Rising customer expectations, massive advancement in technologies, and the enhancement of omnichannel commerce are a few immersive trends that have completely revamped the retail industry. Today, Digital advancements overlap the traditional eCommerce approaches.
It’s high time retailers rethink their strategies to provide the best-in-class user experience to their end customers. Yes, if you want your business to stay afloat, it’s time to digitalize your business if you haven’t done that already.
Moving on to Digital advancements = Catering to a larger audience = More customers = Ability to scale your business to new heights.
According to Statista, in 2020, over 80 percent of consumers worldwide shopped online from countries like Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Australia, etc.
And if we specifically talk about the stats of retail eCommerce sales, it is jaw-dropping.
In 2020, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to 4.28 trillion US dollars, and e-retail revenues are projected to grow to 5.4 trillion US dollars in 2022.
These stats are enough to understand how prosperous and growing the retail industry is. If a retail enterprise plans to take its business online, it will already be profitable.
But, how to communicate with shoppers and enhance the brand reach is still a big question for many retailing businesses. Here Digital Shelf comes into the picture.
Digital Shelf – a new buzzword in the eCommerce industry that has blown the mind of almost every retailer. But, what is it? Do you have any idea? No? Don’t worry; this article will guide you with all the essential information, including the digital shelf concept, its benefits, challenges, features, and how it will bring value to your business?
We are aware that consumers now rely on the information available on the web; they browse via their mobile phones and bright devices. Their shopping preferences have wholly changed from brick-and-mortar places to online stores.
Today consumers prefer to discover, research, and buy products with the help of digital experiences. Whether they purchase from- it can be via a retail store, influenced by social media post, or on an eCommerce website – they create their own personalized, digitally-influenced journey. Win this new world of online shopping; businesses require to take control of the digital shelf.
What is a digital shelf?
When customers visit a store, they may or may not have the exact idea of what they are looking for. They might be looking for a particular brand or product category but unable to find it. Or they might head to the section and start comparing their product.
This all seems daunting and time-consuming to make any customer exhaust if they fail to get their desired product. Here Digital Shelf plays a significant role.
Digital Shelf is nothing but a collection of digital experiences that let consumers discover, search, compare and purchase the product from the eCommerce website or any other online content. It helps customers to shop in a brick-and-mortar store seamlessly.
Like the shelves of a physical store, the digital shelf lets brands control the appearance and activities of their store online. But the significant difference that makes digital shelves different from traditional ones is that, instead of flashy packaging, businesses can entirely depend upon the product content.
Images, videos, prices, descriptions, ratings, reviews, feedbacks, and instructions are the critical components in content, digital shelves include.
“A digital shelf is how your consumers discover your product and services.”
How does digital shelf work?
The digital shelf focuses on making product range developments at the individual product level post-launch. It lists out the most relevant items at the top, based on several factors, including customer relevance, past purchase history, overall popularity of things, and brand information that help buyers make informed purchasing decisions online.
An eCommerce website with such information is highly successful in grabbing the attention of a large audience.
Why do brands require digital shelves in their business?
Digital shopping has more strong influence than ever, and brands need to adapt to keep up with this speedily emerging new landscape. Today if your shoppers are not able to find you online, you ultimately lost them somewhere.
This leads your brand to zero existence in the market. Below we have mentioned some of the critical points, why brands need digital shelves in their retail business-
- Improves Productivity
- Enhanced Brand Image
- It gives exposure to a large customers base
- Channel Synchronization
- Accurate and Reliable Information
- Maintains brand consistency
- Increases traffic on product pages
- Enhances the quality of product content
- Drives product visibility in search
So, these are a few critical benefits digital shelf offers to brands and helps them to display their products better and deliver a great customer buying experience.
Next, let’s discuss the business opportunities brands will get after incorporating digital shelves in their business.
Business growth opportunities with digital shelves
Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are increasing their digital presence to remain relevant to the trend in shopping behavior. In today’s competitive eCommerce industry, every retailer needs to grab the attention of its users without depending upon eye-level placements.
But have you ever wondered? How to advertise your products without flashy packaging, offers, or one-to-one sales representatives?
Here Product Content plays a vital role in displaying your product story and conveying the looks of your items to your end customers. Turning your products on the digital shelves means your product is visible to a large audience, and customers can find and shop your products from anywhere.
How does product content work on the digital shelf?
Product content is the text, description, and other information that a brand or retailer provides to explain its offerings. This involves product names, prices, images, videos, descriptions, and anything else that further helps consumers understand their viewing items.
Today the internet is overpacked with several websites and platforms offering millions of products and services. When a customer looks for a product online, various web pages pop up on its mobile or device screen with similar product descriptions and images. It exhausts consumers somewhere as they are not able to differentiate their suitable products from that long list.
Finding out required product from such long lists is ultimately a complete waste of time for them, and it also shows that those brands don’t care much about their end customers; their main focus is always on making their products searchable. It ultimately leads to cart abandonment from customers’ side and customers that never return to your website.
Here, offering different Product content is an opportunity to show your business authenticity, show your customers why they should choose your brand and why your product is a perfect fit for them.
To make your Product Content stand out, you only require to optimize it properly for Google Search. It makes your product visible on the first page and builds a competent consumer trust for your platform.
What makes product content engaging?
To make your product content engaging and result-driven, consider the following critical tips-
- Use of Pictures and Videos
- Precise Information
- Use of simple words
- Highlighting the words that best describe the benefits of the product
How does product content work on the digital shelf?
- Product Content is usually prepared by keeping the focus on the needs of the buyer’s persona. It gives an idea about the target audience, their preferences, their issues related to any products, and their expectations from a brand that will help brands turn them into loyal customers.
- Unique product content is highly helpful in generating the curiosity of the customers towards the product.
- A product content with exceptional visuals, features, and benefits of the product successfully attracts the customers. It also significantly impacts them to think about how that product will feel or look if they have it?
The digital shelf can make or break a brand’s capacity to win online. Therefore, businesses must use it wisely with the right set of tools and strategies.
What does digital shelf provide to businesses?
- Maximizing product’ searchability.’
- Winning the ratings and reviews battle
- A Quick Idea about Competitors Product Pricing
- Shelf Edge Influence
- Enhancement in Omnichannel Experience
- Accurate Pricing across channels
But every good thing has some other side as well. Similarly, Digital Shelf also comes with a few challenges. Below we have mentioned a few challenges of the digital shelf that help you encounter the issues and establishing a perfect digital shelf for your business.
Critical challenges of digital shelf
1. Digital shelves are dynamic and constantly changing; therefore, it is hard to maintain and update them with the ongoing trends to win over the market.
2. With Digital shelves, consumers cannot interact with the products in a real-time environment. Therefore, it is hard for them to know every detail about the product, including benefits, features, ingredients, and other related information that helps them make the right purchasing decision.
3. Digital shelves are not standardized for every retailer. It comes with customization levels that divided the retailers into categories and left small retailers with limited resources.
4. Requirements related to consumer preferences, behavior, retail channels, and search algorithms are continuously changing; therefore, it is hard to keep up with the latest information and updates.
How can you win on the digital shelf in 2021?
To win on the digital shelf in 2021, we have mentioned a few critical tips for you-
- Maximize your product visibility with the best SEO practices
- Always keep your stock up-to-date
- Achieve consistency with your eCommerce brand assets
- Prioritize your actions to optimize product availability.
- Highlight out-of-stock items
- Understand your customer’s buying pattern and preferences
- Keep your online promotions intelligent and effective
- Pick the right eCommerce KPIs to measure and compare the data
- Focus on your product descriptions
- Benchmark your search performance against competitors
- Maximize your customer’s review
- Monitor channel pricing
By focusing on these aspects, you can surely win over the digital shelf and take your business to new heights.
Smart Shelves – A breakthrough technology transforming the retail industry digitally
Smart Shelves is an emerging technology that enables the digital transformation of the retail industry. It is an IoT-connected electronic solution that lets retailers keep complete control, check inventory levels, and know which product is out of stock. By automatically tracking in-store inventory levels, the retailer can enhance inventory management and make smarter restocking decisions.
Smart Shelves for retailers are another big boom in the retail sector that has completely changed the paradigm of this industry.
How Smart Shelf Technology is Reshaping Retail Industry?
Smart Shelves are electronically connected shelves based on RFID technology that automatically keeps track of the inventory in a retail establishment, which helps regulate customers’ interest in a specific product and streamlines their lives by offering in-depth details about it. The concept of an intelligent shelf is not new to the market.
It was since 2003, explicitly designed for supermarkets and discount stores. But it has gained tremendous growth and popularity after blending with emerging technologies like AI, ML, IoT, etc.
To give you a better understanding, let’s have a quick overview of the benefits of smart shelves offering to retailers-
- Real-time inventory management
- Accurate Stock Information
- Real-time shelf tags updates
- Correct product positioning
- Quick alerts for wrong products displacements
- Customized product information display
- Optimized store performance
- Enhanced customer service
From digitally displaying the prices to advertise the linked shopping list of consumers, Smart Shelves will have way more to offer. It completely personalized the shopping experience of the users with the best shopping solutions.
So, expand your brand beyond its boundaries by taking back control of that journey with digital shelves. To know more about how the digital shelf works, schedule a demo with Rapidops; we deliver engaging digital solutions that ensure your investment into the technology is not in vain.
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Vandana Parashar is a Content Writer and a learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She writes for B2C and B2B businesses, creates content that holds attention, builds authority, and drives action.