Get into shoppers’ favourites, Ocado marketing director tells FMCG brands

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Junior's Pantry shows where to buy

Junior’s Pantry shows where to buy

FMCG brands must get onto shoppers’ favourites lists in order to sell effectively online, according to Ocado marketing director Lawrence Hene.

Speaking at the IGD’s Trading in a Digital World event, Hene revealed that once an online shopper has made a few shops, 80% of what they buy is from their list of around 300 favourite items.

If a shopper buys 40 items, a favourite brand has a one in seven chance of being bought versus one in 3,000 if the brand is not a favourite.

“Get into favourites and you get self perpetuating sales growth,” he said.

Hene reminded delegates to remember shopping online is different to shopping in-store. 

Websites display front of pack images, which are the same size,  “but that does not mean we don’t influence what goes on,” said Hene.

Hene said customers purchase what is near the top of page and will not search through lots of pages to find a product.

If a product is not on the first page, it results in missed sales, he said.

“Therefore we structure our pages by favourites, offers, new and then the rest.

“Then we sort by speed of sale and probability of purchase.”

Hene gave suppliers a handful of tips for optimising their online presence. 

Basic housekeeping includes monitoring the five key online players’ websites each week to ensure products are in the right place. 

Hene said suppliers can use other tools to get to the top of the page such as promoting top offers.

“Make sure you are where the traffic is,” he advised, suggesting chicken, for example, attracted more traffic than sauce.

Brands can also use onsite media, he said.

“You need to be everywhere – customers behave differently,” he revealed. Some are searchers, some favourites buyers, others are catalogue browsers and some search on the go.

Hene also advised retailers on their own websites and said marketing and trading needed to work together in the online world. 

While FMCG site content, is there to engage, educate and inspire, it should also drive transactions, he said.

Persil, for example, directs shoppers to retailers’ sites; while Nivea features where products are on promotion and drives traffic to the relevant site.

“If brands are not working on this you should be kicking yourselves,” he said, “you’ve got to get them to transact.”

Third party sites such as Facebook play a vital role, said Hene.

And while brands should not be transactional with every message, they should consider what fan bases, for example, are doing to promote product or sales.

Hene highlighted Junior’s Pantry, as a company promoting stockists of its products online.

Brands can also build communities and use Facebook offers to drive transactions, which can be “incredibly powerful”, said Hene.

According to Hene, these will attract negative comments but brands should not “worry about the stick”. 

Ocado, for example, gave away a breakfast bundle comprising £16.00 worth of breakfast products.

While recipients criticised the offer as not being suitable for vegetarians others replied “give the meat products to one of your friends”, Hene revealed.

He also recommended brands buy media to expand the category in which they operate such as Flora around the cholesterol space.

“Be where the eyeballs are – whoever else has traffic, for example, recipes sites, blogs, price comparison sites,” he advised.