What ice cream would you buy?

Cynthia Luo
Jan 5, 2022

Imagine you’re in a supermarket looking to buy ice cream. In front of the freezer section, there are five rows filled with various colors, brands, packaging, prices and flavors. As a first time ice cream buyer, how do you choose which one to buy?

The first thing you’re likely to do is pick up the most attractive item below eye level and assess the flavor and perhaps the price. You’ll do the same with other products across the same row. How do we know this? Because the placement of certain brands isn't random, it’s a science.

Research has uncovered shoppers are not only more focused on products to the right of them in an aisle but that for standard five-level grocery shelves, the optimal shelf has a product height of 48 inches getting 14-15% more attention than the top or bottom shelves, etc. etc. Brands knowing this information will pay premiums to ensure their products are positioned at a greater likelihood to be bought ( = premium shelf space).

While planograms differ between super markets, the premise is the same: the more visible a product, the higher the sales are likely to be.

If we apply the same logic to a digital shopping experience on e-marketplaces like Amazon or Lazada, unless you know exactly which brand and model you’re looking for, premium shelf space in ecommerce is the search result. While “shelves” exist in individual shops, they are hidden away from shoppers who are browsing “categories” (hence SIS = shop in shop) explaining why competition for greater share of search is fierce among sellers.

For sellers looking to “game” the search results, many marketplaces don’t share how the search algorithm works (even employees aren’t sure which factors pull weight).

So how do sellers gain share of search and increase visibility of their products?

  1. Optimise product listing for related keywords (thumbnail, product title, description, ratings & reviews)
  2. Offer steep promos to rank by price filters
  3. Bid on keyword ads within the ecommerce platform (aka retail marketing), the number can range between 2-3 keywords per SKU up to testing thousands of keywords per SKU - depends on your manpower or digital tool 😉

The last option delivers the quickest results and most effective way to gain share of search. The only watch out is the cost of gaining SOS - if revenue doesn't keep up, it’s important to turn off underperforming keywords.

Once you’ve established SOS, using software like Epsilo allows you to assess where your product performs in comparison to other ranking SKUs. Using the example of #SKINCARE below:

Epsilo Share of Search dashboard
Epsilo Share of Search dashboard

You don’t need to win for all keywords in your category. Indeed this is how many sellers, especially smaller merchants, are getting their products in front of shoppers over the large brands without the big budgets. They’ve gamed the system with smart in-platform marketing.

Want to learn more about how to optimise your ecommerce performance with digital tools? Contact us.

Related posts