Introducing ESM Pro: Conversations in REM with Gopal Shah

    May 5, 2023
    Retailers are always searching for ways to streamline their operations and increase their bottom line. The launch of ESM Pro promises to help retailers achieve just that.
    In this Q&A session, our Director of Industry Insights, Tim Campbell, sat down with Gopal Shah, our Head of Product Marketing at CommerceIQ, to explore ESM Pro’s powerful features. An abridged version of his responses are below. Check out the link to the full version here:

    Tim Campbell: We just launched ESM Pro. You’re the expert. In a nutshell, what is it?

    Gopal Shah: ESM Pro is designed to assist ecommerce businesses in connecting the right inputs with the right outputs. It recognizes that, just as weight loss requires more than stepping on a scale and looking at results, other factors such as traffic and pricing must be considered to generate outputs such as sales and profitability. As a platform, ESM Pro stands out because it enables market share integration and shipment forecasting, both of which can help businesses improve supply chain efficiency and make S&OP meetings easier.

    TC: Why is ESM Pro a good tool for brands to use in the first place?

    GS: At present, the tools used to collect data on major outputs are disconnected. It can take over four weeks to translate insights into actionable decisions. Our goal with ESM Pro, and with the broader CommerceIQ platform, is to integrate all the data into one platform to provide businesses with a tighter feedback loop that allows access to improved activation. Not only can businesses measure market share, but they can also actively integrate it into their day-to-day operations.

    TC: What is a tangible example of the benefits of market share integration?

    GS: Historically, brands would look at different dashboards to track various metrics such as sales output, ordered product sales, traffic, conversion, and ad spend. With market share integration, all of these metrics are available in one place. Brands can then begin to analyze how different metrics impact each other, such as how their PO fill rate affects their out of stock rate and how this, in turn, affects their true conversion rate.

    TC: What is the big picture here for market share integration? Why is it so powerful?

    GS: Market share integration offers businesses a more detailed understanding of their portfolio’s performance. Businesses are able to see how changes in their input metrics effect their output and influence market share. This allows for granular analytics at the SKU level with insights into estimated sales, market share, and units sold.
    Furthermore, market share integration enables dynamic categorization of products based on factors such as weight and best seller category. Businesses can edit the SKU classification to ensure that they are looking at the business in a way that truly matters to them, instead of relying on default browser notes provided by retailers.

    TC: What else can ESM Pro connect with that would enhance its power?

    GS: The broader Commerce IQ platform has additional metrics such as advertising that can help you optimize your retail media spend to drive true market share. Another powerful feature is the Category Leaderboard. It shows how brands perform against competitors in dimensions such as brand strength, share of voice, availability, and price leadership among other factors.

    TC: How can brands use the intersection of market share with the category leaderboard?

    GS: Unlike in brick-and-mortar stores where distribution is gated, anyone can list their products on ecommerce platforms and gain momentum in the market. To avoid losing market share, businesses need to monitor not only the big players that are dominating page one, but also the emerging competitors. Users of ESM Pro are capable of identifying these new players, tracking their performance metrics, and building customized reports that will keep them on top of the competition.

    TC: How can ESM Pro be leveraged at the digital shelf?

    GS: Businesses can leverage digital shelf metrics to understand the factors that drive market share and gross sales, such as the effectiveness of the competition, traffic mix, and conversion. By analyzing these metrics, companies can identify gaps in their own SKUs and those of their competitors and improve their organic share of voice and conversion rates.

    TC: How can ESM Pro improve how brands manage their supply chain or just cut costs in general?

    GS: It has a purchase order discrepancy automation system that identifies and flags erroneous purchase orders from Amazon. By sending a ticket to Amazon to fix the PO issue, it creates a tighter feedback loop and prevents bigger issues such as shortages and chargebacks. ESM Pro also provides a SKU-level shipment forecast based on historical demand, consumption forecasts, and a mapping out of a brand’s on-hand inventory and their anticipated weeks of cover over time. Although the results are still subject to the erratic nature of ecommerce, these features can be beneficial. First, it potentially leads to a forecast accuracy improvement of around 7.8%. Second, it helps you save time that is normally consumed by the manually intensive process of S&OP meetings.

    TC: Does shipment forecasting have beneficial downstream effects perhaps on other parts of the business?

    GS: Having a SKU-level shipment forecast can help brands better understand the baseline forecast and avoid overlooking the tail-end of their SKU portfolio. This leads to downstream benefits such as increased inventory awareness in advertising and avoiding out-of-stock situations caused by purchase order cuts or allocation. It also prevents the loss of investment in marketing and content because of out-of-stock SKUs.

    TC: You mentioned earlier that if problems aren’t immediately dealt with, they can cascade into bigger issues, right? Can ESM PRO also aid in handling those issues?

    GS: Aside from the feedback loop, which allows you to prevent shortages and chargebacks to begin with, ESM Pro puts everything you need on hand so that you can find where your processes are broken and fix them. Then, as part of the broader portfolio, CommerceIQ has an automated dispute resolution system for shortages and chargebacks. By covering 100% of shortages and engaging in root cause analysis of chargebacks, it is far more effective and less-resource intensive than combatting shortages and chargebacks manually.

    TC: What is one perspective that you want to leave about ESM Pro or about the nature of retail ecommerce management?

    GS: Managing a complex portfolio can be daunting. The more you outsource daily work to machines and drive automation, the more you can focus on the top priorities to move the needle. The more you are able to do that, the more effective you’re going to be.
    Want to listen to the full version?
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