Distributor Data Solutions (DDS) has today (16th Feb) launched a new digital shelf analytics (DSA) offering to help suppliers assess the presence and quality of their product content on multiple e-commerce websites through a consolidated reporting dashboard.

Developed in direct response to DDS’ manufacturer customers’ needs, the Content Validation solution has already proved a success through an extensive beta programme conducted over the last nine months.

Matt Christensen, President of DDS, said, “There is a major challenge for manufacturers with this ‘last mile’ of the journey to get their product information published to hundreds of individual distributor and retailer websites.”

“Manufacturers are really at the mercy of their distribution partners not only in terms of how their products look online, but whether they’re listed at all, and from the initial data we’ve been helping them gather, the results are pretty alarming.”

Throughout the course of the beta programme, DDS highlighted that on average, 74% of the stock keeping unit (SKUs) involved manufacturers considered “core products” weren’t even displayed on their top partner sites.

Further to this, 29% of the SKUs that were listed were missing “basic” product content. 

According to Christensen, many manufacturers today are under the impression that their most important products are listed on their top partner sites, so in seeking DSA intel, they may expect the biggest issue to be a lack of supplemental, media-rich information beyond “the basics” of a catalogue number and a primary image.

Christensen continued, “We certainly see this content quality issue on many sites, but it’s been especially shocking to discover how many products are missing altogether – and these are the ‘bread-and-butter’ items that are part of these manufactures’ core set. It’s been a real eye opener for everyone.”

According to DDS, after an item makes it to a channel, manufacturers are hard-pressed to quantify how, or whether, their product content appears on partner sites.

On the above, Christensen continued, “Some of the larger manufacturers are trying to manually audit this themselves, which is costing them thousands of hours a month while still not generating consistent, usable data for them to work with in terms of diagnosing, and then improving upon, their digital shelf presence.”

DDS recognises that the pervasive issue is not only frustrating from a logical perspective, but costs both the manufacturer and their distribution partners millions in lost revenue, due to a lack of information meaning customers will look elsewhere.

Focus on how the new DSA will transform this, Christensen said, “And when they can’t efficiently pinpoint who is publishing what, how can they fix disparities to ensure a better and more consistent end-user experience? This is part of the new reality for manufacturers related to e-commerce and digitalisation—and another area that DDS set out to address.”