With the e-commerce world exploding over the past 11 months, along with rapidly changing consumer purchasing habits, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies, brands, and manufacturers have been looking to Digital Shelf Analytics (DSA) to help them stay ahead of the competition. We sat down with Greg Urquhart, CTO, and Jordan Dick, Director of Engineering at the fast-growing DSA company, e.fundamentals, to learn how public online data is actually fueling DSA. Before we jump into the interview, let’s take a look at what DSA actually is, and why so many companies are adopting this forward-thinking software to improve conversion rates and drive growth.
What is Digital Shelf Analytics (DSA)?
DSA is a pioneering software solution that automates the gathering of all public online retail data for CPG companies, brands, and manufacturers. The software allows these companies to have a constant, real-time stream of online data about their products and category performance on e-commerce websites and marketplaces alike. For brands selling their products across a wide range of e-retail sites, manually collecting the online data they need simply no longer makes sense – it is far too labor-intensive and leaves ample room for human error.
DSA allows brands to gain a comprehensive view of the products they should be selling, where, and how, to ensure they’re making smarter data-driven decisions that enhance growth.
What role does online data play in DSA?
Public online data is essential for any DSA platform. The kinds of online data collected via DSA platforms include:
- Ratings and reviews: Brands can collect ratings and reviews about their own products in order to understand what consumers want and identify ways to improve. They can also track competitors’ product feedback to find potential unmet market demands.
- Sales data: Brands can collect sales data from a variety of different retail platforms to understand how certain factors exclusive to each platform, influence consumer behavior. It also allows brands to examine their overall sales share up-to-the-minute which enables them to optimize their tactics and increase revenue.
- Search data: Brands can collect search data to identify the position of their products on different retail platforms, both organic and sponsored. It can help brands understand the ‘bigger picture’, in conjunction with their sales figures, explaining why sales may have fallen/risen on any given day, depending on their product position.
- Product data: Brands can collect product data from all retail platforms where their products are being sold to ensure that all product descriptions, names, and images are uniformly displayed. This is vital for brand consistency that instills trust in shoppers.
- Promotional data: Brands can collect promotional data from competitors to see when are where discounts are being offered to ensure they closely match competitor pricing and remain competitive.
Catching up with Greg Urquhart, CTO, and Jordan Dick, Director of Engineering at e.fundamentals
We sat down with Greg Urquhart and Jordan Dick to learn more about the rise of e.fundamentals, and how public online data is fueling their DSA software.
Can you tell us about the company?
e.fundamentals is a digital shelf analytics platform that helps Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies understand how they can sell more products online. Our customers include Pepsi, Mars, Kellogs, Starbucks, Hewlett Packard, and Royal Canine. We’ve moved from being a start-up to a ‘scale-up’ (now with around 75 employees).
How would you say that online data assists you in serving your customers?
We gather publicly available online data of around 1.5 million products every day, from hundreds of retailers. We then run the online data through some clever analytics pipelines and draw insights. Our SaaS service then presents these insights to our customers. Our entire business is based on gathering publicly available data from websites and developing clever insights based on what we find. If we don’t get this online data, we can’t generate insights, and we obviously won’t have any customers.
How did 2020 affect your business?
From a business sense, it’s been wonderful. All the CPGs have understood that the only way they can grow their business is to increase their online sales – so it’s critical that they find the right product at the right time.
When you were searching for a data collection provider, what were you looking for?
First of all, a provider that has the capability to collect data at scale and is reliable – we have to make sure we’re collecting 99% of the products we need every single day. We also wanted a solution that was good value for money and offered a variety of solutions and products. Customer service and support are also very important. We have used other providers in the past and their platforms are very much ‘out of the box’ – they don’t have the self-management aspect, so you need to ask them to rotate the IPs when necessary, which is really inconvenient. The self-management aspect of Bright Data’s platform is great, and the customer service is absolutely outstanding. If ever we have any issues, they are fixed ASAP.
Which products do you use?
We use the Bright Data Residential IPs as well as the Bright Data Web Unlocker.
What has your experience been with Bright Data so far?
It’s been a positive experience. The platform is more efficient than the ones we have used in the past.
Would you continue working with Bright Data?
We are planning on doubling in size this year (we tripled last year), and we expect to continue expanding with Bright Data.