Picture this. You walk into your office on Monday morning and you find out that your online sales are down. There isn’t any clarity on exactly what didn’t sell well and if there is, imagine the disappointment if it was your specific category that under-performed.
At a time when Amazon is pretty much set to dominate any industry with an efficient, fast adapting model, it’s no longer enough to just concentrate on the numbers because your customers aren’t as loyal as they used to be; if a staggering 81% of consumers are willing to switch brands at a whim, you’re going to need a much bigger hook to keep them engaged.
So where does this leave us?
Analytics for the digital shelf have a habit of presenting insights around how your products are performing on retailer’s websites, alongside the correlating fixes that you need to make to their listings. These clusters of fixes are presented to you randomly SKU by SKU, or listed under generic headings (e.g product content, placement, availability etc) and concentrate on boosting your product’s search rankings, overseeing their price strategy and optimising the product page at the point of sale...to name but a few.
However, as a Category Manager you care specifically about your category doing well. As the head of eCommerce / a Commercial lead you’d want your digital channels to be executed strategically and overall as a brand owner, you’d want your company to be associated with specific categories so you can lead them.
Why? Because that’s precisely how you ensure your profit and growth are both sustainable and not a one hit wonder. In 2016 Edgewell, makers of Wilkinson Sword, took the stage at Barclays' global consumer staples conference to talk about their global strategy and flagged up:
"The fact that we have a total category perspective and solutions in all price tiers across brand and own label, leads to a more holistic and strategic relationship, and constructive partnering on category management."
- David P. Hatfield Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer, Edgewell Personal Care Co
eCommerce analytics with a category approach is designed and structured differently than just a generic eCommerce analytics platform. The differences might be in the nuances, but it is precisely those nuances that differentiate the high flyers from the slow burners.
You not only get insights around your own products, but insights across your entire category that including your competitor's products. These are then aggregated and presented to you according to the actions that need to be taken - not randomly or SKU by SKU.
Underestimate the advantage of this approach at your own risk. It’s this very approach that will ensure you...
1. Increase your online market share
Your sales might have increased from last year or last month, but that’s relative unless you benchmark it. A category approach to analytics shows you exactly how much (or how little) market share your category has online in comparison to your competitors. With this information you can make strategic and high impact decisions on how best to develop your sales and marketing strategy, be it by trading up or down.
2. Make progress, don’t execute dead end actions
The transient nature of digital is hard enough to grasp let alone throwing anything at your eCommerce platform and hoping that something will stick. In the short term, any analytics provider will tell you what needs fixing, and you can spend a long time doing these and getting nowhere. Analytics that has a category approach sieves through the clutter (and all those extra numbers and bits of data which happen to be there but aren’t actually relevant to your end goal) and pinpoints exactly the insights that will help you grow your category whilst increasing your overall online revenue.
3. Foresee opportunities
A global view on different categories means you know what happened and what is currently happening. It means you’ll be able to see patterns, identify trends and use that intelligence to complete a robust Gap Analysis, effectively execute your joint business plan and venture into new product development without any guess work.
If you’re gearing up to become more eCommerce savvy and take a fighting chance at competing with the likes of Amazon and the pure players, then you need to know that not all eCommerce analytics are the same and ask the right questions before investing in one. A category approach is nimble, it’s precise and above all it’s results orientated. There’s no fluff here.
Find out more
Request a demo to find out how the E Fundamentals platform works in line with your business objectives to grow your category.