3 Game-Changing Methodologies for Optimizing Digital Shelf, SEO, & Advertising

Emilee Valken

February 11, 2021

2020 was a devastating year for many markets, but ecommerce isn’t one of them. The year catapulted ecommerce a decade into the future, and ecommerce sales were at an all-time high going into 2021. The unforseen acceleration of eccomerce shows it’s never been more important for brands to optimize their Amazon strategies.

On a Pattern webinar about digital shelf, SEO, and advertising, CEO and co-founder Dave Wright and Chief Revenue Officer John LeBaron discussed how brands can step up their ecommerce game in 2021 by fine-tuning their SEO and advertising strategies using data-backed tools and methodologies.

**1. The executive dilemma: Ecommerce teams are set up to fail **

Wright started the webinar by describing what he calls the executive dilemma—the gap between what small ecommerce teams can realistically do and what executives expect them to do.

It’s unrealistic, Wright said, to expect a small in-house ecommerce team to successfully handle everything it takes for a brand to thrive online. Even enormous companies place the burdens of logistics and distribution squarely on the shoulders of a team of 3 or 4 people. The same team is also expected to learn several different pieces of software to make sure everything is running smoothly online. In general, Wright said, companies use 19 different pieces of software to run Shopify alone.

As if that weren’t enough, ecommerce teams also take responsibility for driving traffic to the product and ensuring conversion—which includes creating top-notch imagery, video, and content, and running tests to make sure these messages are resonating with consumers. Executives then expect these small teams to branch out to foreign countries and languages and establish a strong presence on marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba.

“This quickly becomes a gigantic problem to solve—for three people, a near impossibility,” Wright said. “If it doesn’t come at an executive level, then somebody down in the trenches needs to help the executive team understand that what they’re asking them to do is a near impossibility.”

The misconception that even the best ecommerce team can handle every aspect of a businesses’ online presence is costing companies millions of dollars in lost sales and lost markets, Wright said. That’s why it’s critical to team up with an experienced ecommerce partner that can help you handle the nitty-gritty facets of ecommerce and successfully expand to global markets.

2. Digital Shelf: Understanding competition on ecommerce

Pattern is an ecommerce accelerator that exists to simplify ecommerce for brands while propelling their sales and growth. Partnering with us is like pushing a “big green easy button,” as Wright called it, since we take over the tedious parts and leave you with more time, resources, and revenue.

Along with our expert teams, we have 4 products in our tech stack that help us do that: Destiny, Predict, Shelf, and Share. In this webinar, Wright focused on Destiny, which helps brands identify their competitors and win keywords on Amazon by driving more traffic to product listings.

Wright explained two key concepts that are central to Destiny, the first being a digital shelf of competitors. Just like competing products are placed together on a physical shelf in brick-and-mortar stores, the digital shelf helps brands understand their true Amazon competition based on which products appear next to theirs in searches.

“Brands often think their retail competitors are their competitive set, but when you get into the Amazon landscape, there are lots of competitors there who don’t show up anywhere else,” Wright said. “Oftentimes, they’re more true competitors. They’re people really stealing your market share, they’re people you’re really competing with.”

3. Laddered Destiny: Selecting strategic ad keywords to increase organic rank

The second concept is the idea of Laddered Destiny, a model that helps brands select keywords they can realistically win, spend advertising money until their products become organically ranked for said keywords, and then move on to other keywords or keyword phrases.

On average, Pattern’s Predict software gives 1,500 to 2,000 keywords for any given product. In the Laddered Destiny model, we rank these keywords according to destiny—given the product’s quality, price, and reviews compared to competitors on the digital shelf, which keyword searches can it realistically win? And once we’ve won those keyword searches, how can we keep climbing our way up the ladder?

To explain Laddered Destiny, Wright used the example of a probiotic. At first, a probiotic product may only have the destiny to win a niche keyword search, like “probiotic for women over 50.” Once that product starts spending ad money and organically dominating in that niche space, however, it may then have the destiny to win “probiotics for women” and eventually even just “probiotic.” The concept is to keep climbing the ladder and win more and more keywords to increase traffic and ultimately increase conversion and revenue.

how laddered destiny optimizes organic rank for keywords on ecommerce | Pattern

“You’ll get great traction on this if you really spend the time doing a great job at the product level,” Wright said. “This model will work tremendously well because you do have destiny. So if you’re saying to yourself, ‘Gosh, I know I’ve got an amazing product,’ and you just need to get it out there, that’s what we’re really good.”

How Laddered Destiny changes the game for SEO and advertising

The information we glean from Laddered Destiny is extremely valuable in forming effective SEO and advertising strategies. Running an ASIN through the software tells brands exactly which keywords are both relevant to their digital shelf of competitors and realistic for them to win. This makes it easy to make data-backed decisions on which keywords to include in product titles and listings and where to pour advertising dollars.

During the webinar, Wright ran a live Laddered Destiny demo, using a product from the sock brand Feetures as an example. First, the software determined Feetures’ digital shelf, listing the ASINs of its direct competitors.

Detecting competitors on ecommerce with digital shelf technology | Pattern

With the digital shelf determined, Wright could then pull up the keyword and keyword phrases that the products of the digital shelf, including Feetures’ products, were winning on Amazon. Some of these keywords included “running socks women,” “women’s running socks,” and “women’s no show running socks.” Finally, with all this information, the software generated SEO and bigram recommendations specific to Feetures and its digital shelf.

How to use laddered destiny for keyword phrase match and optimization on ecommerce | Pattern

Although Feetures brands its products as unisex, it’s clear they have destiny around keywords specific to women’s running socks and that the products on their digital shelf dominate in keyword searches relating to women’s socks. However, the demo revealed that the product title doesn’t even mention the word “woman.” According to Wright, these kinds of mistakes are easy to make when you don’t have the data.

“Just taking a pure data science approach to winnability at a keyword or keyword phrase level using the digital shelf is game-changing,” Wright said. “When you start running this and seeing the impact you can have on a given product, it’s enormous. And it’s really not that hard, but it’s difficult to put all these pieces together into an overall strategy, especially if you’ve got 3 people on the team.”

LeBaron added that while ad spend can initially increase while starting the Laddered Destiny model, it gradually gets less expensive as a product starts winning organic search terms. When a product listing starts organically appearing in the top 4 search results, the Laddered Destiny technology will turn off advertising for that word and only turn it back on if the product slips lower than the seventh spot.

“We don’t spend on advertising to just generate additional supplementary revenue,” LeBaron said. “We spend on advertising to build organic rank. And in turn, we end up actually spending less on advertising.”

How laddered destiny helps decrease ad spend and increase organic rank on ecommerce | Pattern

Apart from Destiny, we use a four-part advertising strategy called CABN (Conquesting, Awareness, Branded, Non-branded.) Each main topic plays together but has a separate playbook and strategy. A brand may be focusing on different models at the same time, like by simultaneously investing in both an awareness campaign and a conquesting campaign.

CABN Advertising methodology to grow sales on ecommerce | Pattern

Pattern’s ad tech and advanced machine learning make CABN possible. For example, once a brand has decided how much money they can spend on conquesting a particular competitor, the machine will then go after keywords related to that conquest. The conquesting learns over time, so if it successfully pursues a keyword phrase, the feedback loop leads it to double down on that keyword and start increasing the bid naturally.

“If somebody starts jacking up the price on, let’s say, probiotic, the machine will start stepping away from that because it will find better value propositions and other keywords or keyword phrases,” Wright said. “Without using some tech around this, you’ll just get destroyed.”

Once the machine starts learning and seeing where a brand can get real results, we then give our brands data-backed recommendations for keywords and advertising strategy.

Interested in learning more about how you can partner with Pattern to step up your Amazon strategy in 2021? Contact us using the form below.

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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022
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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters](https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/amazon-drives-renewable-energy-push-with-71-new-projects-2022-09-21/) Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/26/prime-early-access-sale/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/shopify-launches-new-localisation-tool/) Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News](https://uk.news.yahoo.com/etsy-600-million-on-marketing-ceo-154054219.html) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/22/meta-to-slash-costs-by-10-over-coming-months/) DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/21/dhl-partners-with-quadient-to-offer-smart-locker-delivery/) The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/online-fashion-market-worth-e175-billion-in-2025/)

Global Ecommerce: Weekly News (20th September 2022)
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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/amazon-to-raise-delivery-drivers-pay-and-add-more-work-benefits/) Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/amazon-to-give-away-shipping-software-to-merchants/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/walmart-launches-virtual-fitting-rooms-to-drive-clothing-sales/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=2da7f0f8f8-EMAILCAMPAIGN202209150742&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-2da7f0f8f8-61040615) THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/thg-slashes-forecast-as-cost-of-living-crisis-hits-consumers-wallets/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/post-office-partners-with-dhl-express-to-provide-click-and-collect-services/) US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/us-consumer-watchdog-to-start-regulating-bnpl-sector/) Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/13/japan-ecommerce-market-to-grow-by-6-9-in-2022/) Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](https://searchengineland.com/ecommerce-brands-spent-60-more-on-tiktok-ads-in-q2-387876)

Global Ecommerce: Weekly News (13th September 2022)
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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 13th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon scales back on US warehouse facilities Amazon is shutting down two facilities with 300 employees, discarding plans for 42 facilities, and delaying plans to open a further 21 buildings across the US. The ecommerce giant is scaling back on hiring as well as the expansion of its vast delivery network, as it was left with an excess of space following its rapid expansion during the pandemic. [Read more on Business Insider](https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-closes-2-facilities-scraps-plans-42-new-buildings-report-2022-9?r=US&IR=T) --- Other Marketplace News --- JD.com is ‘betting’ on ecommerce grocery market Amidst a slowing economy and a decline in ecommerce, Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com has increased its urgency to seek new growth engines. The company is looking to boost its online grocery business through offline partnerships and expansion into lower-tier cities, where it may be able to unleash more consumption power. [Read more on The Star](https://www.thestar.com.my/tech/tech-news/2022/09/08/chinese-ecommerce-giant-jdcom-bets-big-on-online-grocery-lower-tier-markets-amid-slowing-economy) Shopee shuts operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico Sea’s ecommerce arm, Shopee, has shut local operations in some LATAM countries but will continue to maintain cross-border operations in a few markets. Latin America is Sea’s most important region following South-east Asia, accounting for close to 19% of its revenue in 2021. The move away from these countries is largely due to increased levels of macro uncertainty and rising interest and inflation rates, and rather putting a focus on its core operations. [Read more on Straits Times](https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/seas-shopee-shuts-operations-in-argentina-chile-colombia-mexico-sources) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Instagram scales back in-stream shopping elements Instagram is re-examining its approach as it hasn’t been able to make ‘fetch’ happen. ‘Fetch’ in this context being the online shopping trends which have become all-consuming in China, and what Western social platforms have been hoping to add into their apps to make them more addictive and revenue-generating. Consumers have not been swayed by the latest shopping tools on TikTok and Instagram, leading to Instagram scaling back its in-stream shopping program. [Read more on SocialMediaToday](https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/instagram-scales-back-in-stream-shopping-elements-as-it-re-examines-its-app/631276/) FedEx Express supporting the growth of cross border ecommerce FedEx express has expanded its international commerce shipping service to four more markets across the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region in an effort to support the strong development of ecommerce in this region. Three of the fastest growing markets, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam are leading Southeast Asia’s ecommerce sales, which is set to reach $100 billion by 2023. [Read more on Post & Parcel](https://postandparcel.info/149889/news/e-commerce/fedex-express-supports-the-growth-of-cross-border-e-commerce-within-the-amea-region/) India ramps up hiring as companies prepare for shoppers Ecommerce companies are getting ready for the festive season by rapidly expanding their temporary workforce. As ecommerce in India grows, the country is predicted to have 372 million online shoppers by the end of 2022. The festive season this year, running from October to December, is expected to see a two-fold increase in logistics and delivery alone. During this period, companies are predicted to add 20% more to their existing workforce base, with a 8-10% higher pay scale compared to last year. [Read more on Business Insider India](https://www.businessinsider.in/business/ecommerce/news/the-great-indian-festival-of-hiring-e-commerce-companies-gear-up-for-indias-shoppers/articleshow/94000346.cms)