CPG Distribution - Anytime, Any Place

The purchasing process has evolved from being simple and singular to increasingly serendipitous. As our attention span shortens and the need for instant gratification strengthens, there is now a greater value in the ability to reach retailers wherever we are, at any time and in any place. This has opened up new avenues for selling and distributing CPGs, breaking the traditional retail format and enabling brands to communicate their value in a new way.  

New retail channels: Retailers like Gap have partnered with subscription companies like Birchbox to create pop-ups within their stores, creating a new distribution channel for both their boxes and the beauty products. Their partnership has extended to include a Gap box for new moms with essential products and Gap onesies, positioning both the onesies and the CPG products as part of a wider lifestyle gift. 

French airline Transavia wanted to shift perspectives on the value of their budget flights, so they cleverly turned their tickets into gummy bears and bags of chips, selling themselves as a CPG brand in vending machines and supermarkets throughout Paris. By positioning CPGs in unexpected environments, brands can reframe their products in a playful way to find new value. 



The delivery war: From Amazon Now to Postmates, you can now order from a selection of brands and have them delivered within an hour or less. These curated lists of products limit our options, but the immediacy and convenience no doubt overcome any initial guilt we might feel from a loyalty perspective. Partnership is definitely key, as well as understanding how to communicate your brand as an in- the-moment essential. 

Social buying has never been easier: Pinterest has streamlined the process with its buyable pin, seamlessly allowing buyers to purchase from an e-commerce platform without leaving the app interface. Google launched their retail platform that allows consumers to upload inventory and create shopping campaigns so they can buy directly in the search results interface. They’ve extended this to YouTube, enhancing the annotation functionality to create a better shoppable video experience that will now work on tablets and smartphones, and eventually, Apple TV— making TV-style YouTube content a new shopping channel. Given the growth of ad blocking and the impact this has had on digital display, these native tools hold huge potential for CPGs. 

House parties: Certainly not a new concept, these hark back to the days of Tupperware parties created from distribution restrictions. Today, people are using Facebook to host much wider Facebook “product parties,” leveraging the group functionality to create a stream that showcases products. These parties receive all the benefits of a traditional house party – they have a host advocating for the brand, discuss the products in detail and have a strong CTA to buy within a limited timeframe – but also benefit from having social sharing baked in and unlimited attendees. CPG brands like Juice Plus regularly have their representatives host these parties, but the opportunity for any CPG is when a product requires a little more explaining. 

As marketers we spend a lot of time talking about delivering the right message at the right time so isn’t it time that we have another look at the way that we sell and open up to new channels, too?

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