Tell us about your role and the team/technology you handle at Profitero.
As the SVP of Strategy at Profitero, I lead Product Innovation and Strategic partnerships with other technology and data providers. Profitero’s technology uses a combination of Artificial Intelligence and sophisticated Data Science methodologies to help brands measure and improve their e-commerce performance across more than 8,000 retailer sites worldwide. Using our tools, brands assess how they’re positioned and performing at the “digital shelf” in areas they can directly manage and influence like product content, ratings and reviews, e-commerce SEO and SEM, pricing, and on-shelf availability. Additionally, we give them among the most granular and accurate sales and share measurements available covering Amazon. Using our tools and competitive insights, brands can typically identify opportunities to improve e-commerce sales by more than 40%.
How did you arrive at Profitero?
I joined Profitero in 2014 as the company raised its Series A round of venture capital. Previously, I was Vice President at RetailNet Group, leading the company’s Digital Advisory Practice advising retailers and consumer goods brands on retail and e-commerce strategy, organizational design, capability development, and execution. Through my experiences, I saw first-hand the measurement gap in e-commerce. There were many tools that brands could use to measure and optimize the execution of products on the physical store shelf, but no great solution for measuring and optimizing execution on the “digital shelf.” I had prior experience with Profitero’s founding team and investors, hard-to-replicate technical capabilities and a rich pool of industry-leading data.
Tell us more about your latest product that you launched in May 2019?
We just launched our AMZ Maximizer suite, which fixes a major blind spot for brands selling on Amazon. While brands know how their own product sales are trending on Amazon, it’s hard for them to measure the two main factors underlying sales performance: daily pageviews of their product pages (traffic) and daily product page conversion rates. AMZ Maximizer provides brands with granular, daily-updated traffic and conversion estimates for all their products. It also allows brands to quickly and easily correlate their traffic, conversion and sales performance with changes in search ranking, pricing, out-of-stock rates, content, and reviews – leading to more precise optimization.
How does it help the e-marketers and retail brands?
Amazon is so dynamic. There are a number of variables that can drive traffic, conversion or sales up or down for any given product, on any given day. Confronting this “black box” can be daunting for e-commerce teams and marketers: how do you know if you are taking the right actions and pulling the right levers? With AMZ Maximizer, we are helping brands demystify what’s actually driving sales, so they can make more precise and efficient decisions for growth. For example, on any given day, an Amazon account manager can log into our application and see which products are losing page traffic and trace it back to a root cause, such as a product going out of stock or losing top search placement. They can then address the issue and protect sales, much faster.
For instance, during our beta period, The Master Lock Company recouped $500,000 in potential lost sales for just a single product by identifying a product that was getting immense interest, but under-performing due to persistent issues with staying in-stock.
How can CMOs and eCommerce Pros leverage your technology and solutions to optimize their software stacks?
In many ways, Amazon and Walmart.com are analogous to Google, Facebook, or any Digital Marketing channel. There are activities that drive traffic at the top of the funnel, such as sponsoring keywords. And there are activities that improve conversion at the bottom of the funnel, like price, promotions, strong product ratings, and compelling product content.
With our technology, CMOs and eComm teams can measure the ROI of their eCommerce marketing activities, just as they would do with any analytics technology to improve their Google, Facebook or other digital investments. Without tools like ours, it’s easy to leave money on the table. As an example, we find that 60% of Amazon sponsored product ads have suboptimal conversion rates. That is, brands are paying to drive traffic to products that we know aren’t converting well. So, either focus on improving those conversion rates or stop throwing away good money and redirect spend to products that are converting.
We find that our data actually adds value to other parts of the technology and software stack, especially in areas like PIM/DAMs and review syndication. For deeper insight on this topic, Profitero published a first-of-its-kind map of the modern e-commerce leader’s technology stack.
How are E-commerce and Mobile Commerce growing apart?
For years, mobile’s share of e-commerce traffic has been growing, but conversion rates have lagged. We see online retailers and their suppliers starting to get more serious about adapting to mobile form factors through investments, like higher-impact visual content.
In my view, we’ve spent around 20 years fixated on what I think of as the “demand chain” – essentially, how we attract, engage, and convert shoppers to buyers. With hindsight, it’s not hard to see why: the dawn of the internet, the emergence of smartphones, and the rise of search and social media.
Now, as economic and environmental sustainability rise to the top of the agenda, there is incredible interest in the supply chain – what form products take, where their ingredients and materials are sourced from, how they’re produced, how they’re packaged, how they’re stored and handled, and how they’re transported from manufacturing plant to consumer.
I mention this because the demand chain and the supply chain are deeply interconnected, even if they don’t feel that way. Warehouses are being automated. Stores are being automated. Delivery is being automated. 3D printing is beginning to mature in some areas.
If you’re a marketer or marketing technologist and aren’t thinking about how your objectives, goals, and strategies are enabled or constrained by the shifts occurring on the supply side, now is a great time to make friends in that part of your company.
How can Companies truly connect their Marketing Spend with revenue? Why Amazon is yet to lift that veil off it?
Via its Amazon Advertising solution, Amazon offers tools that allow brands to measure the revenue impact of their sponsored ad campaigns, in the form of ROAs. But they don’t offer tools for understanding and optimizing performance down the funnel, in terms of how well the pages you are sponsoring are converting or what levers you should pull to optimize conversion. And they have yet to provide brands with a way to measure sales performance relative to competitors or the category, so they can set a true objective yardstick for success. Profitero fills this gap for brands, allowing them to measure ROI throughout the whole funnel, with a way to benchmark against competitors.
Why are online retail marketplaces the new battleground for both marketers and e-commerce pros?
With a Digital Marketing platform like Google or Facebook, you can impact shoppers at the beginning of their shopper journey (a.k.a. top of the marketing funnel). But once they click on an ad, marketers lose visibility and control over the rest of the journey and metrics like “conversion” and “ROI” fall into a black box. eCommerce sites give marketers a way to measure and optimize the entire purchasing funnel, end to end.
eMarketer estimates that two-thirds of US shoppers now start their product searches on Amazon – so already, Amazon is a more effective platform for marketing at the top of the funnel. But with Amazon, your control over the shopper journey doesn’t end there. You can also directly influence other levers, such as product content, promotions and consumer reviews to optimize conversion. Then you can track that activity directly to improvements in sales and competitive sales benchmarks, like market share. It’s easy to see why marketers are shifting 60% of their Google advertising budgets to Amazon.
How did GDPR impact your business operations?
Since our technology doesn’t collect personal information on any users, it really hasn’t impacted what we do for our customers. Like any business, we’ve had to adapt to be sure we’re compliant in our own marketing communications.
Keith Anderson is Senior Vice President, strategy and insights, for Profitero. As head of strategy and insights for Profitero, Keith leads Profitero’s product strategy and global analyst team.
Prior to his current role, Keith was Vice President of RetailNet Group’s advisory practice and an Analyst for Management Ventures International, now Kantar Retail. He has served as an Advisor to InPlace Mobile, a venture-backed mobile technology company and holds a B.A. from Boston College.
Profitero is the eCommerce performance analytics platform of choice for the world’s leading brands. With Profitero, brands can measure their digital shelf performance across 8,000+ retailer sites and mobile apps in 50 countries, gaining actionable insights to improve product content, search placement, ratings & reviews, availability, assortment and pricing.
Profitero also allows brands to measure their Amazon sales & share performance, and is the only solution that can correlate Amazon sales & share performance with changes across the digital shelf. Many of the world’s leading brand manufacturers depend on Profitero’s granular and highly-accurate data to measure and improve their eCommerce performance. These include Beiersdorf, iRobot, Edgewell, General Mills, Heineken, Kids II, MillerCoors and L’Oreal.