Plum Spotlight: Staying Ahead of the Ecommerce Landscape with Webáta
Let’s play a word association game—we'll say a word and you say what you think of first. Buckle up for a quick first round: we say “ecommerce,” you say?
Online? Internet? Sales?
If you’re Gabe Wight, team leader and co-founder of Webáta, it’s “win.”
Webáta, a strategic Walmart and Target ecomm tech company, has been a longtime provider with Plum—offering ways to help brands win with all things, well, ecommerce. From offering online price checks across stores nationwide to your Walmart listing compliance (or your competitors’), the Webáta and Plum collaboration helps brands stay efficient and effective.
Plus, he was the very first guest on Push Go, a podcast powered by Plum. Tap here to listen to his 30-minute interview on knowing when to prioritizing family.
From the beginning, please!
Why did Webáta start, and who is Gabe Wight?
For 20 plus years, Gabe Wight’s been in, around, and on top of the food, drug, mass, club scene. He’s been on the agency side, the brand side, in-store, and no spoilers: online, too. Talk to him for two minutes and it’s evident that he has a shelf-sized-passion for retail—especially CPG.
But how did that drive begin? He shares that when he was working on the brand side of retail, there was an evident lack of data through retail partners. Sure, many service providers were around, but no hard proof their services would actually boost sales. At the time, brands could also exercise certain “best practices,” through retailers like Amazon, but those best practices didn’t exactly translate with the other retail giants.
Gabe decided to fill the gap. Linking arms with others who were also seasoned in the retail industry, Gabe launched Webáta with co-founder Dale Treece.
“Tenure has benefits,” he laughed. From seeing what makes things successful to moving product off the shelf—each member at Webáta is focused on what’ll make a difference in the bottom line. Operations at the Walmart-and-Target-focused company started when there was no real ecomm or know-how when it came to building brands and driving sales.
Since day one, Webáta has existed to provide brand manufacturers with powerful data and aggregated analyses that welcome missed profit. On a grass-roots level, they elevate actions across points of distribution by showing false out of stock in ecommerce, drive digital shelf efforts with retailer scorecards and metrics, magnify SEO efforts in retail-specific algorithms, and spearhead new directions for brands from a competitive lens.
What’s the backstory with Webáta and Plum?
Insights and ecomm have a complementary relationship—as does Webáta and products on Plum.
Gabe and Rick West, co-founder and CEO of Plum, recognized the synergy of offering both options for brands to get insight in-store and online. Now, brands (like yours) have the chance to say, “Let’s send shoppers into stores and see what’s happening,” and/or “Let’s get quick data to answer our question.”
One of the biggest retail missteps that brands make today is trying to spend their way into longterm success. Foundational pieces are missing, and advertising needs a solid platform to leap off of. By using Webáta through the Plum marketplace, brands can efficiently gather insights that solidify their platform and grow revenue.
Give the people what they want: the behind-the-scenes. What’s the key to successful ecommerce?
“Ecomm is a retail environment, just like a store is a retail environment,” Gabe said. “And, the principles are the same: you have to be distributed, be in stock, have a credible presentation.”
But it hasn’t always been that way. Back in the day, even when there was ecomm, there wasn’t CPG ecomm. Then when there was CPG ecomm, there wasn’t food ecomm. (Raise of hands, does anyone else vividly remember this?)
All of a sudden in the last five years, there are credible places to buy your food—including perishables and CPG items—online. When everything was green and new at that time, the first point of advantage was getting items listed. Then the game shifted to: “Well, if it’s listed, now we need to start elevating our content.” Next steps were to play with search and sponsored content (cough, SEO) and promoting items based on an Amazon-forward model.
“The biggest change in the past two years we’ve seen in ecomm is that Amazon or on the old Walmart.com was that there was one website, and it was a central holding place for all things,” Gabe shared. “What we’ve seen with online pickup and delivery, now all of a sudden on Target.com, you can have 1,700 different websites. Walmart? 4,600 different websites. Every store has its own website. So, if you’re still managing through a ‘if we list it, they’ll come’ mindset: you’re missing the real power that’s happening.”
Through each of these sites, there’s different competitive sets and pricing, dynamics and performance. That’s where Webata comes in: they excel where it’s fragmented and pinpoint the opportunities and actions to unlock sales.
Spill. What's the main misunderstanding that brands have when it comes to price?
You might want to sit down for this one. Most items have between a 25 to 50 percent price discrepancy across stores nationwide. (Quick math: if you want your item listed at a $10 average, your price could vary from $7.50 to $12.50). Plus, the online price isn’t always reflective of the in-store price.
If that isn’t enough to make you run a price check across all the stores your products are listed at, consider how you stack up against the competitors in your space. Are your competitor’s prices lower than yours when shoppers are comparing them in select stores? Or are you losing dollars if your products are listed too low?
Plus, there's an assumption that every store where a product is carried, the item will show up for shoppers online. That's just not the case.
Before your anxiety goes off the rails and you’re canceling your dinner plans to work late, Gabe shares one of the best things about ecomm. It’s discoverable.
“I can call someone and say ‘go send me a picture of that price on Walmart’s shelf,’ and there’s a time and place for that. Or, you can go to Webáta and see what the price is across all stories and see it across each and every day. Both are wonderful and both are valid. Ecomm unlocks a way to look at resource allocation differently — spending your budget fixing issues rather than discovering them.”
Great, sign us up. What does it look like to work with Webáta?
Through the Plum marketplace, click on the type of project you want to run with Webáta. The rest is just as simple.
Share which product you’d like more insight on, and which retailer you want to check with. (Or, you could do the same to see your competitors’!) After a few days, Webáta will collect, review, and aggregate your data. Then the real question becomes, what now? What’s missing? How do you bridge the gap?
You’ll see the percentage of stores that items may be missing or out of stock. After submitting the ticket to mitigate the issue, then that percent of the point of sale increases. Then, you can move on to the pricing piece. Are they listed at what your brand has agreed on? How do they compare to your competitors?
Continue to ask the questions, get answers with Webáta, and watch your dollars ring in.
Let’s be real. How is Webáta better than the other guys?
Everyone wants to say that they’re 100% unique, and there are companies that shade into areas that Webáta touches. But here’s the difference: Webáta gives you all the data you need.
A prime example is Webáta’s approach to measuring pricing. Competitors will typically look at five zip codes. Webáta looks at all stores in all zip codes, and there lies the difference. The tech company mines deep into the data and gives accurate, precise information through all their services. If brands truly want to know how they stand on the digital shelf, Webáta is the place to go.
Another major point of difference between competitors and Webáta is sales. By measuring sales, sales change, and the bottom line’s holistic components, Webáta gives action and not just numbers. They prioritize actions based on where brands stand in sales, what they’re missing out on, then measure the impact of the action.
Webáta’s is continuing to expand, deepen, and grow their performance capabilities. Launch a project today to learn how your items are seen by shoppers across the country.