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Dominating Share of Shelf Through Competitive Intelligence

newsOctober 3, 2019 By Gustavo Macedo

As e-commerce platforms present consumers with product listings that seem infinite, it is critical brands occupy the most prominent spaces if they are to be found and shopped. Advertising plays a key role in emerging from the clutter. However, the available advertising real estate is limited and works as a zero-sum game: the space one wins is the space another loses. In a context where more than one out of two marketers (57%) declares that efficiently managing high volumes of data is one of their more difficult challenges in 2019,[i] advanced competitive intelligence is an imperative in a brand’s toolbox if they are to make the most of their marketing budget.


Technology Highlight: Sonar

Sonar is a competitive intelligence platform providing marketers with strategic information about their competitive landscape across digital environments and markets. Used by major brands such as P&G, AccorHotels and Samsung, Sonar uses powerful crawling technology to bring to the surface low signals from competitors’ moves, even in walled gardens. Once product managers define which competitors to monitor in which retail environments, Sonar extracts data from the selected sources, transforms data to apply relevant calculations, and loads the formatted information into the Sonar database, accessible through a dashboard.


Pricing Intelligence

Sonar helps brands precisely calibrate their pricing according to competitors. Marketers can access insights such as price per category, per brand, per custom attribute (e.g., for automotive manufacturers: car model, fuel type), price elasticity (lower whisker, lower hinge, median, upper hinge, upper whisker and average), minimum advertised price and more. Each price can be recalculated to provide fair comparison (e.g., for CPG brands, prices can be readjusted per volume unit if competitors sell in different packaging formats), and first-party data can also be injected to add other layers of intelligence, such as profitability. Therefore, marketers can be notified via customised alerts of subtle changes in competitor pricing that can have drastic consequences in the consumer decision and react before losing sales.

Example: Fizzy drinks

Period: 10/18/2018-10/23/2018

Market: United Kingdom

Category: Diet, Diet caffeine free, Regular, Zero Sugar

Retailer: Amazon, ASDA, Ocado, Tesco

Flavour: Apple, Blood Orange, Burdock, Cherry, Cucumber, Ginger, Lemon, Lemon and Lime, Lemonade, Lime, Mango, Orange, Original, Rose Lemonade

Shelf Intelligence

 As highlighted in the iProspect 2019 Global Commerce Survey, only one marketer out of five (21%) currently uses a digital shelf analytics technology.[ii] A tool like Sonar delivers to brands a comprehensive vision of shelf presence, encompassing the real share of shelf vs. their competitors, their search coverage of strategic queries, the most popular products per category and retailer, and more. Marketers can use this information to improve their product mix per platform, inform the negotiations with retailers, understand where content optimisation should be performed, and evaluate the products and categories for which advertising would bring the most added value. 


Example: Refrigerators

Period: 09/11/2018-09/14/2018

Market: Brazil

Segment: Basic, Essential, Premium, Super Premium

Retailer: Angeloni, Carrefour, Casas Bahia, eFacil, Fast Shop, Magazine Luiza, Ponto Frio, Submarino

Brand: Brastemp, Consul, Electrolux, Panasonic, Samsung,

Advertising Intelligence

Using Sonar, marketers can understand the advertising strategies of their competitors. They can not only access the ad share per category, retailer and brand, they can also get insights on the type of ad run by their competitors. Powered by optical character recognition and image recognition, Sonar reads and interprets the content of any display banner to automatically categorise ads in promotional types (e.g., bundle, discount, trade-in, product launch, sponsorship, partnership) and provide ad samples for each. Sonar can also compile the list of all the products advertised per competitor to inform marketers about the strategies of their competitors. 


Example: Blenders and Mixers

Period: 08/13/2018-08/15/2018

Market: Brazil

Segment: Basic, Low Essential, Essential, High Essential

Retailer: Americanas, MagazineLuiza, Ponto Frio

Brand: Arno, Britania, Mondial, Philco 

Activating Competitive Data to Drive Paid Media Strategy

 The intelligence collected in competitive monitoring platforms like Sonar can be put into action very rapidly for paid media purposes. It can not only help marketers evolve their messaging and reassess the selection of products they promote through advertising, it can also directly drive bidding strategies and ad formats. iProspect has developed a decision matrix taking into consideration the product lifecycle stage and its competitive strength, with actionable tactics for each possible scenario.

This article is excerpted from the report Data-Driven Commerce. Download it now for key insights on winning at commerce in the new digital economy.


[i] iProspect 2018 Global Client Survey, October 2018

[ii] iProspect 2019 Global Commerce Survey, May 2019