With the online channel playing a larger role in retail, product manufacturers need to automate e-commerce gap closing to keep up with an expanded workload, and prepare for a second wave of CV-19.
Surviving the Covid-19 e-commerce whirlwind has posed challenges for brands and retailers alike. As markets around the world emerge from lockdown, and physical stores open their doors, it’s becoming clear that online sales are not going to shrink back to pre-Covid levels. The fact is, the Covid-19 crisis has only accelerated a change that was already underway.
Even before the virus struck, there were not many retailers still growing via bricks and mortar. Consumer demand had already shifted online. The growth trajectory has put massive pressure on e-commerce, brand, and account management resources in product manufacturers, as they strive to maintain core e-commerce fundamentals to support sales and protect their brands in the channel.
Even brands that had prepared for steady e-commerce growth, by investing in teams and tools, are feeling the pressure brought on by the overnight doubling in online sales in many categories.
Driving success in e-commerce is a task intensive mission. It requires strategic planning, investment in teams, tools and data. On a daily basis, it needs action to prioritize and close gaps in so-called e-commerce fundamentals, such as Search performance, Availability, Price, Content, Ratings & Reviews, and iMedia.
On a typical morning, an e-commerce manager or director could expect to start the day by logging into their e-commerce analytics dashboard to check for burning issues such as products out of stock, content gaps, search performance failures, or rating declines.
The overnight reports are likely to prompt a flurry of activity including tasks such as:
Reaching out to customers (e-retailers) to deal with out of stocks or pricing issues identified the day before.
Following up with internal or agency marketing, content, or syndication teams to fix content implementation issues that have come to light; such as missing images, inaccurate, ineffective, or outdated product descriptions, or completely missing product cards on key online sites.
Working with internal or agency search experts to improve search and keyword performance in different online retailers, and deal with poor search results for key category search terms versus competitive items in a bid to deliver a greater share of search for marquee items.
Prompt the customer service team to respond to relevant reviews and work with review-syndication partners to improve Rating & Review implementation levels where there are not enough positive product reviews to impact sales growth.
Dealing with advertising teams to optimize iMedia when online trade marketing placement, vehicle, or creative are not getting enough clicks to drive conversion and justify spend.
It has always been difficult for under-resourced brand e-commerce teams to keep up to date with all the issues. Research carried out by eStoreMedia before the Covid-19 e-commerce surge found that average implementation against goals for critical factors such as listings in-stock, content, price & promotions compliance, ratings & reviews, and fair-share of search could be as low as 37%.
Digital Shelf Automation
As we emerge from the first wave of the Covid-19 crisis with a larger e-commerce sector, brands will need to allocate more resources to the online channel - both at a strategic level to improve planning, and on the coalface to handle the daily workload. However, with digital skills in short supply brands need to think about automating some of the daily gap-closing tasks and processes involved in online channel optimization.
Digital Shelf Automation from eStoreMedia is an integrated offering including eStoreCheck, eStoreContent, AMZ Navigator, and eStoreButton. It looks after the day-to-day tasks currently carried out by e-commerce managers and directors. With content re-syndication, pricing and availability gap communication, and performance issues handled in the background, you can free up skilled resources to focus on higher-value strategic issues, and channel expansion. It also means you will be better placed to deal with a further e-commerce surge in the event of a second wave of Covid-19.
Connect with our e-commerce experts to learn more about how Digital Shelf Automation can help your organization get the upper hand in an e-commerce-centric world.