Playing a Game of E-Commerce Catch-Up? Adopt a Digital Mindset to Fuel Transformation
As more people purchase groceries and consumer goods online, time tested in-store strategies such as shelf space and flyers have given way to digital commerce, retail media networks and more.
Now, brands that haven't prioritized their e-commerce position are playing a game of catch-up. This is particularly true of brands in the CPG space, where purchases have traditionally taken place in-store, until very recently. The e-commerce learning curve can be steep, especially for those that have been focused on offline and in-store marketing tactics.
How does a brand overcome this challenge and become an e-commerce leader?
Let Go of Traditional Shopper Marketing Constructs
The first step in pivoting towards e-commerce is to reset expectations.
Online shopping journeys are nonlinear and multichannel. Digital shoppers visit sites to do everything from product discovery to price comparisons. So how can brands optimize for purchases in this landscape?
According to Catalyst and Kantar’s State of Ecommerce 2021 research, 66 percent of online purchasers say that convenience is the main reason they choose to purchase from a specific retailer. As a result, investing in strategies that position the brand as a point of convenience provides a pathway into consumers’ baskets as well as the potential to stay there for repeat purchases, creating a “Flywheel Effect.”
Accomplishing this requires an understanding of each online retailer’s ranking system. These systems rank products that are shown to shoppers based on a myriad of variables, such as sales volume, share of voice (SOV), available in-store inventory, product-related content, and investment in your online presence across key retailers.
Don’t Undervalue Your Product Detail Pages
Compared to other assets, product detail pages (PDPs) may seem like a “light” asset that could be addressed simply by inserting basic product information or claims onto a product page. Avoid this misconception.
PDPs play a critical role in your e-commerce strategy. Catalyst and Kantar’s State of Ecommerce 2021 research reports that among all online purchasers, nearly half said that they visited a PDP at the time of purchase, and 41 percent said PDPs had the biggest influence on their purchase. However, in the same report, only 37 percent of e-commerce professionals reported optimizing their brand’s PDPs.
PDPs are worthy of significant investment across content creation, search engine optimization, and in-depth measurement and analytics. Invest in PDPs that thoroughly address consumer questions, including calling out health benefits, citing ingredients, and implementing optimizations tactics for organic visibility.
When it Comes to Retail Media, Carpe Diem!
As legions of new shoppers migrate online, retail media can offer unprecedented opportunities to acquire new customers. For example, there are notable spikes in e-commerce activity around holidays and big events, drawing more shoppers to retailer sites. These predictable bursts are the times to invest more heavily as the higher volume of shoppers and transactions creates fertile ground for incremental growth.
It’s also important to reconsider measurement for retail media. While many brands typically calculate returns based on one-time or first-time sales, it’s advantageous to track net new shoppers and calculate return on investment based on a rolling six- to 12-month lifetime value (LTV), since many new first-time buyers will add products saved to their shopping lists for future purchases and retailer sites make product recommendations based on recent purchases. Brands that don’t factor in repeat purchasers may be capping their bids at an artificially low ceiling, which limits the ability to scale and undervalues the channel.
Progress Over Perfection
The quickly evolving e-commerce landscape makes it difficult for any brand to achieve perfection. Thus, a mantra of “progress over perfection” will carry brands through their e-commerce evolution. It’s unclear how this will all play out, and a lot of this hinges on how large grocers develop their own digital footprints. However, adopting a digital mindset will certainly help CPG brands position themselves for lasting success in an e-commerce-focused future.
Chris Cloney is the director of client development at Catalyst, a performance marketing company, delivering sophisticated SEO, PPC, paid social, and e-commerce search for the Fortune 1000.