Tell us about what your company does, who you serve and what value you bring to your clients as a solution provider.

e.fundamentals sells to any company that sells their products through the e-commerce sites of grocery stores, big or small – such as Walmart, Amazon, Kroger, Albertson’s, and more. Right now we support over 50 retailers in the US in both grocery and specialty spaces.

e.fundamentals provides these companies with a digital shelf analytics product that allows our customers to understand what’s happening with their products on the digital shelf. Now that everything these companies stock is being sold to grocery stores online, it’s very important that they get a full view of how the customers are interacting with and selecting their products digitally. e.fundamentals provides all the information our customers need to understand exactly how their products are showing up on all online ecomm platforms – from what their content looks like on comm sites, to where it shows up in searches on those sites, to how successful their online pricing, promoting, and advertising is.

All of this information also allows us to give our clients actionable insights they can use to make their ecomm presence more effective. We can help them understand how to change not only their image and content, but also how customers are actually finding their product online and what kind of offers and promotions are most effective. Every retailer uses their own search algorithm – we find out how our clients are working within each of those algorithms and help them figure out how they can perform better to rank higher. We don’t just show our clients their online content; we show them how that online content works and how they can make it work better, which is really valuable, especially now.

What is the most exciting thing you are working on right now?

Thinking of everything we’re doing from a category perspective is really exciting to me. A lot of the thinking about products out there, especially within retailers today, revolves around “how am I performing in search?” Questions like “Where are my products in search, where are my competitor’s products in search?” Each retailer shows different products first for different reasons. Some retailers may show the large pack of products, while others may prefer to show a smaller pack first, for instance. Others may populate results based on serving size, particular brands, their own brands, things like that.

We do a lot of research on things like comparing how five, ten, or fifteen different retailers each think about premiumization (the pack size case I brought up is one example). And we’ve found that some retailers are really moving toward it. For instance: larger pack sizes aren’t just more profitable for the CPG company, they’re also more profitable for the retailer themselves. We can bring that insight to the retailer and help them improve their profitability – not just with our product, but for the entire category – so our clients can get into those category discussions with the retailers and say, “this is what you should do to expand your presence and profitability in the category.”

Really it’s about bringing all those insights we had from an in-store perspective online, and not just thinking about online as where we are in search, but also how we can bring our client’s online presence to more of the business capabilities around category and assortment within the category, in part by understanding how retailers are thinking about the category. We give our clients with the data they need to go to their retailer and have those discussions, so they can provide more value for their retailers and themselves at the same time.

Where do you feel you’ve been helping clients make the most impact during the pandemic? How have you adjusted to meet their needs?

E-commerce in general was less than five percent of revenue for CPG companies before the pandemic. Then, all of a sudden, it became 20 percent or more. So all of a sudden everyone had to start paying more attention to it, and from different stages of the journey.

At first, companies just needed to figure out how to get their images online, make sure their contacts are correct, find out what their pricing looks like, and just generally figure how they’re being represented on different retailer sites. I’d say the first year was really about making sure all of that was represented properly. After that, though, our clients wanted to get into more the advanced stuff and start thinking about category and promos, an assortment of products they have online, and everything else.

It’s been really interesting because we were able to bring the experience we have with all the customers we’ve worked with and help people through the journey, and help them understand and pivot in ways they may not have otherwise. For instance, when a lot of our smaller clients started the journey, they were saying, “I want to focus on Walmart and Amazon and some of my big suppliers.” Which makes sense, but we were able to show them that, because of the pandemic, everyone was shopping online – not just the traditional online shoppers. So it may be a better use of time and resources to pursue better placement at smaller retailers. We’ve done a lot of educating on how things are different now than they were before the pandemic, and how our clients should respond to those changes.

How have you been helping clients adjust to new & growing omnichannel dynamics?

Our CEO actually believed that e-commerce specialist were going to go away – instead, everyone would need to understand what’s happening in e-commerce. From your shopper marketing to your category managers to your account teams marketing, everyone would want visibility and understanding of how their company is performing online.

And they’d want to see it in a very similar manner to how they look at in-store business performance. They’d think about it as a digital shelf, and think about their placement online as their placement on that digital shelf. So it’s no longer a planogram they’re looking at; it’s actually going in and seeing that they’re first or second or third and need to move up. e.fundamentals was made to help with that, by providing everyone in your business with the information and insights to understand what’s happening online.

This approach became especially important in the pandemic, because all of a sudden retailers combined their in-store and online shoppers. Account teams that were used to talking to traditional in-store buyers found out, all of a sudden, that those buyers were doing online buying now.

So a big part of our value has been in helping our clients understand omnichannel dynamics by relating them to the way they’ve been thinking of the fundamentals. Then, they take what they learn from us and use it to educate their buyers, whom, in a lot of cases, didn’t really understand the dynamics of online shopping that were being collapsed into their position during the pandemic, either. We provide guidance and value to our CPG company clients, and then those CPGs, in turn, provide value to their retailer’s buyers.

Why did your company feel it was important to have a sponsorship presence at the 2021 CMA|SIMA Conference?

We’re focused on categories, where most of our competitors focus on SKUs. They go to clients and say, “which SKUs do you want us to be looking at, which SKUs do your competitors have that you want us to look at?” Whereas we think about it from a full category perspective – looking at the whole digital shelf as a digital shelf and gathering the data to show our clients how that digital shelf can change every day and what they should be thinking about as a consequence.

So because of that category perspective, we thought getting to category managers and having them understand the shift of what’s happening in the category and how they should be changing the way they think as a result was very important. That’s why we joined CMA this year and decided the conference was a really important way for us to get in front of these people. This year, in particular, the digital emphasis on business and the way that’s changing the planogram have become important topics, so we wanted to provide insights on that.

Tell us about the solutions and content you’ll be showcasing at the Conference this year.

Yeah, we’ve got an ebook that we plan to distribute and have everyone talk about, which is “Category Management For The Digital Shelf.” So that’s right in line with what category managers should be thinking about, what’s important to them, those things. That’s the main piece of content –looking at the digital shelf with a category management perspective.

The second part is really just being able to demo our product and have good discussions with people about how retailer is changing, what they should be thinking about, and how the dynamics of e-commerce are changing the way people shop forever.

Learn more about the 2021 CMA|SIMA Conference.