapidly expanded throughout 2020, and brands are racing to transform their business to become more digitally mature.

    But the problem with focusing entirely on ecommerce to expand your revenue is that your brand can miss much of the digital opportunities available.

    Customers are digitally impacted in every available channel, not just ecommerce. Channels, such as brick-and-mortar; buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS); mobile; on-demand services, public venues; voice commerce; and virtual reality (VR) now include digital commerce capabilities — blurring the lines between physical and digital shopping.

    The future of commerce is digital by default, but focusing entirely on ecommerce will not win you success.

    We hosted a recent roundtable webinar with Benjamin Gournay, principal consultant at Gournay Consulting, Wenda Kossina, syndication specialist at Nestlé, and Lauren Livak, senior commerce strategy manager at Salsify.

    During their session, they discussed the benefits of unifying in-store and online experiences, the teams needed to support them, and how brands can best partner with retailers.

    Build a Team to Focus on the Digital Shelf

    Brands often can make the common mistake of investing in a product experience solution and then split up the responsibilities of working within the platform to many stakeholders without unifying the actual team in purpose and goal.

    When it becomes a small part of everyone’s job, no one will have the focus or the expertise to meet your digital goals.

    A successful digital shelf team is made up of several vital departments, and the following three are the most essential:

    • Content team: This team will develop your best-in-class content, imagery, and other digital assets. They’ll push through the workflows to get ready for syndication.
    • Syndication team: This team will launch new products and update existing ones.
    • Measurement team: This team will be focused on the analytics behind the scenes. They will work to optimize digital shelf content, conversions, and compliance across touchpoints.

    In addition to the in-house teams, many brands work with other helpful partners to meet their goals:

    • Content agency: Outside agencies help optimize product content. Agencies can do the heavy lifting for optimizing titles, descriptions, and imagery.
    • Consulting group: Experts in retailer customer portals can cut out a lot of the work needed in familiarizing yourself with syndication, cadence, auditing, and product gaps.

    The digital shelf is that it is continually changing. Brands cannot take a set-it-and-forget-it approach to their digital content. A digital shelf team, partnered with a robust digital commerce platform, is central to remaining the best-in-class product in all of your categories.

    Optimize Product Content for Digital Touchpoints

    The first thing digital shelf teams should do is employ a product experience solution. All approved optimized content lives in this product catalog as a single source of truth, so all stakeholders have easy access.

    The catalog allows teams to manage retailer-specific content and requirements — making syndication far more efficient. Teams also have more control over where their content is and where it goes.

    Once your product catalog is stored within your single source of truth, your work has just begun. Constant optimization and adaptation are required to remain at the top in your category.

    To truly create the best digital experiences, brands must:

    • Test and learn: Play with words in the title, move keywords around to see how search is working, and test new content creatives.
    • Try enhanced content: Enhanced content can give the truest sense of your products without holding it in your hand. Content such as enhanced imagery, 360-degree spins, videos, product comparisons, and size charts can boost your conversions.
    • Leading insights: Invest in a platform, like Salsify, that analyzes your results. With accessible key metrics, teams can respond and change content quickly to improve your metrics.

    Unify the Online and Offline Experiences

    The lines between online and offline customer experiences are blurred. Bridging the gaps between these experiences is pivotal in your overall customer journey. Your customers are everywhere, and every channel has digital touchpoint opportunities to integrate.
    Brands must create a seamless brand experience across every channel.

    Examples of this include providing identical category management in-store and digitally, offering store navigation on your mobile site and app, or setting up digital touchpoints in your physical store.

    Unify your commerce strategy between your online and offline teams, and ideally merge them into one powerhouse. Often, online and offline teams set up product content with the same processes, using the same data and information. One system to manage and syndicate all product data heightens your efficiency and consistency across channels.

    This can reduce your costs, as well as increase your revenue opportunities with a full perspective on your commerce in one team. This breaks down inefficient silos and creates the omnichannel shopping experiences consumers crave. A unified strategy will increase your economies at scale and get you to market faster.

    Modern commerce is digital. But focusing entirely on ecommerce while ignoring the other digital opportunities available will stifle brands. Through these three strategies, brands can unify the commerce strategy across all channels and set themselves up for success on the digital shelf.

    Click here to watch the on-demand webinar, “Accelerating Your Modern Commerce Capability and Building a Digital Shelf Team,” to gain additional insights on how to move your brand forward.


    Written by: Brian Johnson

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