With Black Friday just four weeks away, most online retailers have already set up their vacation strategies, with the goal of getting as many e-commerce as possible from here the end of the year. And while most of this season's online shopping will be centered on gift items like toys, electronics and clothing, CPG brands will also compete for their own share of the holiday e-commerce pie.
Consumer Packaged Goods (CPGs) – the products you usually buy at the grocery store – are not the first thing that consumers consider when they draw up their shopping list online for the holidays, but online shopping trends are changing.
As more and more stores offer click and collect options, and more CPG brands are selling on Amazon, consumers are adding more CPG products to online shopping.
According to the 1010data Online CPG Industry Report released in March, online GIC sales increased 36% between 2015 and 2016, reaching $ 10.4 billion.
The report reveals that the top three categories of CPGs – health supplements, pet care and cosmetics – each generated more than $ 1 billion in sales in 2016 and that sales of GPCs grew twice as fast than the year.
"A lot of consumers are moving online to buy CPG products, but they do not shop the same way as they shop in the stores," says Jennifer Silverberg, CEO of SmartCommerce.
In 2013, Silverberg was marketing director of Channel Intelligence when Google acquired the company and used its technology to power Google's Shopping ads. Silverberg says she and her colleagues have realized that the same kind of technology behind the Channel Intelligence platform could be applied to new online opportunities for GIC brands.
The result was SmartCommerce, an ecommerce platform designed to generate more conversions for CPG brands.
As CEO of SmartCommerce, Silverberg says his team wanted to gain the same impulse buying experience that a customer can have in store and move it online.
"We want consumers to easily put a product in a basket, we do not want to put four or five steps in between, and lose them along the way," says Silverberg, "and probably during the holidays it is easier to get lost on the way to buying than any other time of year.
Silverberg says that one of the things they've learned about the GPC market is that it's a very impulse-driven category. His company is a response to CPG brands that want to recreate this impulsive purchase in a digital environment.
Working specifically with GIC brands, Silverberg says that the space of traditional packaged goods is the first to make e-commerce leap into the GIC categories because it's what consumers buy the more online.
"The pure impulse buys – chips, sweets, stuff that is not part of a typical grocery list, or things that must depend on someone else's who sees them in the store, and who say oh yeah, I meant – they are the ones who are most eager to understand how to boost online sales, "says Silverberg.
According to the CEO, brands use SmartCommerce to allow consumers to buy online the way they buy things in the store – on an impulse.
"If you make me want something online, why the hell would you do that and not give me an easy way to follow up?" Silverberg application.
The CEO says that customers are finding unique ways to use SmartCommerce technology during the holiday season.
A brand has designed a "virtual package" of articles on Pinterest for a confectionery project – allowing the pot cart, the ribbons to decorate the pot and the candies that go into the pot, all in one click
Another unique use of technology is the combination of three different brands for a promotion, allowing online shoppers to cart all the ingredients needed to make the green bean casserole.
"Del Monte Foods' is associated with Campbell's Soup and French's (who's now called McCormick) – so three completely separate manufacturers working together at Christmas," says Silverberg
In the store, the promotion would be a cardboard kiosk that a buyer could see in the vegetable aisle or canned soup, with the three branded products displayed together. SmartCommerce has helped turn this experience into a virtual shopping experience, allowing consumers to load all the ingredients at the same time.
"They get creative," says the CEO, talking about how brands use SmartCommerce, "It's been fun to watch."
In the press release announcing the 101data sector report, the company's vice president of marketing, Jed Alpert, pointed out that e-commerce is no longer a secondary concern for GPC brands.
"All CPG brands need to understand how consumers are shopping in their categories and how ecommerce can help provide a better experience and complement in-store sales," said Alpert.
With industry experts predicting new records this season, ecommerce technology platforms like SmartCommerce – combined with CPG brands being more strategic online – will only add to the E-commerce boom this year.