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Interview

Webinar: Develop a Winning Team for the Digital Shelf, with Lauren Livak, Director of the Digital Shelf Institute and Sheri Stoller, Director of Ecommerce at Trilliant Food and Nutrition

Until our robot overlords take over, winning on the digital shelf requires the right team of people. What is the mix of hard and soft skills that team members need to have to deliver and thrive in a rapidly changing and critical sector of the business? Lauren Livak, who ran North American Digital shelf strategy at Johnson and Johnson and is now Director of the Digital Shelf Institute, teamed up with Sheri Stoller, Director of Ecommerce at Trilliant Food and Nutrition in a recent Digital Shelf Playbook series webinar to answer this question and many more. It’s such a great conversation, we wanted to share it with our podcast audience as well.

TRANSCRIPT

Peter (00:00):

Welcome to unpacking the digital shelf, where we explore brand manufacturing in the digital age,

Speaker 2 (00:16):

[Inaudible]

Peter (00:18):

Peter Crosby from the digital shelf Institute. Until our robot overlords takeover winning on the digital shelf requires the right team of people. What is the mix of hard and soft skills that team members need in order to deliver and thrive in a rapidly changing and critical sector of the business? Lauren Livak who ran north American digital shelf strategy at Johnson and Johnson, and is now director of the digital shelf Institute teamed up with Sherry Stoller director of e-commerce at Trillium food and nutrition in a recent digital shelf playbook series webinar. To answer this question and many more, I was lurking around as well. It's such a great conversation. We wanted to share it with our podcast audience.

Lauren (00:58):

Thanks so much, Peter, and thanks so much Sherri for being on really excited for the presentation today for those who have joined the series so far, welcome back for the second one. As we talk about people, we're going to talk today about why organizational structure matters. We know it's a very challenging question, a very challenging task you might have as you're going through digital transformation, where you should start as you're building out, or as you're expanding your team, the jobs that needs to be done when you're thinking about how to build out that organizational structure and where they might fall and then how to work. Cross-Functionally because that's incredibly important as you think about building out your digital shelf team from end to end. So the first place I really wanted to start was the, why does it matter? We all are in the digital space.

Lauren (01:49):

We all are in e-commerce. We understand that it's rapidly changing and there's always a new trend, something new to keep up with something new and exciting that we need to account for in our process and our teams, but to provide just some context on average, it takes about 20 minutes to update 20 skews on Amazon. And that is with a full functioning team with technology in place, with a process to be able to do that. It could take about 15 minutes to find the correct images within your organization, depending on where they live inside a different system, maybe in an email or SharePoint bile. And the reason I provide that context is because that means with the hundreds or thousands of skews that you need to account for, you need to have the people and the time accounted for, to be able to support that.

Lauren (02:41):

And in general, e-commerce takes more time from a setup standpoint than brick and mortar. There's more data, there's more content that needs to be found. There's more portals or different technologies that you might need to use. So thinking about resources, it's very important to provide that context as to why you might need more support or a broader team. Now, when we think about what is the secret to a successful digital shelf team, there's a couple of different things I wanted to touch on. As we were talking to many different people in this space, there's many different themes that have emerged. The first one being it is so important to think about unifying, both your in-store and your online setup. So when you're setting up a product to be sold on a shelf at a ShopRite or at a Walmart, you need to go through finding the image.

Lauren (03:37):

So you can set up the planigram, you need to understand price. You need to have certain amount of information from a logistical supply chain standpoint. All of that information also has to be uploaded to your e-commerce websites and your e-commerce portals. So you want to make sure that you're not doing that twice and that those teams are talking to each other. And we're going to talk a lot about that. Cross-Functional engagement as we go through the presentation, the digital shelf is a team sport to that exact point, having that cross-functional alignment is critical, and Sherry's going to talk a lot about that. And it also gives us the stories and examples from her experience. And then in terms of alignment, needing engagement and alignment from the executive team, understanding that this is important, understanding what the goals are and how the teams and how those goals fit into the broader organization, but also making sure that the people doing the work also understand the why, and they know that it is important and impactful their work that they're doing and how it affects the overall digital shelf process.

Lauren (04:40):

And then this is something that I love talking about, but don't underestimate the amount of fingertips you need to get the work done in addition to the strategy. So going back to what I was talking about before, in terms of around 20 minutes to update 20 skews on Amazon, that takes fingertips. That takes work to actually upload. And even if you have the right technology, be able to support that and streamline it and get the content live. So make sure that you understand that when you're thinking about building out your digital shelf team, do you have the right fingertips and the right work, getting done as well as the right strategy and the right people driving that strategy throughout your organization.

Lauren (05:22):

Now, when we think about what this means for the broader organization and what work needs to get done, digital is a very broad word, digital shelf, e-commerce span so many different things across your organization. It can be your direct to consumer site. It can be working with shipping and packaging, identifying price, defining your assortment, social selling ratings and reviews, paid organic search. And the reason for this slide is to really show the breadth of what digital encompasses to help you understand and realize the teams and the people that you might need to connect with either in the organization that you're building around digital or in that cross-functional collaboration, because there are so many pieces of digital transformation that go into that digital shelf.

Lauren (06:18):

Now we have a poll we wanted to make this interactive. So you will see it pop up on your screen as we go through this. But we would love to understand from you, what is the hardest part about building a digital organization structure, structure to support your needs? Is it getting budget approved to hire new head counts, getting leadership alignment on why it's important to invest? Are there conversations around whether a global or a local team is needed or getting cross-functional alignment? So we really want to understand as you're going through this process right now, are you seeing any of these challenges and where might you be focusing,

Peter (07:00):

Hey Lauren, we're running the poll right now. I wanted to give it a couple of more seconds to sit while people are answering it. Perfect.

Lauren (07:10):

I just saw it pop up on my screen. Great.

Peter (07:12):

Great. All right. I'm going to close the poll in 3, 2, 1, and let's take a look. Perfect.

Lauren (07:24):

Oh, very interesting.

Peter (07:27):

The dreaded cross-functional alignment, shocking,

Lauren (07:32):

You know, I'm, I'm, I'm whenever we do these polls, I always am very interested to see the results, but I I'm very happy when it fits right into our storyline. So the, the cross-functional alignment piece, yes, very critical. We'll give you some tips and tricks and tools, and Sherry will jump into that a bit in terms of her experience, but I'm also interested to see that getting budget approval is the second one. That's usually the, the second most challenging piece. And we're going to outline a little bit about how you work with your leadership and how your storytelling throughout all of this.

Peter (08:07):

Yeah. I'd be interested to know if we had taken this pre COVID would that getting leadership alignment on why it is important to invest, to have been a higher number, but I think you know, it's been it's been an accelerator let's, let's put it that way as no one is surprised, but so onward,

Lauren (08:27):

That is a great point. Thank you, Peter. So as you're thinking about creating a digital shelf organization, where do you start? So if you have a current organization or you're trying to grow it, it's really important to make sure that these questions are answered. And the reason for that is because every organization is different. So the structure itself is going to look different, but there are specific questions to ask specific criteria and specific jobs to be done that can help guide that conversation. The first one being, what are your e-commerce goals, understanding what that e-commerce goal is can help you build out the resources you need to achieve it. If you have a very advanced and or robust e-commerce goal that you need to achieve in the next two, three years, and you don't have the team to support it, it's very important to build out that structure.

Lauren (09:23):

What is your e-commerce strategy? How are you working with the business today? Are you focused on specific retailers? Do you have a broader approach answering these questions can help guide how you should resource and build out your organization is e-commerce a function or a capability. Sherry's going to talk a little bit more about this later on, but does it exist in current teams or it is, or is it a standalone function and what are the pros and cons of both and what is the best fit for your organization? And then are you a holding company or an operating company? And the reason why I wrote that as a question is because do you have a global team or regional team? Are you thinking about as you operationalize something in a region, is that going to be shared across all of the other regions? And do you want to have a shared resources, shared technology, shared best practices, or is it very specific to operationalizing in that specific region?

Lauren (10:21):

So that's something to think about as you're building out those resources and the rest of your organization. Now, a very common question always is what should my digital shelf or my digital organization structure be? What should it look like? How many people should I hire? Do I need a VP? Do I need an analyst? And whenever I received that question in conversations with different people in the space, I always try to take a step back and first try to think at, think about, excuse me, what are the jobs that need to be done? And that's the best place to start, because it's very hard for someone not in the organization to help you depict your organizational structure. But if you can identify what jobs need to be done in order to achieve those e-commerce goals, it can help you identify if you need to add more resources or change the structure of your team.

Lauren (11:14):

So the first role is the digital shelf owner. And I would say, no matter what stage of your maternity, that is the most critical role, having someone own the digital shelf and be that quarterback to help cross-functionally, to sit, to help set the strategy, to understand the space and what's happening. And what's very important about each part of the organization and how they come together. That is one of the most critical roles. If you don't have someone owning it, it can be very difficult to drive it forward because that person helps educate the organization, helps bring all those cross-functional partners together and really is kind of that source of truth for anything digital. Now, in terms of the other roles, we have data validation and integrity. So making sure someone is focusing on your content, what it looks like, where you're gathering your in-store, maybe GDSN, supply chain setup, your e-commerce information.

Lauren (12:13):

Is it accurate? Is it getting out correctly, digital shelf analytics, if you're at a stage of your digital maturity where you're ready to start measuring, and then bringing those insights back into the business, digital shelf, analytics needs to be a focus. Now, each of these jobs to be done, they can be one person. They can be a team. It really depends on the goals that you're trying to achieve. So that's why we're trying to talk high level about the jobs to be done. First digital innovation that is focusing on what are the new capabilities coming? What should I be focusing on in terms of integrated experience what's coming next? How do I build the best content for my customers, online data and syndication. That's a lot about the kind of fingertips approach I was talking about before. How are you getting all that content out, live to the retailers?

Lauren (13:07):

And that can be headcount. There is also an opportunity for that to be outsourced. And Sherry's going to talk a bit about kind of her approach in, in her section, as she thought through headcount versus outsourced content creation, you need to create all of that fantastic content. That's either going on your website, going on, Amazon, going to your distributors. So who is focusing on that? Is it an internal creative team or is it an agency? Either one can work depending on your organization, but I do encourage you to think about both of those different models, then project management, admin, how are you working with the business? How are you working with it to make sure that all of those pieces are moving together? You have the people, the process and the technology working together to be successful, and then search and media. There's a lot that happens with paid search, as well as organic search. And from a digital perspective, when you think about media, that has a very broad scope. So how are you connecting your content? How are you connecting your branding and how are all of those cross-functional partners understanding their piece in the overarching digital landscape?

Peter (14:22):

Hey, Lauren, I have a great question here from Zachary. Cause I think it goes to your issue of, or your, your sort of framing of jobs to be done versus niche necessarily that all of these people are individuals. But let me ask the question. So for a team that is just transitioning from a brick and mortar into the digital space, what are the key team members needed for leaner org? So probably somebody that's just starting to grow out their function and, and looking at this and going, I can't afford all that. But, or, or manage all that even where, w where would you, you know, how would you advise for somebody that's just starting this effort?

Lauren (14:59):

That is a great question, and I will answer it and also would love Sherry's thoughts on it as well. I would say first being the digital shelf owner, you need to have someone owning it, especially when you're transitioning, transitioning out of brick and mortar into more of a digitally focused organization, because there's a lot of change management and education that we will need to come with that. So having a digital shelf owner for sure will be very critical in, in moving forward there.

Peter (15:25):

And Lauren, is that somebody that sort of owns the e-commerce number, or what is there, because there's that mix of what are you getting done in that job? And then also your sort of cheerleader bully you know, educator role. So what does that person, where does that person often sort of sit? And

Lauren (15:44):

That would be well first in terms of its focus, it would be strategy. So what is the content strategy? Who are we servicing from a retailer perspective? Do we have the top five retailers that we're making sure our content strategy is live for? So it can be strategy. It can be processed. How are you working with the brick and mortar team with the supply chain team, with the R and D team with it to make sure all of the moving pieces of getting the digital shelf content approved and ready and out the door and to the retailers is getting done. And then I would say another piece of that is the analytics piece. If you're early on in the organization, I would encourage you first to come up with a content strategy and then think about kind of how your analytics would support that. Because at the moment in time, when you're starting your first strategy, you probably don't know where your content is or where it needs to go, or kind of what the baseline is. So you want to make sure that you have someone who's focusing on that first, they can potentially own the number that is also an option as well. I have seen that in different organizations where the digital shelf owner could sit in the sales function could sit in the marketing function or could sit in a center of excellence. And I know Sherry, you have some experience with, with both of those as well.

Sherri (17:02):

Absolutely. So, especially if you're transitioning from brick and mortar to the e-commerce digital space, you've got to feel like you're swimming upstream, that that's not uncommon prioritization. I would say is part of the biggest part. If you are heavy into Amazon already, that may be the spot that you focus on, more figure out why you can't with a lean team. You can't be everything to everyone. Where is the majority of your business today? Make sure you have a brand recognition strategy, make sure you understand your brand messaging and start with your, your lead retailers and work your way down from there.

Lauren (17:47):

I hope we answered your question. I believe it was, was it Travis that had the question and hopefully more will come through as we kind of continue through our conversation here. So the other thing I wanted to focus on is fully dedicated resources, get the work done. I think to Peter's point when we were taking the poll, a lot of things have changed since COVID where people and organizations understand that e-commerce is very important where I think in the world pre COVID, sometimes it would be half a person's responsibility or half a head count focusing on digital, but in order to succeed, because there are so many moving parts, because there are so many jobs to be done. You really do need dedicated resources in order to do that, it provides continuity, a clear point of contact for questions, a dedicated person, understanding the space, being able to focus on that day-to-day and be able to support those overarching goals.

Lauren (18:51):

Now, I brought this slide back for anyone who was on the process webinar. This is a similar graphic, and I brought it back just to show the context of, from a resourcing standpoint, you do have to think about your digital organization, what that structure looks like, but you also have to understand who are all of the different functions that need to be involved from start to finish as a part of your organization, and how can you have cross-functional alignment in order to do that? And one suggestion I would share is identify one person in each of the functions that you interact with and have a cross-functional meeting monthly, quarterly, whatever makes sense for you so that you can continue to have those conversations. And everyone is brought into the fold. So we have one more poll as we transition into Sherry section. So how many departments do you think you interact with as you build out your digital strategy? One to five, five to 10, 10 to 15 or 15 to 20, we want to get a sense of, of how many departments you're working with as you're going through your strategy today.

Peter (20:06):

Hey Lauren, while we're waiting for the poll to be finished Carl asked, how does this organization change if working with third-party digital platforms and channels, just some of the bigger thoughts, considerations as I guess it depends on the setup relationship with them.

Lauren (20:25):

So I, in terms of technologies and, or like external resources and so maybe I'll answer that in two parts. So, so Carl, I believe you're, you're talking about kind of multiple different technologies and also potentially outsourcing. I mean, I think the, the important piece there is having a very clear content strategy so that you understand where you should be focusing on. And then as a second piece of that, looking at your entire tech stack and all of the digital platforms that you're using and defining which platform is doing, what for your organization and who needs to use it. So if I kind of refer back to the conversation we had about process, it's very important to map all of those platforms out and understand the channels you're serving and which cross-functional team either needs to reference it or access it so that you can get everyone to kind of work together. And Carl, I think I, I, hopefully I answered that.

Peter (21:29):

Yeah. If not, if not Carl, I'll just clarify your question and we'll, we'll try and get to it. To that point, Carrie asked, how can we get a template or starting point for content strategy? And my answer would be, we, I think you have an upcoming pillar that will include all of that, right? So keep your eye on the webinar series, Carrie, and you will get you will get the stuff that you need. I think so I would that the poll is ending. The results are shared.

Lauren (22:01):

Interesting. Sherry, what do you think of that?

Sherri (22:04):

That's very interesting.

Peter (22:06):

Does that ring true with you, Sherry? Have you seen, like, where would you, how would you have answer that question

Sherri (22:13):

Much higher once you really start to wrap your head around all the moving pieces and parts that you have to get your products or services in front of your consumers and how it can impact the entire organization.

Peter (22:27):

So then a mile handed over to you to start telling us your experience with that.

Sherri (22:32):

So there are so many departments involved and some of them may not be at the beginning. Some may be in the middle, some may be only on the tail end, but if there's two tips that I can give you right out of the gate, whether you're in a product company or a service company, think about your consumers, being able to view, purchase your products or services anytime, anywhere on any device consistently with the same brand message. And the other tip is digital is never a set it and forget it. That may be part of the education that you need to do within your organization. It's ongoing, e-commerce changes very fast, digital changes fast, and the consumer is changing even faster. So you really have to make sure that you are in lockstep. What is your marketing team doing from new product development and brand messaging, your content team, and your shopper, marketing, your analysis, those folks play into your roles all of the time, your it team, as your CDNs in your libraries change and things are updated. Do you have the automation built in that can help you move at the speed of light that digital moves at every single day, R and D what are they thinking about? Are they thinking down the past of the products and the services that are going to meet the needs of the consumers, especially when your consumers habits are changing on a daily basis.

Sherri (24:12):

So this is an example of an organizational structure. This is a very, very high level. There is a lot more that can actually go into this. It depends on depends on the size of your organization. It depends on your current digital space. Are you very, very new to this space? One of the questions of course, coming out of brick and mortar brick and mortar is a very different mix. Nowadays, the digital space has absolutely invaded the brick and mortar side, especially when COVID hit. And the online shopping took a major, major shift into the traditional retailers. So your sales and marketing make sure that you're aligned with what your sales goals of your organization are. But that also means to make sure that you're aligned with your marketing team and your brand teams as well. You may have a digital shelf manager. You may have a content manager. You may have someone that is doing nothing but watching what's happening on your platforms. You're I guarantee you, your content will change. And some of it will be because you made the changes. And some of it is because Amazon made the changes that you didn't want them to make. So there is daily interaction and daily activities that need to happen. And there's also future planning and strategy as well.

Lauren (25:38):

And the one thing I'll just add to that is depending on what stage of your maturity you are, your organization centered around digital might be a part of an existing organization, right? So when you're first starting out, you might have one person dedicated to digital who might be in sales, and then it might be pulled out of whatever function it lived in before and create its own function. And that can change as you build your maturity. As you bring more people on board, as you have different e-commerce goals and you begin to kind of grow. So I say that because we're focusing more on the jobs that need to be done, and the things that you would need to focus on rather than org structures, because that can change depending on where you are in your journey.

Sherri (26:28):

So what do you look for? If you are starting a brand new team, look for people that understand e-commerce are not afraid of this speed. Digital moves very, very fast folks that can embrace it, that want to be along on the journey and that they get excited about it. Because having a few of those people on your team that will help you educate the organization. As you continue to get the word out of what digital can do for your business. Also, it helps to have someone on the team and understands your organization as a whole. There's going to be pieces of information that you don't have. I caution you on, oh, we'll just load this right now. And we'll go back to it. That will actually take more time and it will slow you down. So having someone on board that knows maybe part of product development, maybe someone in R and D, maybe someone in regulatory has some nuggets of information that you need.

Sherri (27:34):

You also need individuals on your team that are not afraid to hold folks accountable. As you interact with a lot of different team members. Obviously everyone has a lot on their plate. Their priorities are going to be different. It may, their digital strategy may not be at the top of their plate. You need to be able to ensure that you have the right individuals on board that can help move this process along because waiting for pieces of information and waiting for things to get done, that will just slow down your time to market. And that's critical in the digital side.

Peter (28:17):

Sorry, I just wanted to hop in for a second. It just struck me how important the soft skills are in this job, because you started out really kind of saying they should know e-commerce almost as a like, and that might be you know, sort of that's the first check box, but the rest of it seems it's about that sort of process of getting the rest of the organization educated and coming along and pushing priorities. And that I find that I find that very interesting, not surprising just because I've heard it from a lot of people, but that must make the hiring process a different one than, than sort of a technical have you done e-commerce before. Cause I have to get along with people. Right. And is that, is that, is that impression correct? Yes,

Sherri (29:01):

It absolutely is. And as I've been building my team here, there's been a lot of different candidates that, oh, I, I know e-commerce I love e-commerce. I shop on Amazon every day. That's a much different experience than really understanding how to present products and consumer information in a digital world.

Peter (29:25):

That's great. Thank you.

Sherri (29:29):

So how does it work internally? It can be challenging. It can also be very difficult for your executive team to wrap their head around ROI of digital space. Why do I need a content manager that can make sure that everything we load on Amazon stays correct? Shouldn't that just happen? No, that doesn't happen. Use examples from other companies that have grown in the digital space. There was just an article recently that came out about one of the major retailers. They are investing heavily in the digital side because of what's changed within their business, use those business case and those new stories to your advantage because it will help you internally tell the story of this is important for our organization, but it's also important to see what others are doing in like space. And as you have internal wins, be your biggest loudest cheerleader as things are happening in the digital space.

Sherri (30:37):

Maybe if you're brand new and it's the first time that you publish to Amazon, that's a big win. Make sure you tell that internally and keep people posted. You will be on an education train for a very, very long time because every one in every organization that I've been with has a different understanding and learning of e-commerce. Many of them still think I shop on Amazon. I know how it works. As you start to unravel and peel back the onion layers, keep those individuals engaged, understand, especially at your executive level, their level of understanding of e-commerce. And then when you're speaking to them, tell them bits and pieces and nuggets to maybe a few individuals versus your entire team. As again, they have different levels of understanding, but also make sure your R and D team, your product development team, your supply chain teams, it all affects them in a different way. Scale it down to, Hey, I know this is important for you, and this is how it impacts the digital space, help them connect those dots.

Lauren (31:48):

And the one thing I'll add there, we talked a lot about cross-functional alignment and to Sherry's point about getting executives engaged. It's important to get the executives of all the functions together, to have a conversation about why it is impactful for everyone. If someone in R and D makes a decision, it impacts someone on the e-commerce team. So that connection point is really critical and where I've seen some organizations be very successful is to have shared goals. If everyone in every function has a shared goal and everyone is marching towards the same point, it makes it much easier. And it breaks down a lot of those silos that you might find where a function is just saying, I'm just doing the work in my bubble, because that's what I'm responsible for. But when you bring that broader context and a shared goal, it actually helps with the

Sherri (32:39):

Cross-Functional alignment. It absolutely does Lauren. And one other tip that I would provide is really pay attention and watch their expressions, watch their level of engagement when you were explaining, or when maybe you have an e-commerce up meeting every week or a couple of once a month, if you get the looks of, I just don't really understand that, bring them along and take them aside at a different time and scale it down for them, peel back that onion layer even further. And all of a sudden the light bulbs start to go on and you start to see, oh, now I get what you mean about Amazon and the algorithm and the flywheel and the digital side.

Sherri (33:30):

So as you start to look at your team, whether you're brand new or you're growing, you're going to need additional resources. That's a given that may come from inside your company. It may come from outside. There's nothing wrong with using outside organizations. The tip I would give you is make sure that organization can perform at the speed that you need them to. You can't wait 2, 3, 4 weeks for pieces of information that you need to get into yours, your CRM or your, your PSM system. As you grow your business, your consumer behavior analytics may be part of the resources that you need to grow. Are you a relatively new brand? And as you gain that brand exposure, additional resources are going to be needed. COVID obviously changed a lot of our goals and a lot of our strategies. I certainly hope that never happens again, but things in the environment are going to happen.

Sherri (34:39):

That will change your strategy and your longterm vision. Try to think about today were here 6, 9, 12, 18 months. We want to be here and the type of resources and our team members that you need to get there. Start to think about your budgets. Long-Term start to think about your strategy. Long-Term it doesn't mean you have to go from three months to 18 months overnight, but make sure as you're growing your digital and done properly your brand or your services, they definitely will grow more. Consumers will find you. You're going to need to be able to keep up with that consumer demand that you're going to build.

Peter (35:20):

Sherry, let me just jump in for just a second. Cause Cheryl asked a question and I think it's kind of related to this, which is she asks her, are these webinars, these presentations for brands that sell direct to consumer or via retailers and sort of ask a connected question when we ref referenced Amazon, are we talking about as seller as a wholesale and Lauren has made me think of sort of the expansion of channels and, and does that change your fundamentals at all? And so can you just do a super quick answer to that question? Cause I know we have more to cover.

Lauren (35:51):

Yeah. I, I'm happy to take that. I think when we're talking about digital and we're, we're talking about especially the organization today, we're encompassing direct to consumer because that needs to be included in your process. As you're thinking about content and connected to the broader retailers, this isn't specific to direct to consumer, we are thinking about the holistic end points they were trying to provide content to. So for example, we're talking about vendor central Amazon when, when we're referencing Amazon Sherry and I currently in this webinar, but to your point for direct to consumer, it's important to make sure that's incorporated into your overall digital strategy. I find from a process standpoint, and from a people standpoint, the roles are very similar. There might need to be some specific additions in terms of assortment supply chain, R and D specifically when you're using direct to consumer only if that's how you're selling through your brand and those conversations need to be slightly different. But overall it's incorporated in into what we're talking about, All right, in terms of content, that is what we wanted to talk through. And then I'll hand it over to Peter for the Q and a

Peter (37:12):

Great I do want to the, there was a question that Jeremy had what ROI and it sort of points to the answer that we gave earlier about the whole series, but what ROI metrics are typically used to prove value in adding resources to grow the digital shelf? How about less dollar oriented, oriented ROI, such as digital analytics, which impact brick and mortar. So Lauren, I think you have a presentation, a pillar from the digital shelf playbook that will focus on measurement at my correct.

Lauren (37:42):

You are correct. We will talk about value. I will quick hits just to kind of answer it at a high level. I think looking at the breadth of what you tackle, how many skews do you have, how many retailers are you selling to? What is the activity in terms of the amount of systems and organizations and maybe external vendors or people that you're working with? I would start there in the process webinar, we talked a bit about process as well and mapping out how that's impactful and how long things take to understand what you need to improve and how you use that to kind of fuel the overall digital shelf flywheel. So at a high level, I would say those are the things that are not dollar related, where you should kind of focus on from a value standpoint. And I don't know, share if you have anything to add there as you've brought in more budget and more head counts.

Sherri (38:36):

I absolutely do one piece that I think organizations tend to forget about because there's a lot of organizations that still operate of e-commerce is over here. Brick and mortar is over here. When you nail your digital strategy, your turns in your retailer on shelf will improve.

Lauren (39:00):

Yeah. Digitally influence sales versus digital sales in general. I think that's something to think about that that does take a lot of understanding of where your data comes from and how you bring it all together. But to Sherry's point, if you see someone standing in an aisle, looking at Amazon while trying to purchase a product, that's what we're talking about in terms of digitally influenced sales, correct?

Sherri (39:23):

The more that you can be in front of your consumers, and obviously everyone holds their information in the Palm of their hand, you and you launched online first, you will see your turns and your retailers improve purely because to Lauren's point, if I'm walking down an aisle and I haven't seen a product in store before, but I remember seeing it on my phone and ad social, et cetera. Oh, I saw that you're more inclined to pick up that product to see what it is.

Peter (39:56):

This is great. So as a final question, cause we're, we're running up against time here. I did want to throw out, you know, and I think both of you had experience doing this, the decision about when something is in-house versus outsourcing it, is there a, cause I know I I've talked to a lot of companies where that continually changes, like we're gonna do it in-house for now and oh no, we need to outsource because it's scaling and then, oh, we want to bring it back and have more control over it. I was just wondering what your sort of is this the right way, even to ask the question, what is your sort of checklist of now's the time where I need to bring in outside people versus I'd like to have it in under my control and I don't know, Sherry, do you want to start? And then Lauren, you can pick it up if you have some of that.

Sherri (40:40):

I certainly will. Prime example, when I joined trillions February of 2020, and everything happened, we decided to strategize differently for our digital side of the house. And the timeline was 30 days. We didn't have the time to go out of house at that point, purely because the goals at the time were so incredibly short. So I think it really becomes down to prioritization your goals and your timing of those goals. Sometimes 30, 60, 90 days, just isn't enough time to bring in an outside agency, get them up to speed and actually see an impact.

Lauren (41:21):

I would say that the thing I would add there is when you think about, if you don't have a 30 day timeline and maybe you're building out your strategy for the next year, two years, three years, think about what you need in. And the reason I say that is because when you're thinking about outsourcing, you're usually outsourcing things like syndicating the data or measuring the data or checking the accuracy of your content, right? There's a bunch of different options, but those are the first three that kind of came to mind. And in doing that, you want consistency. You want someone who understands the data, who knows all the details and is purely focused on that. If I think about a syndication perspective, Amazon changed their requirements over 160 times last year alone. So if you don't have someone who's dedicated to doing that, who have the expertise and the knowledge to do that, it's very hard to kind of keep up.

Lauren (42:14):

So that's where a lot of times you look from an outsource perspective because that person is purely focused on that. And that is their role within the organization. So turnover and changing roles in an organization can be challenging as well. Right? We want everyone to grow. We want everyone to develop in their career, but from an e-commerce perspective, there are certain things that need to have consistency in order to be successful and expertise to Sherry's point. So I, as you think about, do I outsource it or do I insource it? I would, I would use those metrics to think about, okay, do I need consistency here? Do I need expertise? And, and how will that follow through

Sherri (42:54):

Lauren? One other piece to that too, is don't forget about automation. If there isn't an organization outside of your house that offers some type of automated automation for what you need, absolutely consider them. And also make sure you look internally at your own it team. There could be some pieces of your digital strategy that could be a quick and easy automation within your ERP system.

Lauren (43:20):

Great point, Terry,

Peter (43:22):

This is so awesome. Thank you for this exchange. And I Lauren, I gotta set you up with one last question. I hope I'm not making promises. You can't deliver, but Carrie asks will, the presentations from these webinars will be available. I know we're sending recordings out, but if somebody wanted the actual deck, could they like maybe reach out to you on LinkedIn or something to be able to get them, but we don't generally share them necessarily more broadly the, the actual PowerPoints or whatever, but if you'd be willing,

Lauren (43:51):

Yes, happy to please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and I can share them. Definitely. Thanks, Peter,

Peter (44:00):

Thanks to Lauren and Sherry for outlining this critical piece of a winning digital shelf strategy. If you'd like to see or share the original source webinar, we have the link in the show notes or go to digital shelf institute.org/digital-shelf-playbook. All the webinars of the digital shelf playbook series will be posted there over the coming months. If you have questions about any of this or hate using show notes, you can reach out to Lauren Livak anytime at lauren@digitalshelfinstitute.org. Thanks for being part of our community.