The Best Ways to Present
Digital Product Information to Shoppers
Omni-channel shoppers have turned trip planning and shopping into
smarter fact-based experiences. They are looking for CPG coupons,
weekly retail deals, brand and item ingredients, recipes and more. The six of ten shoppers who make lists before going to the store are increasingly searching for these promotions and information on their smartphones or computers.
This behavior raises the digital ante for CPG suppliers to consistently convey clear, accurate information about their products across all platforms – smartphones, tablets, computers, in-store kiosks and in-store merchandising – so shoppers can access them instantly, even at the shelf when deciding what to buy.
To enable CPG marketers to present this information in the best way possible, Gladson offers these tips:
- Create a strategy to support digital marketers – Digital channels are reaching increasing numbers of consumers at the moment of truth – when they decide to what to buy – which means new relationships with new players that have new requirements.
- Work with all channels – Traditional retailers are adopting digital media, so they’re likely to reach out to CPG for good images and basic product information. Don’t forget about representing your brands with e-tailers and app developers.
- Provide good, consistent images – The product image is your on-shelf presence online. It needs to be well lit, legible and attractive to shoppers.
- Stay current – When your products change, make sure all the sites and apps that have your brand are updated, too.
- Be detailed – Shoppers seek details such as ingredients, nutrition, allergens, directions and dosages. Make sure they’re visible.
Health and wellness concerns pose a special digital hurdle for CPG, says Steve Cole, chief marketing officer at Gladson, based in Lisle, Ill. “People are conscious of what they’re putting in their bodies and surrounding themselves with. Foods, beverages, personal care and household cleaners are all under more scrutiny. For instance, even though less than 2% of consumers have celiac disease, one in six shoppers are aware of or are selecting items without gluten.”
His point is a shopper may balk at buying an item if she’s unsure of its ingredients, allergens, nutritional benefits or environmental values. “On a 21.5-inch iMac screen, a person can read everything that’s on the digital image of a package. But on a 3.5-inch mobile phone screen, they might only recognize a package is the same.”
That explains why the Gladson Full-Label Detail Database includes views of every side of a package plus the nutrition panel and UPC code. Viewers see the product from multiple angles as on the Zappos.com footwear site, but cannot zoom, pan or rotate images as on some jewelry and apparel sites. The Gladson database also shows in text the package height, weight, depth, and a detailed product description along with usage warnings where appropriate, such as the presence of allergens. One competing product-image resource is Kwikee Systems.
This detailed product information must flow quickly to more parties than ever before – among them app developers, distributors, retail merchandisers and marketers, circular printers, and online coupon sites. The dynamics of CPG manufacturers constantly adding and deleting items, and offering seasonal varieties and promotional sizes, often with net weight or formula changes to compete in today’s volatile pricing environment, drive a hectic pace of digital-image sharing.
In an average month, said Cole, Gladson processes between 10,000 and 11,000 new or changed products. That’s from its database of 400,000 CPG items representing nearly 1,000 different brand-owner companies it services.
Since more channels sell food and beverage today to build trips—such as Home Depot, Best Buy and Apple, as well as dollar, drug and convenience stores—CPG manufacturers deal with merchants of varied sophistication with consumables. “With more outlets and retailers that CPG has to serve, imagine the poor brand assistant trying to manage this from an information management point of view,” said Cole.
Ultimately, digital solutions are about satisfying consumers who are better informed, more demanding and time-crunched. If digital solutions help ensure what’s on the shopping list will be on the retail shelf, “people can do their chores more efficiently. We help give them better information to make a better choice,” he noted. “Digital solutions deliver value-added information that brings brands closer to consumers.”
Responding to the multiple challenges, GS1 has established working groups to develop technical standards for exchanging digital product information globally in support of brands. The GS1 Connect Conference June 4-7 in Las Vegas will have a specialized CPG track.
These eventual standards could make it easier for CPG companies of all sizes to consistently share digital product information. This consistency is “entry level” for CPG, said Cole.
By contrast, Cole noted “most progressive brand owners are figuring out ways to be different in digital media, just as they are different in their stores and traditional advertising. Their offers or associations with events, such as chances to win tickets to concerts or sporting events, build brand value. Product placements in digital, such as product placements within the Angry Birds game, are becoming more important in the mix.”
Gladson is the leading provider of product images, product content and related services for the consumer packaged goods industry. For more information: www.gladson.com