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The true cost of underinvesting in the digital shelf

November 8, 2023
Andrew Pearl
Written By
Andrew Pearl

Profitero continued our “Building Your Digital Acceleration Engine” webinar series with the latest installment featuring guest speaker Charlotte Bailey-Sane, Digital & eCommerce Director at ADM Protexin. Charlotte joined us to dive into the importance of creating holistic eCommerce strategies to meet today’s digital shoppers. 

The Digitally Influenced Shopper report, released in July, underscored the dramatic shifts in shopper behavior over the past few years. Today’s consumers rely heavily on validation from digital product content & media, with 65% of UK consumers saying their purchases (both online and in-store) are influenced by digital touchpoints.


Screenshot 2023-11-08 093100


Have brands adapted to meet these new digital shoppers? 


Profitero’s newly released 2023 eCommerce Organizational Benchmark Report finds that despite widespread organizational changes, brands are struggling to implement omnichannel processes and behaviors. This hinders their efforts to connect with the digitally influenced shopper, and as a result, their perceived eCommerce maturity continues to stagnate.


People - maturity level (1)

Underinvestment is a major culprit behind these challenges. Many brands operate as though online and in-store purchase journeys are parallel when, in fact, the opposite is true. Profitero’s research found that shoppers regularly consult digital touchpoints before (and throughout) the in-store purchase journey. Yet eCommerce rarely receives credit for its role in driving these purchases. As a result, brands underinvest in the digital shelf and lack effective strategies to connect with today’s omnichannel shoppers.


10.23 Webinar - Defining the True Cost of Underinvesting in the Digital Shelf (1)


How can eCommerce teams demonstrate the omnichannel uplift of digital shelf excellence and secure the budget they need?


Here are some of Bailey-Sane’s key strategies for navigating around misconceptions and organizational silos (the full webinar recording is available here):

  • Embed shopper understanding into your teams: bring marketing, sales and category teams together to walk in the shopper’s shoes through store locations and digital paths to purchase. This can spark cross-functional collaboration centered around the digital shopper where simple eComm training may fall short. (Profitero’s 2023 Benchmark report finds that 32% of brands report minimal eComm understanding across teams despite omnichannel best practices training.)

  • Use retailer data to build a map of the shopper journey across digital and physical channels, highlighting key points for your brand to target. This helps create a shared source of truth around eCommerce among teams.

Circana Path to Purchase Visual

Source: Circana


  • Speak to your audience using their language: for sales-led organizations, demonstrate the accretive value of eComm to net channel contribution. For marketing-led organizations, emphasize the brand uplift of omnichannel media & search strategies.

  • Highlight the omnichannel significance of a strong Amazon presence. Profitero found that 4 in 10 UK consumers regularly research products on Amazon prior to making any type of purchase. Emphasize that omnichannel success depends on appearing on Amazon & excelling in content and media.

  • Don’t underestimate the power of Amazon data. Brands can glean valuable shopper insights from Vendor Central (even if they don’t actively sell on the platform). Bringing Amazon data-driven insights into JBPs can help unlock budget from your retailer partners for joint strategies that will resonate with consumers.

  • Push for whole-business accountability to digital shelf metrics: establishing search performance as a company-wide KPI, for example, can help encourage teams from SEO to sales to pull together in support of a holistic search strategy.


Want a deeper dive into how brands can meet the digitally influenced shopper through omnichannel excellence in their JBPs, organizational structures, KPIs, and more?

Check out the recording of our 2023 eCommerce Benchmark webinar, which featured Arjan Vuik, Head of Global eBusiness Development at Hero Group and Jessica Menis, Director of eCommerce Strategy & Insights at ABInBev. You'll get exclusive insights from the data that informed our 2023 eCommerce Organizational Benchmark Study as well as tips for omnichannel success in the coming year. 

10.23 eComm Benchmark Report


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