CPG Brands Getting Better At Building Cross-Category Relationships With Online Shoppers

Consumer product goods companies and retailers have an interesting opportunity to cross-sell products online. While baby-related items like wipes and diapers typically are shipped to homes in bulk, an increasing number of consumers now add coffee, creamer, mascara, and candy to the online order. It has become more of a cross-purchase sale online.

CPG brands are going through an interesting transition -- one that will prove lucrative in the long run. Many have begun to figure out how to build online relationships. An increase in Web site searches among clients of HookLogic -- which supports retail and brand Web sites -- have begun to prove this. Searches for specific cosmetics and colors continue to increase, influencing online and offline purchases, per Elizabeth Jackson, CMO at HookLogic. Online shoppers are following similar comparison and research patterns as those shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, where they walk up and down store aisles, linking one category of products to another.

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HookLogic this week will release a white paper titled "Converting the CPG Online Shopper," which shows a change in consumer behavior when shopping online and in stores. Rather than grow ecommerce, marketers should think about "growing commerce, because we're finding online impacts offline sales, too," especially for consumer product goods companies, Jackson said.

HookLogic began working with U.K. grocery store chains like Asda to support online shopping. Now the company will bring what it learned to the U.S. to help more CPG manufacturers build a strategy that encompasses cross-category marketing.

The change in consumer browsing behavior continues to fuel commerce. Having bottled water shipped to a home or office offers benefits, which explains the high basket values in Food and Beverages. Health Care and Personal Care are big opportunity areas as consumers continue to become more comfortable purchasing these categories online.

The average number of products per basket for baby products is 4.6 items, compared with $19.96 for the average unit price, and $91.43 for the total average basket value. For beauty products those numbers are 6.5 product per basket, $16.99 for the average unit price, and $103.74 for the average total basket value. For beverages, the average number of products per basket for Food is 10.5, with $16.29 for the average unit price, and $170.88 for the average total basket value.

More online shopping carts had multiple category purchases that include non-CPG items. The online consumer might buy baby diapers and blankets for a baby. So 10% of baby care items also had another CPG product and 57% of carts had a non-CPG product. The white paper goes into more detail. 

Most of the orders were done on a desktop. Among HookLogic’s retail partners, mobile accounted for 38% of e-commerce site traffic during the 2014 holidays. 

Some other interesting insights show that CPG shoppers like to browse online and research purchases similar to shopping offline. More than 60% of consumers like to compare products on a Web site. CPG online shoppers like to stock up. The average CPG baskets contain 7.4 items, vs. 3.1 items for all other baskets.

The white paper analyzed nearly 10 million online transactions representing more than $1.2 billion in sales from Oct. 2 through Nov. 15, 2014, across its Retail Search Exchange network. The analysis also includes survey data from a 500-consumer study the company commissioned from MarketTree in May 2014. Browsing, purchasing and conversion behavior was analyzed for the CPG category to gain deeper insights and related online shopping behavior. 

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