Capturing and Analyzing Retail Mobile App Data for Digital Shelf Analytics: Are Brands Missing Out?

Capturing and Analyzing Retail Mobile App Data for Digital Shelf Analytics: Are Brands Missing Out?

19th Jan, 2024

Vaibhav Khaparde

By Vaibhav Khaparde

Consumer brands around the world increasingly recognize the vital role of tracking and optimizing their digital shelf KPIs, such as Content Quality, Share of Search, Availability, etc. These metrics play a crucial role in boosting eCommerce sales and securing a larger online market share. With the escalating requirements of brands, the sophistication of top Digital Shelf Analytics providers is also on the rise. Consequently, the adoption of digital shelf solutions has become an essential prerequisite for today’s leading brands.

As brands and vendors continue to delve further and deeper into the world of Digital Shelf Analytics, a significant and often overlooked aspect is the analysis of digital shelf data on mobile apps. The ability of solution providers to effectively track and analyze this mobile-specific data is crucial.

Why is this emphasis on mobile apps important?

Today, the battle for consumer attention unfolds not only on desktop web platforms but also within the palm of our hands – on mobile devices. As highlighted in a recent Insider Intelligence report, customers will buy more on mobile, exceeding 4 in 10 retail eCommerce dollars for the first time.

Moreover, thanks to the growth of delivery intermediaries like Instacart, DoorDash, Uber Eats, etc., shopping on mobile apps has received a tremendous organic boost. According to an eMarketer report, US grocery delivery intermediary sales are expected to reach $68.2 billion in 2025, from only $8.8 billion in 2019.

In essence, mobile is increasingly gaining share as the form factor of choice for consumers, especially in CPG. In fact, one of our customers, a leading multinational CPG company, revealed to us that it sees up to 70% of its online sales come through mobile apps. That’s a staggering number!

The surge in app usage reflects a fundamental change in consumer behavior, emphasizing the need for brands to adapt their digital shelf strategies accordingly.

Why Brands Need To Look at Apps and Desktop Data Differently

Conventionally, brands that leverage digital shelf analytics rely on data harnessed from desktop sites of online marketplaces. This is because capturing data reliably and accurately from mobile apps is inherently complex. Data aggregation systems designed to scrape data from web applications cannot easily be repurposed to capture data on mobile apps. It requires dedicated effort and exceptional tech prowess to pull off in a meaningful and consistent way.

In reality, it is extremely important for brands to track and optimize their mobile digital shelf. Several digital shelf metrics vary significantly between desktop sites and mobile apps. These differences are natural outcomes of differences in user behavior between the two form factors.

One of these metrics that has a huge impact on a brand’s performance on retail mobile apps is their search discoverability. Ecommerce teams are well aware of the adverse impact of the loss of even a few ranks on search results.

Anyone can easily test this. Searching something as simple as “running shoes” on the Amazon website and doing the same on its mobile app shows at least a few differences in product listings among the top 20-25 ranks. There are other variances too, such as the number of sponsored listings at the top, as well as the products being sponsored. These variations often result in significant differences in a brand’s Share of Search between desktop and mobile.

Share of Search is the share of a brand’s products among the top 20 ranked products in a category or subcategory, providing insight into a brand’s visibility on online marketplaces.

Picture a scenario in which a brand heavily depends on desktop digital shelf data, confidently assuming it holds a robust Share of Search based on reports from its Digital Shelf Analytics partner. However, unbeknownst to the team, the Share of Search on mobile is notably lower, causing a detrimental effect on sales.

To fully understand the scale of these differences, we decided to run a small experiment using our proprietary data analysis and aggregation platform. We restricted our analysis to just and Amazon’s mobile app. However, we did cover over 13,000 SKUs across several shopping categories to ensure the sample size is strong.

Below, we provide details of our key findings.

Share of Search on The Digital Shelf – App Versus Desktop

Our analysis focused on three popular consumer categories – Electronics, CPG, and Health & Beauty.

In the electronics category, brands like Apple, Motorola, and Samsung, known for their mobile phones, earbuds, headphones, and more, have a higher Share of Search on the Amazon mobile app compared to the desktop.

Meanwhile, Laptop brands like Dell, Acer, and Lenovo, as well as other leading brands like Google have a higher Share of Search on the desktop site compared to the app. This is the scenario that brands need to be careful about. When their Share of Search on mobile apps is lower, they might miss the chance to take corrective measures since they lack the necessary data from their provider.

In the CPG category, Ramen brand Samyang, with a lot of popularity on Tiktok and Instagram, shows a higher Share of Search on Amazon’s mobile app. Speciality brands like 365 By Whole Foods, pasta and Italian food brands La Moderna, Divinia, and Bauducco too have a significantly higher Share of Search on the app.

Cheese and dessert brands like Happy Belly, Atlanta Cheesecake Company, among others, have a lower Share of Search on the mobile app. Ramen brand Sapporo is also more easily discovered on Amazon’s desktop site. Here, we see a difference of more than 5% in the Share of Search of some brands, which is likely to have a huge impact on the brand’s mobile eCommerce sales levels and overall performance.

Lastly, in the Health & Beauty category, Shampoos and hair care brands like Olaplex, Dove, and Tresemme exhibited a higher Share of Search on the mobile app compared to the desktop.

On the other hand, body care brands like Neutrogena and Hawaiian Tropic, as well as Beardcare brand Viking Revolution displayed a higher Share of Search on Amazon’s desktop site.

Based on our data, it is clear that there are several examples of brands that do better in either one of Amazon’s desktop sites or mobile apps. In many cases, the difference is stark.

So What Must Brands Do?

Our findings emphasize the imperative for brands to move beyond a one-size-fits-all approach to digital shelf analytics. The striking variations in Share of Search between mobile apps and desktops conclusively demonstrate that relying solely on desktop data for digital shelf optimization is inadequate.

If brands see that they’re falling behind on the mobile digital shelf, there are a few things they can do to help boost their performance:

  • If a brand’s Share of Search is lower on the mobile app, they can divert their retail spend to mobile in order to inorganically compensate for this difference. This way, any short-term impact due to lower discoverability is mitigated. This is also likely to result in optimized budget allocation and ROAS.
  • Brands also need to ensure their content is optimized for the mobile form factor, with images that are easy to view on smaller screens, and tailored product titles that are shorter than on desktops, highlighting the most important product attributes from the consumer’s perspective. Not only will this help brands gain more clicks from mobile shoppers, but this will also gradually lead to a boost in their organic Share of Search on mobile.
  • CPG brands, specifically, need to optimize their digital shelf for delivery intermediary apps (along with marketplaces). The grocery delivery ecosystem is booming with companies like DoorDash, Delivery Hero, Uber Eats, Swiggy, etc. leading the way. Using Digital Shelf Analytics to optimize performance on delivery apps is quite an involved process with a lot of bells and whistles to consider. Read our recently published whitepaper that specifically details how brands can successfully boost their visibility and conversions on delivery apps.

But first, brands need to identify and work with a Digital Shelf Analytics partner that is able to capture and analyze mobile app data, enabling tailored optimization approaches for all eCommerce platforms.

DataWeave leads the way here, providing the world’s most comprehensive and sophisticated digital shelf analytics solution, rising above all other providers to provide digital shelf insights for both web applications and mobile apps. Our data aggregation platform successfully navigates the intricacies of capturing public data accurately and reliably from mobile apps, thereby delivering a comprehensive cross-device view of digital shelf KPIs to our brand customers.

So reach out to us today to find out more about our digital shelf solutions for mobile apps!

- Vaibhav Khaparde
19th Jan, 2024

AI Amazon Artificial Intelligence Brand Perception Delivery Intermediaries Digital Shelf Discoverability E Commerce Electronics Food Delivery

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