5 Reasons to Invest More in Your Brand’s Digital Shelf – Rob Gonzalez, Salsify

Digital shopping is having more of an impact than ever and brands need to adapt to keep up with this quickly evolving new landscape. 

Salsify Co-founder and VP of Business Development, Rob Gonzalez, shares insight on why brands need to invest in their digital shelves. Even larger brands are in danger of being overtaken by digitally minded startups if they ignore their own digital presence.

Make sure you sign up for the upcoming Salsify webinar on September 21st at 1pm (EST). Content26’s Mark White will join Rob Gonzalez in talking about ways you can use content and advertising to get your products discovered on Amazon’s digital shelf.


If shoppers can’t find you online, your brand doesn’t exist. Digital discoverability has consequences for the larger financial health and future of your company. Failure to adapt fast enough to the new demands of the digital landscape  means your brand will lose market share online and in-store.

To lead in the search rankings across your product category, you must prioritize and invest in optimizing for the digital shelf. Arm yourself with these statistics to make the case internally for digital transformation.

You need to focus on ‘discovery’ and not just conversion.

Salsify’s recent consumer research found that 87% of shoppers start on either Google or Amazon. Most often, consumers actively look for what to buy based on at least one of three factors: pricing, product reviews, or product detail information. They’re going to these sites to research and NOT buy. So even if customers purchase your product in Kroger or Best Buy, your digital product detail pages has an impact on their purchase decision.

It’s incredibly important for your brand pages to be optimized to include pricing, product reviews, and robust product detail information with compelling images. Our research also found that the path to purchase from each of the large online sites, is not always a straight line – however customers searching on Amazon tend to purchase something from that site.

Importance of the Digital Shelf

Thinking about ecommerce as sales-only is too narrow and misses the bigger picture.

Digital influences 77% of all retail sales. Regardless of where the final purchase is made, consumers choose what product to buy based on information they find browsing online, according to IRI. Optimizing your product page is no longer an exercise just for e-commerce-focused brands. All brands need to make the most of their digital presence. Your page rank on retailers’ sites have an impact across for your total sales results.

There is a new level playing field to win the “eye-level” space on the digital shelf.

Search “sneakers” on Amazon today and you’ll find some unexpected brands leading the page: Cole Haan, Basics, and Yilan. A search for “Running shoe” returns Under Armour, ASICS, and Tesla. Driving product discoverability and sales online is not the same as driving offline sales.

Rather than relying on dominating the physical end-cap in-store for key retailers, brands are fighting for premium space on a much larger digital shelf: the first page of a shopper’s search results page. Smaller companies can – and often do – outrank large older brands with more relevant content, a higher number of consumer reviews, or a larger set of rich media on a product page.

AMS can complement a strong (or shore up a weak) organic search strategy.

The average consumer now spends nearly 2 hours of their day on a mobile screen – that’s a 76% YoY increase of time spent using the internet and apps on smartphones, according to Nielsen. The time spent with digital media increased 19% YoY during that same time period.

Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) boasts an audience of 144 million shoppers across all digital screens. Brands can bid for placement on sponsored products, headline search ads, or run product display ads — all targeted based on product, interest or keyword. The combination of targeting capabilities and the growth in digital media, makes it necessary for every brand to take notice of the advertising opportunity on AMS and other channels.

In fact, investing in TV advertising is not as effective for brands anymore. TV ad spend took a hit and brand ad spend dollars have followed. Traditional TV now makes up just 43% of US consumers’ total media time, and ad spend on digital channels surpassed TV ad spend for the first time ever.

Brands win in SEO: Focusing on SEO & SEM on Amazon can yield results for years.

The uplifting insight from all of this, is that digital is a tremendous opportunity for your brand. You have the opportunity to prioritize your product content and optimize it for the digital shelf. In the past, brands sent minimal product information out to retailers and did not have much control beyond product packaging to influence a sale. Today, brands can directly control much of the shoppers’ product experience. Many of the brands Salsify works with have seen triple-digit growth in online sales after investing in product experience management and optimizing digital product content.

This most obvious place for most brands to start their optimizing product pages is on Amazon. As New York Times article noted in an article last month “Amazon has long been an online shopping behemoth, but marketers now know it is playing an increasingly important role in how people discover and learn about their goods.” The e-tail giant now claims 43% of all e-commerce sales in the US. What’s your share of that?

I’ll be presenting best practices in a webinar with Mark White at Content26 on September 21 about how to boost product discoverability on Amazon. Sign up to attend.

You can also get a free assessment of how your brand’s content is performing on Amazon today at Salsify’s free product content grader for Amazon. We analyze best performing metrics across more than 9 million products in order to compare the copy, images, and ratings and reviews for your top product pages against the rest of your industry.

About Rob

Rob Gonzalez is co-founder and VP of business development. He built the go-to-market team at Salsify from the ground up. Previously he ran inbound marketing and product management for Cambridge Semantics, another Boston-area startup.