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How to Build a Results-Driven eCommerce Sales Channel Program

Learn how FMCG and CPG companies are identifying new growth and revenue opportunities using eCommerce digital sales channels and brand experiences.

Omnichannel Commerce has changed the way people shop — and will continue to do so. Although it’s impossible to predict exactly what’s next in eCommerce, it’s more critical than ever to stay ahead of the curve.

From in-store experiences, eCommerce Stores or online eMarketplaces such as eBay and Amazon; the range of online marketing channels grows each year experientially.

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eCommerce Digital Sales Channel Landscape

The increase in eCommerce revenue in Australia nearly doubled year on year.
In 2020, we saw a 22% increase in online sales, up from 12% in 2019. This translates into a projected AU$37.5 billion of the annual global eCommerce revenue in 2021.

From expanding and optimising post-purchase experiences to embracing a multichannel marketing and sales program, its NEVER been SO important to have an eCommerce Strategy.

Building an eCommerce Sales Channel Strategy

eCommerce is still in a mostly unchartered territory within the FMCG and CPG industry but it has changed the way consumers interact with brands globally!

People are talking about it and are using all the right buzzwords. Still, in reality, it’s a hard sell to convince business executives to migrate the business from a traditional “retail store ranging” philosophy to incorporating an Omnichannel eCommerce program.

“eCommerce is not the icing on the cake – it is the cake.”

Jean-Paul Agon CEO of L’Oreal

The FMCG / CPG industry faces a seismic shift in retail commerce driven by consumers who enjoy the benefits of shopping online, convenience, price, and of course a well-designed path to purchase.

The challenge is developing a strategy that can leverage your digital and data capabilities to identify each of the digital touchpoints that create ‘connected and seamless experiences’ for online customers.

Primary Goals of your Digital Commerce Strategy

For companies embarking on their eCommerce journey, and wish to move far beyond just EDI order enablement or selling products on your website, it’s important to bring in specialists with diverse industry experience to help you create a plan that will convince senior management to make eCommerce a priority and understand its benefits.

Here are our best recommendations that should include in your eCommerce Sales Channel Program.

Get your Brand Message and Offer Right!

It doesn’t matter how much you spend on digital marketing if you don’t have the right brand message and sales offer, your online shoppers will quickly click past your page.

Before you start loading products to online stores, stop for a moment and consider what the brand stands for, who your target consumer is, and why they are purchasing from you?

Furthermore, you also need to consider the type of content that is required for specific digital channels.

If you are loading data to the National Product Catalogue (NPC), Smart Media, SKUvantage or RangeMe, you’ll need product specification and logistical details. If the channel is Amazon or eBay, they will require more detailed marketing messages e.g. features and benefits statements.

The one thing that ALL this content has in common, it resides under the umbrella of your brand. Take the time to get this piece right FIRST and the rest will fall into place and be more easily repeatable.

Related: FMCG Brand Strategy and Activation

Build a Multi-Channel Product Catalogue

You are going to require a LOT of information about your products to suit the requirements of each digital sales channel.

Everything from descriptions, GTINs, supply chain, hazardous, allergen, nutritional, on-pack labelling information, packaging, pricing, and digital assets like images.

Having a centralised product information management system or a PIM will vastly improve your digital marketing and digital sales channel ecosystem.  

PIM software allows you to store product information and digital assets in multiple formats required to support online product catalogues such as Coles Online, Woolworths Shop, Endeavour Marketplace, eBay, Amazon, Catch, and Alibaba.

Related: How to Improve the Management of your Product Information

Building the Brand Experience as much as the Journey

To engage with consumers, brand marketers need to design a digitally connected customer journey that defines their path to purchase (Influence – Engage – Measure)

From your brand message to the flow across website pages, creating a complete digital brand experience, and connecting with your shopper on an emotional level, will move the interaction away from a ‘price driven‘ transaction to a ‘brand value’ relationship.

Related: How to Create Digital Customer Experiences

Digitally Connected Customers

Leverage your digital and data capabilities to create connected and seamless shopping experiences. Identify the customer touchpoints that connect the shopper / customer through their ‘path-to-purchase’.

Focus on growing customers and brand loyalty beyond just the purchase using ‘customer driven’ engagement processes that include personalisation, loyalty programs, interest groups, educational content, and community initiatives.

Related: Multichannel Marketing

Create an Omnichannel Marketing and Sales Program

As eCommerce channels become more ubiquitous, there is now an unprecedented fluidity between the consumer’s offline and online shopping experience. The analysis shows that shoppers will research a product online but make the purchase at a physical store.

Design your Omnichannel program to support every experience, every touchpoint across online and offline channels to consistently deliver on your brand promise. Get this right, and you will remain a category leader and win against the global eCommerce giants.

Related: eCommerce Digital Channel Marketing

eMarketplace Support

Global B2C eMarketplaces have been getting a lot of traction with consumers and have become a real alternative to physical stores (eBay, Amazon, Kogan, Catch, MyDeal, Little Birdie, Wine Selectors and TradeMe).

eMarketplaces can create a much larger opportunity for brand marketers to reach new customers and expand into new sales channels. The advent of robust, cloud software makes it possible for companies like Amazon and eBay to scale quickly and at a low-cost.

Before you sign-up to an eMarketplace, it’s essential that you understand how it may impact your existing sales channels? Each eMarketplaces also has a slightly different marketing and distribution process that needs to be aligned with your current approach.

Related: How to Sell Products on eMarketplaces

Utilise Retailer Consumer Engagement Portals

Creating a total brand engagement experience is a top focus for retail chains such as Coles, Woolworths, Endeavour Drinks, Bunnings, Myer, Officeworks etc.

These companies have invested large sums of money in improving their online stores and the overall shopping experience and Journey.

The more savvy retailers have built consumer brand engagement portals that now link their store-level promotions and digital marketing together (e.g. Coles&Co, Coles Speciality Branded Store and Woolworths Branded Shop).

Their goal is to create a sticky brand experience using educational content, recipes, promotional offers etc. This information will connect with the consumer on an emotional and practical level. Doing this will reinforce brand value, build trust, and ultimately retain the customer for longer.

It’s a missed opportunity to not factor these consumer brand portals into your brand launch marketing.

Related: How to Implement Multi-Channel Digital Media Marketing

Create Engaging Digital Brand Experiences

Advances in technology can now enrich a brand experience far more than we could in a physical sense.  

We agree that physical contact with a product provides a unique experience to the consumer.

However, these technological advances such as Augmented Reality, Mobile Apps, and Artificial Intelligence can differentiate your brand and make it an unforgettable experience (and separate you from your competitors).

See an example of how we have helped leading brands turn traditional marketing campaigns into a truly outstanding and meaningful brand experience for consumers AND retail buyers.

Related: Creating Unforgettable Digital Brand Experiences

Get the most out of your Retail Trading Partners

Don’t just get some products ranged with your retail trading partners and think the job is done.

If you REALLY want to grow the category and of course boost your sales, you need to be more proactive at using the many marketing and sales tools provided by the retailer.

List your products on Coles Online, Woolworths Shop, Endeavour Marketplace
Provide on-pack panel information about your products e.g Nutritional Panel
Invest in the online search and ‘pay-to-promote’ functions to optimise your online listings
Get your products listed in digital catalogues and email promotional campaigns.

Related: Creating Responsive Paid Search Campaigns

Advance your Business to Consumer (B2C) Channels

Are we not just talking about selling products on your website?
Nope. We are talking about growing your sales through brand loyalty and subscription programs

Leading brands such as Gillette market a subscription model that allows consumers to receive replacement razors for their Gillette branded handles each month – delivered to the door.

This type of direct-to-consumer model exploits the current consumer shopping trends to providing convenience as a value-add.

Consider the use of Mobile Apps

For companies with large communities who deal with them regularly e.g. Australia Post, Ergon Energy, Finance and Insurance etc, Mobile Apps can improve customer engagement and support.

With more and more people accessing the Internet from a mobile device, using a mobile app makes this experience more simple, intuitive, and efficient.

Mobile Apps also have the distinct advantage of being a direct link to your customer – it sits in their pocket EVERY single day. 

By combining innovative marketing tactics with the push-notifications and messaging tools, brands can vastly improve their customer engagement and retention levels.

Allow Data Analytics to be your New Best Friend

As we move further into the digital age, data analytics will become the golden arrow of your program.

While shopper insights information and scan data have been useful for understanding your category and shopper trends, its new tools like Google Analytics can now track your digital customer journey and online behaviours.

FMCG / CPG companies need to look closely at their online sales performance and allow the numbers to dictate marketing budgets per digital channel.  

Take the time to analyse online digital marketing, online traffic, shopping behaviours, digital platform performance, product sales per channel, distribution, and sales margins.

Get the People, Process, Training and Technology RIGHT!

It’s vital to get the organisation and operation right from the beginning to ensure that you can support your new eCommerce sales channels.

The last thing you want is cranky customers from wrong or missing orders.

Ensure that you have the right people in place to support the new process. Provide them training and support, and it a great idea to also measure them on success (KPIs).

You must invest in the right digital technology that can integrate to the existing systems and be simple to use. Having people keying in data, printing off picking slips, or hand-writing customer address labels simply won’t cut it.

Furthermore, ensuring that you meet corporate governance and comply with any industry regulations such as privacy legislation will become critical to upholding brand trust and overall customer satisfaction.

Predicting the Future of eCommerce…

Our digital team work with leading brand manufacturers, suppliers and retail chains from across the globe.

This allows us to visualise global trends that are influencing eCommerce and digital sales channels and then share that information with our clients. See what’s making impacting omnichannel programs across the world!

Read out the latest article Futuristic eCommerce and Omnichannel Marketing Programs.

How we help

rev™ Branding is a specialist brand agency that has helped some of the world’s leading brands to integrate digital technology with their marketing to drive offline AND online sales.

Over the last 20-years, we’ve worked with 70 of the top 100 Global FMCG / CPG brands to change how they market and sell products and connect their brands with today’s consumers.

Our team creates digital brand experiences and high-performance omnichannel marketing campaigns that allow you to expedite access to new markets and increase sales opportunities.

Our years of experience across Product Development & Brand Launch, Digital Marketing, and eCommerce ensures that we create an eCommerce digital channel strategy that allows you to scale strategically and profitable.

Learn about our eCommerce Digital Channel Services [Learn More]

Start building your eCommerce plan!

*Download our FREE Whitepaper*
Speak with Robert Durrant, our eCommerce and Digital Specialist about how he helps companies to create a roadmap to help you plan and implement your eCommerce Strategy.

Selling via eMarketplaces like eBay or Amazon
Creating your eCommerce offer and marketing support plan
Using Paid Search and SEO Campaigns across Google, Coles, Woolworths, Endeavour Drinks
Understanding your Digital Technology infrastructure (PIM, NPC, RangeMe, SmartMedia, SKUvantage)
Developing your eCommerce Branding and Digital Marketing requirements.

FMCG eCommerce Digital Sales Channel Acceleration Whitepaper-rev-Branding

DOWNLOAD our FREE eCommerce Digital Sales Channel Acceleration Whitepaper

Rob has been working in the food and beverage industry for more than 30+ years and can help you understand which channel best suits your needs.
Contact Rob on +61 3 9863-7444 or [email protected]