Solution Provider Spotlight: Stackline

December 27, 2023
by Benjamin Felix, CMO at Stackline

Give us a brief history of your company, when and how did you get started and what is your high-level mission statement?

Stackline was started in Seattle, in January of 2014, with goal of solving the hardest problems in retail. Our mission is simple, fuel the future of commerce by bringing brands and customers closer together. Since then we have grown to 250 people across the globe.

What would you like CMA and SIMA members to know about your company?

Category Management and Shopper Insights professionals have been leveraging our software and services for years. Covering over 500+ retailers in 26 countries, we analyze and track over 1 billion products daily. We can inform strategies about customer behavior and brand awareness.

We have just released a next-generation consumer data panel, Shopper Analytics, which enables practitioners with unprecedented insights into the entire shopper journey across online marketplaces and brick-and-mortar retailers. The platform also introduces a quantitative Customer Lifetime Value and Brand Retention Rate for every brand to help brands benchmark and improve performance.

As the leader in digital shelf analytics, we arm practitioners and strategists with deep category, SKU-level, and brand level insights. We’ve also entered physical world analytics – enabling robust omnichannel views of pricing and inventory down to the individual store-level.

What is the most common question you hear from current and potential customers, and how do you answer it?

We hear two big questions from Category and Insights professionals.

How am I doing?
We hear this all the time. The most important answer a Category Manager should be able to answer is ‘How am I doing?’. Using Stackline’s Shopper Analytics, brand leaders can understand their market share and performance down to the specific retailer level, both online and in physical stores. They can see how their competitors are performing and evaluate themselves against benchmarks. Finally, Shopper Analytics also details retention rate and Customer Lifetime Value for every brand in the category.

Who am I losing to? / Who am I winning against?
The other question we hear is, “When I lose a shopper, where are they going?” Stackline Shopper Analytics answers that question with deep brand switching data. Users can see which brands your customers switch to, or come in from. This helps drive updated messaging and positioning and informs which consumers should be surveyed – which can also be run through our platform. The insights that can be derived from these surveys – help round out a comprehensive view of the shopper journey.

What is the most important thing that needs to be addressed in the category management and shopper insights disciplines going forward?

It’s a big world out there. The landscape of retail is dynamic, and the roles of Category Management and Shopper Insights are becoming more crucial. Here are five areas where Category Managers and Shopper Insights leaders can focus and win for 2024.

1. Embracing agile and Flexible Strategies
– Responding more quickly to changing market trends and consumer preferences.
– Implementing agile methodologies for more flexibility in decision-making. Stop using slow data to make decisions. The world is moving faster and by the time your model is complete, the world has changed again.

2. Deep understanding of consumers
– Going beyond demographic data to understand the psychographics and motivations of shoppers.
– Incorporating behavioral economics principles for a deeper comprehension of decision-making.

3. Omni-Channel Experience
– Ensuring a seamless and consistent shopping experience across various channels (online, offline, mobile, etc.).
– Integrating online and offline data for a holistic understanding of shopper behavior.

4. E-commerce Optimization
– Adapting category management strategies to the growing influence of e-commerce.
– Understanding the unique challenges and opportunities in the online retail space.

Yes, Stackline can help with all of these.

How are you thinking about the next 3-5 years in retail?

3-5 years ahead is where we aim to be in most of our solutions. If we answer difficult questions before they become problems, we add extraordinary value. We’re cooking up a lot in our lab, but these are some recent trends we’ve been thinking about:

Last Mile and BOPIS – Many behaviors were codified during COVID. The explosion of “Last mile” delivery platforms Instacart and BOPIS is not something that will go away. In fact, they will likely accelerate. This is why our Omnichannel solution is the only one that tracks fulfillment metrics by retailer, provider, and type.

AI-Driven Forecasting and Planning – AI has been a big buzzword for the past couple of years, but with the introduction of GPTs, the concept of data analysis will likely be altered. However, AI is only as good as the data that its trained on. One of our latest solutions, Beacon, enables AI-driven forecasting and assortment planning. In Beacon, you can see every SKU, how it performs versus the competition, and scenario plan the impacts if variables are adjusted.

Social Commerce 2.0 – Influencer brands – Lots of buzz has been made about how Tik-tok will likely up-end retail. And its not incorrect. However, the biggest change will be further reduction of barrier to entry. We are already seeing this with Prime. In one year, Prime Hydration (from Logan Paul and KSI) has jumped in market share – taking a material cut from established brands like Gatorade and Liquid IV.