While shopping online has been the norm for years, it’s become a more recent phenomenon for the consumer packaged goods industry. IRI states e-commerce will account for 10% of all CPG sales by 2022, according to the market research company’s recent report, E-commerce: Build, Drive and Earn E-commerce Growth for Retail Success.
“More than 76% of all shopping trips begin online, regardless of whether the actual purchase is made online or in-store,” says Sam Gagliardi, SVP of consumer and shopper marketing for IRI. “Consumers visit e-retailers to seek out products, reviews, and money-saving opportunities, so it’s a must for brands to establish a solid presence along their shoppers’ paths to purchase.”
A recent phenomenon for CPGs, e-commerce will account for 10% of all CPG sales by 2022. … “More than 76% of all shopping trips begin online, regardless of whether the actual purchase is made online or in-store.”—Gagliardi
Experts at IRI explain the first step in tapping into e-commerce growth opportunities is cultivating a strong presence on e-retailers’ sites and at key junctures along the online path to purchase. To build this presence, CPGs need to ensure their brand portfolios meet consumer needs in breadth and depth, as well as product availability. Creating relevant and search-engine-optimized content with good visuals is the key to attracting and engaging shoppers.
“Best-in-class e-tailers follow a specific approach to building their retail presence,” adds Susan Viamari, VP of thought leadership for IRI. “They have visibility all along the path to purchase, so they know how consumers go about their online search — what makes them tick: product attributes, price/value messaging and so forth — and they need to use these insights to optimize their online presence and supporting marketing programs accordingly.”
It is important to include images, product content, and customer product reviews in this messaging because these pieces of content are an important tool for allaying some potential purchase inhibitors. Getting e-tail right depends heavily on having a clear and consistent understanding of high-value customers, including not only their digital footprints, but also their paths to purchase in the brick-and-mortar world, according to the report.
Consumers swim through a wave of information on a daily basis, so being in the right place at the right time is no easy task. To break through, marketing stories must be relevant and current at any given point in time. And remember, consumers will not go looking for messages; these messages must be where the consumer is along his or her shopping journey.
By knowing how shoppers travel to sites — where they go, which pages they visit, how long they spend there — in addition to where they actually purchase CPG products, marketers can invest their e-commerce dollars wisely. And by paying close attention to which items are competing, which items are winning and what factors are influencing shoppers, CPGs can hone their marketing messages and boost impact by developing strong calls to action across the digital channel, thereby shortening the customers’ paths to purchase.
“E-tail is a phenomenal growth lever, and CPGs are beginning to realize its potential as more than just another retail channel,” Viamari says. “E-tail space has become a powerful marketing channel as well. CPGs must evolve to compete and view e-commerce not only as a sales channel, but also as a critical awareness driver and behavior influencer.”