Online, Brands Can Be More Than One in 50,000

Articles
April 16, 2010

Online, Brands Can Be More Than One in 50,000

It may seem as if CPG is playing follow the leader since Procter & Gamble announced the PGestore would go live this spring. Alice.com is providing a marketplace for dozens of brands consumers know, and others that lack retail distribution.

It may seem as if CPG is playing follow the leader since Procter & Gamble announced the PGestore would go live this spring. Alice.com is providing a marketplace for dozens of brands consumers know, and others that lack retail distribution.

At The Lempert Report, we believe that for most brands having an online presence isn’t about competing with retailers - even though CPG often complains about shabby treatment at the hands of the chains that feed them. CPG executives point to private label encroachment, SKU rationalization, smaller store formats, promotional allowance demands without proof of performance, and more.

While retail shelves are CPG’s primary gateway to sales, the Internet could well become the gateway to powerful insights about shopping behaviors, spending patterns, promotions that work, and more. With these insights, CPG could build competitive advantage and garner new information about shoppers that would likely help improve physical-store strategies as well.  

What Pepsi Refresh does in social media, what Kraft’s iFood Assistant does as an app, and what other brand makers do at their informational websites to connect with consumers only touches on the possibilities available through deeper online brand platforms - whether e-commerce occurs there or not.

Certainly, the full lines can be shown online and merchandised vs. the limited shelf space available in stores. More brand stories can be told. And more ways to interact can more fully engage consumers with the brand. 

Upon launch of the P&G e-pilot earlier in 2010, Kirk Perry, vice president-North America, described the company’s goal to test marketing, selling and retention concepts and programs “that exponentially grow consumer affinity for our brands and mutually increase sales for P&G and our retailer partners….and deliver…insights for beauty and grooming, health and well-being, and household care” categories.

For many brand makers with less clout than P&G, we feel the #1 practical reason for brands to have a strong Web presence is to exert more control of a direct dialogue with consumers -

whether it involves use of the brand, its unique traits and sourcing, value, quality and aesthetic perceptions, surveys, contests, special offers, innovations or more.  At a site someone visits purposely with at least a nominal curiosity and maybe a serious intent to buy, a brand can converse one on one. That’s much better than being one in 50,000, as in one item in a supermarket that sells 50,000 items, and which gets barely a glance from most shoppers as they wheel through the aisles.