Building a Playbook for eCommerce Success


The Playing Field Changes. So Must the Game Plan



For retailers and CPGs alike, the billion-dollar question is: How can the eCommerce shopping experience be optimized to better drive sales and increase shopper satisfaction?

To win in traditional retail, the focus was largely on capturing a shopper’s attention within a defined space – the physical store. Within this world, marketers strived to fully understand how shoppers made decisions. With proper spend and precise execution, outcomes were near certain – thanks to shopper insights gained via Consumer Decision Trees.

Within the eCommerce world, however, the physical definitions and space are lifted. Understanding how shoppers make decisions in the online channel, and getting them to their final purchase decision, can be vastly different than in the physical store. The key question now becomes, can the tools and methodologies used in Brick & Mortar provide the insight needed for marketers to gain insight into eCommerce? The answer is a resounding No!

Brick & Mortar CDT vs Digital CDT (D-CDT):

Both traditional CDTs and D-CDTs provide a deeper understanding of shopper behavior and motivations – but the playing fields are wildly different. The physicality of Brick & Mortar stores – the aisles, shelf layouts, checkout stands and overall space design – have a tremendous impact on shopper behavior. In the digital shopping world, physical limitations – and the familiar marketing tools of bricks and mortar – vanish.

Online, shoppers define categories as they choose – and their category definitions may not be driven by a product’s physical characteristics as in Brick & Mortar. Without aisles, shoppers often use broader criteria – such as occasion and need state. Online, consumers may shop for Breakfast – not RTE Cereal; or Snacks – and not necessarily those limited to the salty kind.

Building an eCommerce Game Plan with Digital CDTs

The disruption of traditional retail through the emergence of eCommerce has been significant. And, its capricious impact on business – with little regard to size or category-longevity – has been well documented. Clearly, eCommerce presents great challenges – and great opportunities.

To better identify both, Decision Insight has developed D-CDTs, a proprietary digital shopper research tool designed to provide clients greater insight into the shopper product-selection process – while also identifying the key attributes that most influence the online shopping process.

  • What should a given category taxonomy (click-path) be?
  • What guiding principles for assortment, based on substitution and walk rate, should be in place for an Online category?
  • What Search words should be used for the manufacturer’s product pages so the retailer’s algorithm places them high in the path?
  • How does a manufacturer get their products placed in multiple locations to increase presence?

Win the Digital Channel with Shopper-Driven Category Strategies

Decision Insight’s proprietary Digital Consumer Decision Tree approach is both forward-looking and shopper-focused. DI’s unique methodology not only brings the context of the online store directly into the exercise, it also measures substitutability – and allows for the inclusion of next generation innovations.

Decision Insight’s D-CDTs deliver a framework of category attributes. This unique approach informs both online taxonomy and assortment – and also innovation and marketing opportunities. Potential solutions are then tested in Decision Insight’s proprietary Digital.IQ™ Test & Learn platform – quickly, efficiently, and effectively – producing projectable sales results and shopper metrics to maximize eCommerce sales – at the speed of today’s business world.

With DI’s Test & Learn platform, participants enter a simulated website where they shop as they would in real life, interacting with digital store pages and a full range of available products. The virtual shopping experience measures what shoppers buy in real-time, reliably projecting and providing deep understanding of the impact of specific online strategies on real-world sales.

Real World Results for the “W”

A Decision Insight client in the Baby Care category had questions concerning the taxonomy for one of their primary subcategories. Our research provided thought leadership and valuable insight for the client’s internal marketing personnel – and ultimately their retailers – with a recommended solution to optimize eCommerce placement and reduce the click-to-purchase path by 50% – to provide a shopping cart win for both the client and their retailers.

eCommerce Research from Decision Insight enables manufacturers and retailers alike to increase sales while optimizing the consumer’s online shopping experience. Click here for a copy of our latest paper, Research Solutions for eCommerce Category Leadership, which outlines strategic and tactical recommendations for winning at eCommerce.

Contact Leslie Downie at (816) 437-9852 to learn how we can help optimize your company’s digital strategies to win at traditional retail and eCommerce.

Craig Hodnett is SVP, Client Solutions.
He can be reached at or (706) 416-0039.