The household brand’s ecommerce manager has extensive experience developing distinguished campaigns for both Fortune 50 and Fortune 500 companies, and shared the team’s strategies and best practices for building its digital shelf “from scratch.”
Essential Digital Shelf Best Practices
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From day one, the team’s initial focus was, “What tools do we need, in general, to really help automate and scale our efforts?”
The team soon discovered minimal cross-functional communication between sales, marketing, and product teams, coupled with a database overrun with redundant and inaccurate information.
On top of that, each department had its own protocols, datasets, and relationships with retailers — none of which was standardized or subject to any kind of overarching digital shelf strategy.
“At the time, everyone was literally taking PowerPoint presentations and finding whatever content they could find on the server and then delivering it to our retailers,” the brand’s ecommerce manager says.
There was a lot of duplication of effort and inaccurate information floating in the system, so the focus became laying the foundation for how the team would approach the digital shelf in a new way.
“What tools do we need, in general, to really help automate and scale our efforts?”
Focus on Your Audience First
The team knew all these departments, assets, and systems would need to seamlessly integrate to move forward with their first big goal: bringing a new audience-first approach to the brand’s digital shelf.
The team highlighted that it’s crucial to understand what’s most important to the buyers at each retailer. When the brand is talking to an electronics retailer, for example, they may be more tech-savvy and care about the electronic elements of their products.
But speaking with a beauty retailer would require them to showcase their technology in other ways that allow them to be leaders in the beauty space.
Keep Teams Inspired — Not Overwhelmed
After winning corporate’s approval, the team was able to create a small group of “digital shelf experts,” focusing on a regional rollout, rather than global rollout — a strategy that was an ideal way to encourage experimentation with minimal risk, especially at the beginning of the onboarding process.
The team knows this helped the brand take a more agile approach. While the group acted as the administrators and gatekeepers of the platform, the brand’s ecommerce manager cautions that they used the term “digital shelf expert” carefully.
A lot of teams are involved in developing content — brand teams, sales teams, and corporate headquarters, to name a few.
“So there are all these cooks in the kitchen,” the brand’s ecommerce manager says. “We really wanted to let everyone know … come to us when it comes to optimizing and creating content. We’re the ones talking to the retailers.”
Consider Your Internal Audience at Meetings
“When we first got all of our assets into Salsify, we met with our entire brand team, for all the categories … we showed them anything and everything that Salsify can do,” the brand’s ecommerce manager says.
Everyone thought it was great, but then everyone left the meeting and kept doing exactly what they were doing previously — they didn’t know how Salsify could improve the way they worked individually.
To address this, the team suggests holding smaller, intimate meetings with different groups, featuring content focused on their particular role within the organization.
The team stressed that Salsify is such a robust tool, but “What does the brand team need to know? What is going to make them excited to use this tool? We only trained [those] teams on what they needed to know, which has been really helpful.” It was time-consuming but essential to gather buy-in for the long-term strategy.
Tailor Resources to Your Team and Brand Needs
Salsify’s massive library of resources was crucial to training and educating the team, but they also needed to identify what was applicable to each of their cross-functional teams, brands, and partners as well.
The brand’s digital shelf experts worked to create simplified resources with each department and retailer’s specific needs in mind — preventing information overload on staff while also providing a universally-accessible resource that wasn’t reliant on one team member’s expertise alone.
Take Time To Educate on the Big Picture
The team also stresses the importance of educating your entire company about the importance of the digital shelf strategy, not just the stakeholders with day-to-day responsibilities.
One of the most important steps they took was to define all the steps their team needed to go through to get content to a retailer. This required a level of coordination between departments and sometimes was not visible.
Put Your Foot Down About New Processes
“Once you get the content in there, get that process in place of how people update or create content,” the brand’s ecommerce manager says.
She notes that they didn’t do this initially. They experienced some employee turnover and then had a lot of duplicates and redundant work.
Master the Small Picture, Then the Big Picture
While the brand is excited about its future plans for Salsify integration, it encourages organizations to take a “crawl-walk-run” strategy over a period of three years.
“The digital shelf isn’t built in a day. It takes a team. It takes a village. You can’t just press a button on the internet, and your products get to the retailers,” the brand’s ecommerce manager says.
Watch our on-demand webinar, “How to Transition to a Digital-First Omnichannel Organization,” to learn more about digital shelf best practices and driving transformation at your organization.