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QandA: Joakim Gavelin from Detail Online

What’s keeping your products from skyrocketing online? Joakim Gavelin from Detail Online discusses the challenges brands face with product visibility online.   You spend your days… View Article

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QandA: Joakim Gavelin from Detail Online

What’s keeping your products from skyrocketing online? Joakim Gavelin from Detail Online discusses the challenges brands face with product visibility online.

 

You spend your days helping consumer brands ensure and improve their product visibility online by providing e-commerce audits. What are the main challenges for brands that sell online through resellers today?

I would sum it up into a couple of common roadblocks. The largest threat by far is that most brands aren’t even aware of the challenges they are facing online.

Many brands believe that just being online and publishing their content once is their egg of Columbus that solves it all. It’s scary to see how their products quickly can turn into something completely different on reseller’s websites, and the lost sales this causes.

In-stores brands have historically taken their visibility and performance seriously and frequently nursed their shelves. Online, they aren’t thinking of the same aspects and that’s exposing them to a lot of threats. Continuous focus on this area to fix the issues could quickly boost sales online and in-store at the same time. I add in-store, since shoppers use online channels for research before or while shopping in-store as well.

The first roadblock that many brands fail to see, is that the products that they expect to be on the online shelf never show up or disappear from the online shelf. This relates to a blend of technical, systematic and human issues. As much as 40% of SKUs have been proven to periodically vanish from online shelves. This is a major issue, since a product can’t be bought if it isn’t there.

Wow, that does sound like a big challenge. Are there others?

Yes, absolutely, but so stay on the major ones, second to the visibility issue I’d put that product content is being mixed up, disjointed or incorrectly presented online and changes over time. This leads to misled and confused consumers trying to buy and compare products across websites. When this happens, consumers quickly lose trust in such brands and products that show incorrect or disjointed content, leading to a potential lost sale for life.

Approx. 20% of all content we audit each day across the world is found to be messy in some way, so this is truly a major challenge for most consumer brands. Quite scary, isn’t it?

Thirdly, I would like to underline the extensive problem with out-of-stock issues online. As much as up to 20% of all SKUs globally are out-of-stock online. That’s more than double as much as the global out-of-stock rate in-store. Online, this is even more serious since when we are exposed to out-of-stock online we chose to stay on the website and buy another brand or product 70% of the time. Researchers have dubbed this “the Amazon effect” where you’re constantly exposed to multiple alternatives to what you’re truly looking for.

These are the main lost sales opportunities we are helping brands discover at Detail Online.

Your background is in retail sales. How did your job as a manager in physical retail prepare you for this business?

Detail Online sprung out of me being a manager at a field marketing agency driving brand performance in-store. One day, a customer called me and said Joakim, you help us in-store but we have a rising issue online, can you help there as well? One of our products is being incorrectly exposed online and consumers have bought this believing it can do something it can’t and now we are in trouble. Anything we can we do?

Since I was in the business of people, my spontaneous response was to employ two guys to manually audit this client’s resell channels. We tried this out for a couple of months before we realised the workload was just not realistic for humans to do. Machines are clearly more suitable to do these kinds of audits.

I then turned to Peter, who is my co-founding partner and Detail Online’s CTO today, and told him about the problem – and that was the birth of the Detail Online’s technology. So, everything came from a retailer that recognised the methodology commonly used in stores needed to be translated online.

Even today, several years later, I frequently run into global brands that do similar online audits themselves manually, by using resources in Marketing or Sales to spend time on this. I am usually very popular when I tell them that this can be done in a quicker, automated, frequent and more accurate way. A win/win for everyone.

So how does Detail Online optimise online product visibility?

We are a tech company in the business of product marketing. The work we do is tactical. We help brands identify where and what may have gone wrong on the first day of occurrence to enable them to fix issues before they lose any more sales. We do not optimise shelves for customers or execute the actions to fix anything. We do have good partners that help with such services in our network for brands that are interested.

We help our customers find the needles in the haystack and alert them on all lost sales opportunities we identify.

How does the solution technically work?

Some people think we’re like Google. But different to a search engine, we are very targeted. We solely audit the key online resellers that you ask us to audit. We then build customised spiders for all websites and marketplaces to audit. These spiders are very targeted for each assignment. We use them to visit the reseller websites on friendly grounds. All our audits are done slowly, at night time when traffic is as low as possible, in order not to interfere with any website functionality. Basically, we act just as polite online as I am used to do in-store.

All the data we capture we validate carefully. Validation and accuracy are everything in our business today. If we are in this market to help our customers navigate better tomorrow than they did yesterday, we better be accurate with the data and insights we provide.

We compare all data to the expected results as a frame of reference. If we find anything being different from what the brand expects it to be, we alert this as an opportunity for improvement. We can also alert of specific thresholds, like for example if a product goes below a certain rating or the price point moves – all depending on which KPIs the customer is after.

We also apply machine learning and elements of artificial intelligence to make all searches and each validation more and more effective and accurate every day.

So what’s the big vision?

We are shortly launching a predictive algorithm to predict each customer’s sales online per SKU, per reseller. This way we can also accurately associate our findings with the sales impact each issue has, which also then puts a price on every lost sales opportunity. This will show an instant ROI on each intervention to be taken, making it easy for Sales and Marketing teams to prioritise and focus on what matters most online.

I trust we will move online audits, product marketing and supply management to a new level!

Yes! This can directly be translated into competitive advantage, right?

Absolutely. By ensuring maximum visibility of products, content alignment across retailers and being in-stock – to be seen as the basics – brands put themselves in a pole position in relation to their competitors and their sales can quickly go into overdrive. If you compare a brand that focuses on its lost sales opportunities with a brand that hasn’t realised this is a problem, or a brand trying to do this manually, it can be the difference between success and failure going forward.

In some categories this is much more important than others, like for example electronics and sporting goods as they have a large portion of online sales. Groceries just have about 3% sales online but having the wrong ingredient list published could cost lives. So really, nobody can sleep on this.

Finally, where do you think Detail Online will go within the next couple of years?

When it comes to integrating online as a natural first point of interest for consumer brands, instead of looking at online as a side project, I think we will see a massive shift. Fixing leaks is vital.
We are developing our platform every single day and it moves quickly. In a couple of years, the impact of AI will be much heavier than now. It will be a lot easier for brands to work on their product visibility – and we will for sure be at the forefront.

To learn more about Detail Online’s product offering visit their website

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