By focusing on search, visuals, enhanced content, brand protection and an omnichannel approach, consumer goods manufacturers can increase sales by leveraging the power the internet.

Reza Farhangi, director of strategic initiatives, PriceSpider

Reza Farhangi, director of strategic initiatives, PriceSpider

The market for consumer packaged goods (CPG) has always been fierce, with brands looking to stand out and beat the competition, both on shelves and now online. But while the CPG industry has historically been focused strictly on price competition, this is no longer the case in the digital space. Today’s market makes it difficult for CPG manufacturers to compete on price as stiff competition has resulted in low prices across the board. Online sales now depend on a variety of factors. Here are five online strategies that CPG manufacturers can use to set themselves apart and boost sales.

1. Leverage your online presence through search

For brick-and-mortar stores, product placement means the physical space where the item is placed—ideally at eye-level. As an example, food items at the grocery store which are placed on the bottom shelf are usually the least sold. In the digital realm, brands must take the product placement approach and apply it to search—with optimized keywords and phrasing that customers would look for. For instance, when you search for fruity cereal online, Fruit Loops is always number one. Having your item come out on top of search is the digital version of eye-level shelf placement, with the added benefit of offering customers the ratings and reviews they couldn’t find in-store.

There are several ways to increase your products search results; they include SEO and optimizing product titles, descriptive product content, great imagery, enhanced content, number of product reviews and more.

The things we buy fill the gap between where we are in reality and where we see ourselves.

2. Tell a story … with high-quality visuals

When you discover a particular product online, the visuals are the most compelling piece of content because they tell a story. While the type of story told is determined by creative assets, brand manufacturers must ensure that the visuals offer the consumer an idea of who will use the product, why and how it will be used and the benefits of doing so. The goal for the visuals, along with being a descriptor, is to eliminate any sort of questions a shopper might have. It’s important to give some sort of representation in terms of size and weight of the product; and implementing lifestyle images and videos helps consumers understand the product’s practical applications.

3. Kill two birds with one piece of content

Sometimes referred to as “deluxe copy,” “A+ content” or “syndicated content,” enhanced content tells the story of not only a specific product but how that product relates to a brand. It shows more than just the value of the product, but also the value compared to other items in the product line. By utilizing enhanced content, brand manufacturers can showcase both the individual product as well as other products that may be a better fit for the consumer. For example, Crest can showcase its entire product line of toothpastes on a single product page to illustrate the relative value proposition of Crest 3D White Brilliance Toothpaste. This comparison better illustrates to consumers how the toothpaste relates to the entire product line in terms of whitening power, flavor, ounce size and price, which can ultimately convert to more sales.

4. Stay vigilant to protect your brand


It’s no coincidence that the most aspirational brands are also the ones that take the firmest steps to protect their image. The Chanel brand is the primary reason someone buys a Chanel purse—not the price, or the attributes, or arguably even the quality. Consumers want to feel the way a specific brand has been marketed to make them feel. The things we buy fill the gap between where we are in reality and where we see ourselves. Therefore, it’s important for brands to protect their appeal through proper representation online. To do so, keeping an eye on online reviews, general customer sentiment and retail pricing is imperative. If retailers are selling items below MSRP, consumers will view the brand as less valuable, damaging it in the long run.

5. Embrace the omnichannel experience

A true omnichannel offering should allow consumers to view products online and offer real-time options for picking items up in-store or shipping to their home. There should be no difference between the in-store and online shopping experience. A customer should be able to see all dimensions of a product and shop it in your local neighborhood store. Walmart Grocery has done a great job on drive and pickup, while many other stores are starting to build the next-generation inventory systems to offer real-time insights to customers online. CPG’s can start embracing the online shopping local pickup channel. They can start pushing customers to those retailers while they are shopping online and allow them to shop online and pickup in store. While also making sure their content is accurate and complete on their product pages at their online retailers.

By focusing on search, visuals, enhanced content, brand protection and an omnichannel approach, CPG manufacturers are able to strategically increase sales by leveraging the power the internet. When successfully implemented, brands not only create a more enjoyable and engaging online experience for their customers, but set themselves apart from the competition, drive sales in the short term and build brand recognition that will pay dividends in the future.

PriceSpider collects data from thousands of e-commerce sites to provide insights on what, where, when and how people purchase.