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Prep for the Holiday Season with Top E-commerce Strategies


Prep for the Holiday Season with Top E-commerce Strategies

The most wonderful time of the year…is here. You already know that the holiday shopping season is the most critical period for retailers, both online and brick and mortar. How your business does during the last quarter of the year determines where things land for your bottom line.

This year, though, brand and e-commerce marketing managers are facing another wild ride, with uncertainty created by shifting trends. The pandemic brought on a surge in online buying, and many buyers are likely to continue to buy online. In fact, according to September 2021 survey data, consumers are planning a 50/50 split between online and brick-and-mortar buying. The retail giants—Amazon, Target, and Wal-Mart—are already capitalizing on convenience to hold onto their share of wallet.


There are other factors, though, to consider. Shopping trends are changing fast. News of supply chain pressures and worldwide shipping delays has spurred many shoppers to buy early or shift their buying behavior — 83% of shoppers intend to start before Thanksgiving this year, in a departure from the norm. In such an unpredictable market at such a high-stakes time of year, business intelligence has never mattered more. This is where the performance analytics platform Line Item can be the lifeline e-commerce marketers need right now to ensure they make the most of the holiday season.As we head into the heart of the 2021 holiday season, here are a few strategies to prepare and protect your digital shelf for the upcoming holidays.

Focus on organic search ranking. Whether they’re buying online or in person, many shoppers start their research online—on a smartphone or a tablet. This is why it’s essential to monitor and improve your online search ranking. Watch where you’re showing up, too. Moving from page 2 to page 1—and even into the top 10 listings—can significantly boost your sales. Improving your organic search ranking depends on visibility into what’s working—or not—for your brand. This is where Line Item can help, with detailed insight into what changes you could make to content, product descriptions, or imagery to affect your ranking in organic search results.

Analyze your paid search strategy. Shoppers are pressed for time, and you have only seconds to capture attention when it comes to search results. The holiday season is the time to invest in a robust paid search strategy, but you’ll want to be sure you understand what product attributes drive value. This is where Line Item can give you valuable campaign-level and product attribute insights. With them, you can better understand what’s driving the market and what your competitors are doing, so you can sharpen your edge and see ROI from a page-1 slot.Ensure your product detail pages are complete. This is a biggie. Incomplete or inconsistent product detail pages can harm you, whether we’re talking about Amazon listings or your own website. Across your e-commerce portfolio, all product detail pages should be complete, correct, and compelling. Line Item can help with this to make sure you aren’t overlooking clear areas or gaps that prevent you from meeting category bestseller benchmark standards.

Evaluate your SEO strategy and campaigns. During this volatile time of year, whims and demand drive the market in unpredictable ways. And that’s during a typical season, which 2021 is anything but. It’s essential to drill down to campaign elements, including CPCs, to ensure you have a read on how changing demand, sudden interest, or seasonality might be driving spend. E-analytics insight from Line Item can help you ensure your campaigns are profitable and that your overall marketing spend ultimately drives return on investment.

Watch out-of-stocks closely. Maintaining optimal inventory is key to profitability. When a customer is ready to buy and your product is out of stock, you lose the sale—and maybe the customer, too. Line Item helps you determine if out-of-stocks are hurting your revenue.

Track pricing. Many retailers are introducing new pricing strategies to drive sales this holiday season. Buy Now Pay Later is one of these, and it can appeal to segments like Gen Z and the unbanked, both of which are more price sensitive. The major retailers have already rolled out BNPL options; some have been in play since 2019. BNPL can affect pricing, so it’s important to monitor this. With Line Item, you can verify item pricing, selling price, and list price across platforms, ensuring that products are priced correctly even with new options like BNPL, and you can easily monitor third-party and competitor activity to protect your brand and products.

Of course, there are other strategies to consider, too—best practices like:

-Ensuring your checkout process is as easy as possible

-Providing access to customer service with tools like live chat, and with quick responses

-Creating engaging content, like gift guides

-Using targeting and segmentation to create personalized email campaigns

-Boosting sales with savvy retargeting

Using updated visuals and copy for featured holiday campaigns, and to ensure your site and product pages have that holiday look and feel, and more

This holiday season may be full of surprises, but your performance shouldn’t be one of them. The right insight can make or break your brand this holiday season, and business intelligence can give you what you need, when you need it. This is where Line Item really stands out as a single platform with insight into shopping trends and behavior, and what your competitors are doing—so you can finish 2021 in the black.


See Line Item in Action with a Live Webinar or Product Demo

You already know that CPG e-commerce has taken a leap forward during the pandemic—and that business intelligence has become table stakes for success. This is because knowledge is power, and what you don’t know is hurting you. In such a dynamic market, you must monitor changing demand patterns and analyze the risks of CPG e-commerce without business intelligence. We’ve gone beyond analyses and caution, though, to share how the right business intelligence platform can help you sell more on Amazon and Walmart, the giants that control the retail market. And we’ve shared an overview of the good, better, and best tools for e-commerce e-analytics to show how Line Item helps CPG and e-commerce marketers master their market with insights to drive sales growth.

Now to compliment our industry-specific articles, we’re offering live webinars and product demos so you can see Line Item in action.Why watch a live webinar, or tune into an on-demand session? Simply put, a live product tour brings Line Item’s features to life in specific ways for your category or product portfolio. It’s a way for you and your colleagues to understand the power of business intelligence for your business, not just for CPG and e-commerce in general (though of course, that’s important, too).
Here are four reasons to join us for a live Line Item webinar or product demo.#1: Understand value through product attributes.
Line Item’s deep insight into product attributes is what sets it apart from other analytics platforms. With a single tool built specifically for CPG and e-commerce, marketers can improve performance and profitability by understanding exactly what’s driving value. Line Item’s proprietary AI engine can calculate attributes for every item, even across hundreds of items in a category. These include form (like liquid or powder), size, flavor, and packaging (like pouch, box, and more).With a live product demo, you can see how Line Item enables visibility into this granular detail for business intelligence that powers better decision-making. See when competitors are coming out with new items that could threaten your sales. Detect new attributes that drive value. Know what consumers value about your product and your brand.

#2: Learn how to truly optimize your search results.
Search results matter. They can make or break whether your product makes it into customers’ carts, in-store or online. There can be many reasons why your product isn’t getting its share of page one, but if you don’t know them, you can’t address them with a fix. And it’s not enough to look at them as separate. A smart and successful digital strategy is built and optimized across all selling platforms. You need to know if your e-commerce SEO is working across all sites and all search terms.

In a webinar, you can understand the power of Line Item in optimizing SEO strategy across all keywords, retailer websites, and online marketplaces. Line Item provides insight into how your brands and items are ranking and analyzes page share, rank by item, brand, form, and other attributes. You can also ask questions specific to your brand or category on SEO strategy and how Line Item powers it.

#3: Discover how to drive sales with smarter insights.
How do you know if your promotions are performing? Which search terms are working across all retailers and platforms? Which keywords are worth investing in? This level of detail is where the battle for the digital shelf is won, but it’s impossible to access without deep insight. And it’s not actionable without the kind of visibility into your e-analytics that Line Item enables. This is just one example of how smarter insights can drive sales growth in the fiercely competitive e-commerce market.

Here are some others. Are your out-of-stocks hurting revenue? Are they giving competitors the edge if you don’t maintain inventory on Amazon? Optimizing inventory is enough of a challenge without having to second-guess your strategy. Line Item gives you the insights to understand how inventory is affecting your sales and ultimately your profitability. A webinar or live demo can show you how Line Item can be a game-changer for your e-commerce portfolio.

#4: Level up your ability to monitor third-party activity.
Amazon may be the world’s biggest marketplace, but it’s also the world’s most competitive. Keeping tabs on authorized and unauthorized third-party activity is key to success on the platform, but it can be complex even with the right tools. Unless, that is, you’re using Line Item. In a webinar or live product demo, you can see how a deep dive with Line Item can reveal when an unauthorized third-party seller starts selling your product online. With Line Item, you can understand when your items are priced correctly as well as when competitors or third-party sellers are undercutting your price. From pricing to competitor activity, see how Line Item can help you understand more about your market.

Actions speak louder than words. Join us for an upcoming webinar or request a live product demo to see how Line Item can transform your CPG e-commerce. You’ll understand why Line Item is your best option for mastering your market. It’s a single platform with comprehensive capabilities purpose-built for CPG e-commerce. In today’s competitive and uncertain e-commerce market, Line Item is your lifeline to more profitable e-commerce.

third party sellers

Protecting Your Brand from Third-Party Sellers and Retail Arbitrage

From its humble origins as an online bookseller, Amazon has already ridden the rise of e-commerce. According to new research, though, it’s on track to overtake Walmart as the largest retailer in the US by 2025. By then, Amazon will also account for nearly two-thirds of the estimated $1 trillion in online consumer goods sales.

For consumers, it makes sense: with one-click ordering, access to products from over 8 million sellers, fast shipping, and (often) the best price, buying on Amazon is an easy choice.

It’s not as easy for sellers, though. Yes, Amazon opens the door to millions of additional buyers, but it controls the marketplace and introduces new competitive pressure. It’s important to protect your brand on Amazon, especially from third-party sellers that can undercut your sales or damage your brand loyalty. There’s more, though: retail arbitrage is an ecommerce business model that’s growing rapidly, and it’s important to understand it and protect your brand against it. Put simply, retail arbitrage is when people buy retail products (online or in person) and resell them on Amazon and other online marketplaces for a higher profit. It’s happening all the time, to brands that are sold regularly on Amazon as well as those that are restricted—which means that they’re not to be sold on Amazon.

Because third-party sellers and retail arbitrage are widespread, you must have visibility into your product and brand portfolio. This is where the performance analytics Line Item can be essential for monitoring your e-analytics to protect your portfolio. Let’s look at why.

Amazon third-party sellers
Third-party sellers are growth drivers within a rapidly growing market. In fact, according to research from Planet Retail RNG, third-party sellers on Amazon already account for more than half of all sales—and by 2022 will account for as much as $130 billion of total gross merchandise value on the platform. This means they are a force you can’t ignore—and more sellers open accounts every day.

Before looking further at the risks, let’s define terms. First-party sellers are brand manufacturers that sell their inventory directly to Amazon. Amazon then sells to customers. Second-party sellers are Amazon suppliers that are not the product’s manufacturer; Amazon often relies on second-party sellers to buffer inventory. Third-party sellers strategically use Amazon as a marketplace for direct-to-consumer sales.

Amazon buyers may be indifferent about purchasing from these different types of sellers. But brand manufacturers are not. Think of it this way: every third-party sale of your products is a sale you lost out on. And these sales are only projected to grow. Why? It’s become very easy to resell on Amazon. All you need is an Amazon Seller account and products to sell. To make it even easier to net a profit, there are price-tracking apps that give resellers real-time info simply by scanning or entering product codes.

Third-party seller risks to your brand
Third-party sellers can cost your brand, so monitoring and acting on any activity is critical. The risks include:

-Unauthorized sales

-Price undercuts

-Losing the buy box

-Lower search results, ranks, and conversions

-Losing control of your curated detail page because of Amazon Fulfillment Center out-of-stocks

-Quality problems with selling condition

-Erosion of brand equity and consumer loyalty

Restricted brands
Amazon tries to control counterfeiting through restricting certain brands or even certain products on Amazon. But third-party sellers have found many ways around this, so even if your brand or product is restricted on Amazon, that doesn’t mean it isn’t being sold.

What brands can do about third-party activity
CPG and e-commerce brands must understand the scope of any third-party sales on Amazon and other platforms. To tightly control the supply chain, you must evaluate:

-How many resellers will your brand authorize, who are they, and on what retail sites are they selling

-Whether authorized resellers are upholding your brand, including product quality, customer service, and pricing

-If customer reviews are trending negatively, including unaddressed customer service needs that may ultimately damage consumer confidence—and your brand.

Line Item can help by identifying third-party activity as well as verifying pricing, including list price, selling price, and price undercutting. Let’s look at how Line Item can help when it comes to third-party activity on Amazon.

Line Item can help you identify new, unauthorized third-party activity on Amazon.

Line Item can track e-analytics related to item pricing, helping you understand if your products are under- or overpriced, or when a third-party seller undercuts your price.

Line Item captures e-analytics including e-tailer, review score and count, selling price and more, so you can gain visibility via a single platform into every aspect of your online sales.

Line Item can identify if your reviews are letting you down, giving you insight that can help you address brand loyalty and consumer confidence for online sales.

Line Item can tell you if out-of-stocks are hurting your revenue, helping you track inventory to retain greater control over your sales, curated detail page, and more.

With Amazon on track to take over as king of global retail, now is the time to put the right safeguards for your brand in place. It’s not just about Amazon sales; with Amazon a major driver of online sales beyond the platform, it’s about ensuring your brand viability and sales across all online channels. This is where Line Item can be a game-changer for your Amazon and online sales, helping you protect your brand from third-party seller risks and giving you e-analytics insight to grow your loyalty alongside your sales.


Ironbridge Software was founded in 1989 by Mike Dickenson. Mike’s unparalleled expertise and passion for technology led him to create the first-ever analytical solution for the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry


CPG e-Commerce without Business Intelligence

We’re more than a year now into a new era for CPG e-commerce.For years, CPG e-commerce has lagged behind retail e-commerce. Consumers who ordered clothes, shoes, and gadgets online without a second thought still relied on the Target, Costco or grocery run for CPG staples like personal care and consumables. Why? Old habits die hard.

Now, everything has changed—and fast. E-commerce took a leap into the future during COVID-19. At first, it was about contact avoidance and social distancing, but now it’s becoming about convenience. We’re simply ordering more and, during the last year, circumstances have changed old habits.

In this new e-commerce era, these shifting patterns are making demand harder to predict, and they are creating new challenges while also opening new opportunities. Businesses need better insights to make better decisions, or they are going to lose out.

This is where Line Item is a game-changer. This performance analytics platform gives consumer packaged goods (CPG) and e-commerce marketing managers business intelligence on e-analytics and product attributes to drive revenue and profitability.

With Line Item, CPG brands can revolutionize their ability to respond to the market and gain valuable insights into changing demand patterns to unlock growth.

Without this kind of business intelligence, they risk being left out in the “new normal” of CPG e-commerce. Here’s a closer look at the risks of CPG e-commerce without business intelligence.

Risk: Missing out on key trends
Yes, the way consumers shop has changed, but understanding this at the meta level and the category level are two different things. It’s essential to understand what trends are shaping the category for your brands and products—and this is almost impossible without business intelligence.

Line Item tracks hundreds of items in each product category, helping e-commerce managers monitor new products, brands, and competitors. Line Item also reveals which items are newly trending to enable new insights into the competition.

Risk: Missing out on buying behavior
Understanding how, when, and where consumers are buying is critical in a market driven by demand fluctuations. Brands that can gain visibility into how product attributes, pricing, and promotions perform can understand how to adjust their strategy to maximize marketing activity and grow their online sales.

Built especially for CPG and e-commerce, Line Item makes this level of insight possible, providing deep e-analytics that reveal more about promotion strategy, third-party activity, and attribute-level data.

Risk: Missing out on sales
When demand can change daily, it can be difficult to balance inventory. Overstocking eats into the bottom line, but understocking does, too. No one wants to wait when they’re ready to buy. When your product is out of stock, consumers will buy something else.

Line Item can provide insights that tell you if out-of-stocks are hurting revenue. This business intelligence can help CPG brands grow online sales.

Risk: Missing out on personalized marketing
Personalized marketing requires understanding consumer behavior and preferences. With better business intelligence across a product portfolio, brands can create unique offers, cross-promotional campaigns, and upsells.

Line Item can enable superior insights, including integrating data with AMZ Brand Analytics, Retail Link, Partnersonline and more to provide better insight faster.

Risk: Missing out on better decision-making
Going forward, the most successful online brands will be those that have visibility into how product attributes, pricing, and promotions perform, so they can optimize their e-commerce strategies. They must understand what is driving value, especially in a market that can shift rapidly.

Line Item enables a deep dive into each product, capturing all attributes to determine what is driving value for better decision-making. This insight can also help e-commerce marketers monitor competitor activity and see new market entrants.

Ultimately, better business intelligence is a business imperative for CPG brands. Without BI, brands risk missing out on trends, competitors, opportunities and more—and this affects the bottom line. Line Item empowers you with a single platform for better insight into what’s driving sales or what’s working against you. It’s your lifeline to more profitable CPG e-commerce.