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Let’s Get Phygital! Winning the Digital Shelf: STEPS 3 Shelf Placement

We all know the importance of having a strong presence on the physical shelf, where shoppers can see, touch, and compare your products with others. It has often been said eye level is buy level and being in the strike zone is the key to success in physical retail. Truly the same applies digitally and today more than ever digital blends with physical to help complete the shopper's total experience. Don’t underestimate the equally (and sometimes even more) important power of setting up your items on the digital shelf.

Up to 69% of shoppers do online research before purchasing

Up to 69% of shoppers do online research before purchasing

Remember, packaging at shelf is very limited real estate on how you tell the story of your product. The great thing about the digital shelf is that you have the space to tell your story and set your product apart. It’s critical consumers can easily discover and research your products online, increasing the number of touchpoints throughout the path to purchase. Through the digital shelf, you can showcase your brand story, value proposition, and unique selling points, as well as provide multiple buying options. But to succeed on the digital shelf, you must have a clear strategy that covers four key aspects: Digital shelf placement, SEO, PDP, and product content.

Make sure you’re in the strike zone with these tips and best practices:

Product Content

Product content is the text, imagery, and other information that you provide to describe and market your products on the digital shelf. It is essential for communicating your product value, features, and benefits to your customers. And it’s a key factor for influencing your digital shelf placement and SEO.


To create effective product content:

  • Know your target consumer, their needs, preferences, and behavior, and tailor your product content accordingly.

  • Use storytelling and emotional appeals to connect with your consumers and motivate them to take action and purchase your product.

  • Use a consistent and distinctive tone of voice and style that reflects your brand personality and identity.

  • Use clear, concise, and simple language that is easy to understand and scan.

  • Use keywords and phrases that match your consumers’ search queries and intent.

  • Use data and facts to support your product claims and statements.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO is the process of improving your website and product pages to rank higher in organic search results. It is crucial for building brand awareness and driving qualified traffic, leads, and conversions to your website and product pages.


To optimize your SEO:

  • Create and update your sitemap and robots.txt files to help search engines crawl, index, and understand your website and product pages. Implement technical SEO elements, such as site speed, mobile-friendliness, security, URL structure, navigation, etc. to ensure a satisfactory consumer experience.

  • Create and publish high-quality, relevant, and original content that provides value and answers to your customers’ questions and problems.

  • Think about: Should you use paid search or organic? It really depends on your goals. Paid search drives more immediate results. Organic search is great for building brand awareness or trust and drives longer-term value, with higher, website traffic, higher click-through-rate, conversion rates and exceptional ROI.

  • Look for opportunities to improve your organic share of search. Monitor and analyze keyword rankings in your category. Which have the highest search volumes? Which show up on the first page? What are the search results for competitor products? What is your share of that search?

  • Don’t doubt the importance of measuring and tracking your SEO performance and results. Recent research* has shown that products that move from Page 2 of retailer search results to Page 1 (organically) increase sales by 37% on average. Not surprising, when the first page of results receives over 95% of all search traffic! Your eventual goal should be to get into the top five spots. Measure your organic and paid share of Page 1 key retailers. Analyze competitor search performance. Adjust budgets, weight, and win highly searched keywords.


PDP (Product Detail Page)

PDP is the page that displays the information and features of a specific product on an e-commerce site. It is where your customers make the final decision to buy or not to buy your product, and so, is one of the most important pages on your website and digital shelf. Even a slight content change can impact product visibility and engagement.


To optimize your PDP:

  • Keep content current; outdated product images or descriptions can sink your sales. Focus on authentic messages that show you understand your consumer and their needs. Use persuasive and compelling product copy that speaks to your customers’ emotions, motivations, and desires.

  • Optimize your product listing with high-performing keywords. Highlight your product benefits and value proposition, such as how your product solves your customers’ pain points, what makes your product unique and different from your competitors, what are the guarantees and warranties you offer, etc.

  • With so many competitors online, it’s important to have a consistent hero image across platforms for a seamless consumer experience. Optimize your product description page (PDP) to increase conversions. Ensure you have high-resolution images and videos, detailed descriptions and specs, and customer ratings and reviews. Consider enriching your content with AR/VR, 3D and other technology to increase their knowledge about your product and move them towards purchase.

  • Provide clear and accurate product information, such as product name, price, dimensions, specifications, availability, shipping, returns, etc.

  • Include multiple and high-quality product images, videos, and other visual elements that showcase your product from different angles, perspectives, and scenarios.

  • Important! Nearly 70%* of shoppers read reviews before buying. Add social proof and trust signals, such as customer reviews, ratings, testimonials, badges, logos, certifications, etc.

  • Include clear and prominent call-to-action buttons that guide your customers to the next step, such as add to cart, buy now, checkout, etc.

  • Remember, one-size-does-not-fit-all! Yes, you want your brand’s packaging and images to be consistent across online retailers, or you will confuse the consumer. BUT you must also conform to the requirements of each retailer. If you’re taking product descriptions or other elements created for Amazon and repurposing them for another retailer site, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage before you start. Build internal expertise or leverage an outsourced team that has deep retailer knowledge to ensure accurate item set-up, optimization, and real-time maintenance based on each retailer's unique requirements.


Digital Shelf Placement

Digital shelf placement refers to where and how your products appear online. This is the culmination of how your product content comes together, what you do to specifically optimize for SEO in each retailer, and how it comes together in your PDP. It is influenced by factors such as search engine algorithms, words you use throughout your PDP, attributes you include, e-commerce site rankings, online reviews, ratings, and recommendations. Your goal is to increase your product visibility, relevance, and attractiveness to your target audience, and of course conversion…whether it is online or in-store!


To improve your digital shelf placement:

  • Conduct keyword research to understand what your customers are searching for and how they describe their needs and preferences.

  • Optimize your product titles, descriptions, and metadata with relevant keywords and phrases that match your customers’ search intent and language.

  • Make sure your product category and attributes are as robust as possible maximizing your opportunities for visibility in the various ways your shopper may search.

  • Test and optimize your product images, videos, and other multimedia elements to ensure they are clear, engaging, and consistent across platforms and devices.

  • Encourage and collect customer feedback, reviews, ratings, and testimonials to boost your product credibility, trustworthiness, and social proof.

  • Monitor and analyze your product performance on different platforms and channels, such as Google, Amazon, Walmart, Facebook, and Instagram, to name but a few.


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