It ain’t easy to be wheeze. Ecommerce complexity for CPG brands

For CPG brands, proper execution of eCommerce has to start with a customer experience in mind. The industry Brand Managers need to strongly consider their eCommerce approach, which isn’t just an ordinary sales channel. eCommerce is a skill, not a business

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Author: Rafal Wasyluk, head of EMEA Commerce Centre of Excellence, VMLY&R Poland

eCommerce is a communication channel: the way brands present their products, the way the content is structured, composed, delivered and then maintained is critical. It’s a wider strategic approach. Google product search results will always priorities online shops, where most of the consumers’ path-to-purchase journey starts online (excluding the US where 66% starts on Amazon – it’s another shift…). So, it’s a tactical challenge as well.

Thinking of eCommerce, you need both strategy and a tactics plan in place, whether it’s a general long-term brand development goal or short-term tactical activation campaign including execution. It’s all about bringing your customers’ offline experience to the digital shelf, either it’s pure player, brick-and-click, delivery service or own D2C solution. 

It’s worth doing an exercise to stop thinking of eCommerce as yet another department within the organization. However, it may already exist as your Sales department – at the end of the day, it’s still the Brand and Marketing duty to equip it with tools and enable the proper product communication execution in an integrated manner. To enable this to happen effectively, start thinking of eCommerce as overarching layer for all your business areas, mainly marketing, sales, technology, intelligence… This is the way it can be transformed from silo to skill.

In Covid-19 post-pandemic ‘new normal’, hopefully a better tomorrow to support groceries (and wider FMCG/CPG) online shopping to the next level of growth, Retailers should also review how their current sales platforms perform from an experience-feasibility perspective. That is also the case for wider ecosystems: mobile applications, loyalty programs, payment flexibility, goods delivery solutions, data processing (collecting and concluding!) and all the other connected areas. Retailers constantly need to answer the question of how well they are prepared for growing customer demand, for enriched product presentation, updated written content including correct products attributes (e.g. transparent listed ingredients, specific warnings and useful advice of  ‘goes-well-with’  other related products to ease the shopping selection and increase the basket value).

Visual content is likely to be even more demanding, not least from the operational and technical point of view (e.g. live streaming, which is already a standard in Asia or via Amazon, combines social media presence with consumers sales, not mentioning instore AR or employing AI for smart omnichannel segmentation and personalisation...). There is a constant demand for developing functionality, including Voice search, VEO readiness, D2C offering, loyalty activations and customer LTV prospecting…

Last but by no means least, technology challenges around data strategy and the way data is collected, not just for improving the accuracy of widely understood clientele segmentation, but also prepared to make selected performance data points shareable with Brands and Manufacturers.

It’s complex. There’s plenty of work to do across many stakeholders, but it has to be done in order to keep the leadership position with the respective category.

It all starts and ends around experience: at the birth, on a basic level – with the best possible product content based on strategic assumptions. Finally – even small improvements are made based upon in-depth data analysis.

Unfortunately, but also luckily – the best part is that there’s no final act… Listen. Act. Learn. Improve… and Repeat.

Author: Rafal Wasyluk, head of EMEA Commerce Centre of Excellence, VMLY&R Poland

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