10 ways to get a brand on the online shopping list

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In a relatively flat market, e-commerce is the one part of grocery shopping that is growing. Last year this growth was
15% to a value of $48bn, and it’s forecast to rise to $150bn globally by 2025.

To succeed online brands need to get onto the shopping list as a start — 55% of online shoppers use the same list from one purchase to the next, according to a recent global study from Kantar Worldpanel.

The repeat purchase rate in France, for example, grew from 25% for an average hypermarket to more than 40% online in
many grocery categories.

Here are 10 things to do to ensure winning shoppers’ clicks.

1. Win the battle before the click

Getting on the shopping list doesn’t just happen online. The more predisposed people are to choose your brand the more
likely it will be to make the list and the less likely the consumer will be to consider other brands. Your brand needs to
come to mind the moment someone thinks about buying the category. Investing in media, social and PR will build your
brand in peoples’ minds before they start shopping.

2. Differentiate to justify your price point

Adding brands to a shopping list is a more deliberative process than shopping in-store where package design and placement help trigger habitual purchasing behaviour. Premium brands need to think about what qualities best differentiate them, justify the price point and be sure these qualities are apparent online. Let your package do the talking by featuring it in all communications – online and off – and readily associated with meaningful ideas that differentiate it from the competition.

3. Promote to attract

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Promotions are more important online than in-store. Globally 40% is purchased under a promotion online compared to 20% normally. Whilst long-term price promotions can be challenging, it’s a good way to attract shoppers in the short term, and to get on to the list. Once the brand is on the list, you should achieve payback over time from the share gained.

4. Offer the right volume

Online is generally used to replenish and stock up. Spend and volume tend to be on average three times higher online. A sensible solution is to adapt the offering online to offer bigger pack sizes. Creating something different should also help to overcome potential cannibalisation of the instore offer.

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5. Make purchase easy

Integrate brand communications into other online activity to make online a more natural way to shop. Maybelline in China recently staged a live make-up demonstration, integrating a buy button into the video so that viewers could buy the brand while they watched. This technique was also used by Bird’s Eye in the UK, deliver products directly from a Facebook ad into the basket of whichever retailer was chosen. Integrating the purchase into another activity makes adding the product into a shopping list almost automatic.

6. Deliver a solution

One of the benefits of online is that multiple items can be placed in the basket at once, rather than moving from section to section within a store. Brands that understand this can work across categories to deliver a meal or occasion solution rather than just a single product which will make life easier for the customer.

7. Cater to different needs

Creating special ranges or other points of difference can be a way to leverage online opportunities. Online shelf space is virtually limitless, so create special flavours or formulas that might not be attractive to a mass audience. Offering a greater choice will drive loyalty and increase sales.

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8. Connect the dots

Make your brand’s website a place to facilitate online shopping in addition to preparing shoppers for an offline shopping trip. Brands need to focus on key touchpoints like the web site and social media to reduce the friction of shopping online.

9. Take your brand offline to win trial

Good, old-fashioned sampling can have a huge influence on trial. For instance, P&G aims to double down on its investment in sampling for detergent, increasing reach from 17 million households to 30 million in fiscal 2017. Whether the brand is delivered to people’s homes, sampled in-store or at events, there is no substitute for personal experience.

10. Mine the data

Smart marketers will use e-commerce and other data to understand the path to online purchase and maximize sales. Which buyers are most predisposed to choose your brand? How can you reach them before they start shopping? What will best motivate them to put your brand on their list? Data sources that combine both behavioural and attitudinal data will help answer such questions and allow the brand to achieve its full e-commerce potential.

As technology advances different approaches to shopping will become more widespread. E-commerce is growing and marketers must prepare their brands to compete online and off. The best marketers will build a strong brand that people will add to their list instinctively and make it the easiest to choose.


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