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Anna Kochanska Anna Kochanska

Joining the Digital Revolution: Making the Jump from Brand Manager to e-Commerce Enabler

How key learnings from the recent Digital Food & Beverage Conference in London, confirmed I’d made the right move by joining this e-commerce technology innovator.

A few weeks ago, on a cold, bright Tuesday morning, I was making my way to my first e-commerce conference in London. After 12 years in brand management at two great consumer products companies – Danone and Bacardi – I joined eStoreMedia a technology and e-commerce innovator, in January. 

I know I’m not the only one to have ‘crossed the aisle’ to e-commerce in recent years. The spectacular growth in e-commerce has meant many people have had to make the transition. Still it's a big change so, no pressure!

The Digital Food & Beverage Conference was billed as, “the only conference for Heads of Digital & eCommerce at Europe’s most innovative food and beverage brands and retailers.” The description might have been hyperbole, but it was the perfect introduction for me in my new role as Global Head of Marketing here at eStoreMedia.

For those of you who didn’t make it to this year’s Digital Food & Beverage Conference here are a few interesting takeaways from the event that might help you and your organization on your own journey into e-commerce.

Setting achievable KPIs for Search rank & share

In my brand management role at Danone, we used planograms and set goals around distribution, shelf position and share-of-shelf in our efforts to drive sales. Online, while there might be an endless-aisle, there is no shelf, and therefore no planogram. Having your products in the top few results for keyword Search is the online equivalent of ‘eye-level’. But, how do you set your e-commerce store Search rank and share key performance indicators (KPIs) as part of your online channel strategy?

During a panel discussion headlined ‘How brands can maximize the impact of their products on retailers’ websites,’ FrieslandCampina’s Global Head of eCommerce, Roland Wiedhaup, talked about setting KPIs for Search that are equivalent to the desired share-of-shelf in brick and mortar stores. For ambitious brands, this is usually pitched somewhere above actual market share. It’s what we used to call the standard share of shelf in Danone, and in the e-commerce, world is often called 'fair share of Search’.

Search targets need to take into account the e-commerce readiness of each product.

It’s not a bad starting point, but like many things in the e-commerce arena the devil is in the detail. For a start, you can expect some products to perform better online than they do in traditional channels, and conversely, your off-line star performing item may just not be e-commerce friendly. As such, e-commerce Search targets need to take into account the e-commerce readiness of each product, and include metrics for broad, and specific, category-related search terms, as well as branded and unbranded keywords.

How to boost your Ratings & Reviews

Measuring the effectiveness of your Ratings & Reviews programs in the online channel is often covered in the pages of this blog. Ratings & Reviews have become a key weapon in the e-commerce arsenal for brands as more and more consumers rely on user-generated content to help narrow the vast choice of products available to them.

A longstanding loyalty program member is more likely to give a positive review.

I don’t want to go over all the ways for brands to maximize their Rating & Review performance in this piece, but I thought it was worth mentioning one tip from Nestlé. Andrea Kocsis, Head of Digital Transformation at Nestlé Zone EMENA Nutrition, in her presentation ‘Winning with Influencer Engagement and Ratings & Reviews’ spoke about the value of loyalty programs when it comes to boosting review numbers and rating scores. As she said, a longstanding loyalty program member is always more likely to give your product a positive online review.

There is still a long way to go

As mentioned earlier, the Digital Food & Beverage Conference was designed to cater for ‘Europe’s most innovative food and beverage brands and retailers’. Attendees from more advanced organizations talked of already having defined e-commerce strategies supported by measurable KPIs, but many of the delegates I spoke with admitted they still had a lot of work to do to bring their organizations up to e-commerce speed.

Some are only starting on the journey. In one poll of attendees, less than 50% said they had subscribed to an e-commerce analytics tool to measure online channel performance, and monitor implementation of content and listings changes they provide to retailer websites. Also, 40% said they had not yet optimized their online product images for mobile. Thankfully, it’s not too late to start.

Automation will get you there faster

Another presentation from eStoreMedia’s own Rafal Kochanski focused on digital shelf automation and how it can be deployed to reduce complexity to relieve pressure on overburdened e-commerce teams.

The underpinning of intelligent automation includes data, process design, and technology.

As anyone involved knows, e-commerce is task-intensive. Organizing listings. Creating, managing and translating rich content: and then efficiently distributing it to numerous online retailers in multiple markets all with different capabilities. Understanding competitive pricing and executing promotions. Engaging with consumer reviews and optimizing online-store search performance. Identifying issues and fixing them (closing gaps) before they become problems.

eStoreMedia is working to automate many of these ongoing processes and tasks. The underpinning of intelligent automation includes data, effective process design, and using the technology already used for tracking and identifying gaps in a brand’s online channel representation to direct automation of day-to-day gap closing processes.

It’s no wonder that as I start my third month here at eStoreMedia I’m very excited by the prospect.