What is the Digital Shelf?

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Whether or not we realize it, we all interact with digital shelves on a daily basis. The digital shelf is where products are displayed and purchased online. They can be on websites like Amazon, Walmart or Target, as well as apps like Instacart and DoorDash.

It helps consumers find and learn about new products as well as compare it to other similar products. It has become a mainstay in American life and a crucial concept to understand if you are marketing in the consumer packaged goods space. 

The rise of the digital shelf has led to many companies forgoing the typical brick and mortar strategy to sell their products directly to consumers. Famous examples include Dollar Shave Club, Bombas, and Warby Parker. 

Components of the digital shelf

Unlike your typical brick and mortar store, organizations have much more control over how their products are positioned on the digital shelf. Every website has different requirements, but typical product placements include:

  • Product name
  • Descriptions
  • Graphic elements – pictures and videos
  • Colors/variants
  • Prices
  • Sales
  • Ratings or reviews

The digital shelf aims to give potential customers as much information as possible so they can make the best buying decision. The best websites try to present as much research as possible to streamline the process. 

For marketers, our role has shifted to finding the right space on the digital shelf where our target demographics are shopping and putting our best foot forward to help make the sale. Optimization of your space on the shelf can make the difference between hitting your sales goals and missing out on giant opportunities. 

Advertising on the digital shelf

As consumer behavior changed and embraced the convenience of online shopping, advertisers weren’t far behind on embracing the trend. Websites realized the value of their digital real estate and now advertisers spread their dollars around hundreds of different digital shelves. 

Digital budgets have ballooned and now marketers bid against each other for prime real estate. The goal is to display your product close to the point of sale when a customer is actively searching or shopping, creating a customized target approach.

Shoppers make quick decisions when spending on the digital marketplace. If your product isn’t appearing near the top of their search results, then you likely aren’t being considered by new potential customers.

The challenge facing advertisers is the sheer number of options available for their budget. Most large retailers like Target, Walmart, and Costco all have their own digital shelves they have created for their customers to peruse. With hundreds or even thousands of options available, it takes a discerning marketer to figure out which of these channels to invest their dollars in. 

Having a variety of digital shelf channels are necessary to create a cohesive and effective omnichannel strategy, but picking which ones will have the biggest impact on your sales is key to any strategic planning done by marketing departments now.

Optimizing your digital shelf strategy with Keen

With this space growing as quickly as it is, brands must pay attention and think about how their presence on the digital shelf impacts other tactics. It is nearly impossible for a single marketer to keep up with the intricacies of the hundreds of different digital channels that have appeared over the past few decades.

The role of the marketer has changed and you need a tool that can help evaluate your spend across so many options and invest your dollars with confidence

For more than a decade, Keen has worked with hundreds of companies to provide insights and help them figure out which channels they should invest in. We take your marketing and sales data to build a predictive model that shows you future revenue and optimizes your marketing spend.

If you are interested in learning more or looking to optimize your space on the digital shelf, contact us  to schedule a conversation with our team. 

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