Brand image has a major impact on consumer buying behavior. It’s no surprise that CPG brands spend more on brand advertising than any other retail vertical. Brand websites are the digital “front door” for CPG and DTC brands. Whether your website is there to convert shoppers online or convert on a different channel, the product discovery journey on a CPG website needs to be slick.
The DTC market is enjoying rapid continuous growth, with double-digit rates for several years. It is expected to experience a further 19.2% growth in 2021. But CPG isn’t far behind that. In early 2020, consumers drastically pivoted from store to digital shopping practices for CPG, causing the industry to grow at a robust 10.3%, nine times the previous year’s. The time is now for CPG brands to embrace and innovate on their websites to strengthen their direct-to-consumer relationships.
Whether your customers tend to shop directly with you online, or your website is more of a showroom for your brand, the time is now to create a website experience which will tell a strong brand story, strengthen your brand equity, and keep customers coming engaged with your brand.
7 Strategies for Making Your Website Magnetic and Engaging Your Customers
1) Enrich Your Product Catalogue
In the beginning all search engines were the same, they relied on keywords and manual inputs. Merchandisers were left to scour Analytics to find out the search terms that are resulting in zero results. At that point they would update their catalogue. But as that kept happening, they would find that they were unable to accommodate the number of words necessary in product titles and descriptions. Then, systems opened the back end and enabled merchandisers to add synonyms there, so they didn’t need to keep adding keywords to the front end. Sounds good, right? But, the problem with that is that a customer had to be shown a ‘no results’ page first in order for the retailer to know synonyms needed to be added, causing a real customer to get a bad experience. And by the time the synonym was added to the system, the real customer was gone, likely not to return.
Enter Klevu. Klevu AI helps retailers automatically add relevant synonyms to their product catalogue without any manual work. It takes a product feed, considers the context of a store, and injects synonyms so that whatever way a shopper is searching, they will find relevant products. For example, if they type jeans, denim will appear. If they search for beige, neutral will also appear.
Klevu’s product catalogue enrichment is a huge time saver for CPG brands that may have large catalogues that update frequently, as well as customers that come back to the website over and over again, searching for items their own unique way.
2) Make Your Search Look Sensational
Once your products are findable by any query, it’s essential to make search the most magnetic journey on your website. It’s a fact that traffic through site search converts 3-5x better than non-search journeys.
First, build a search overlay that immediately displays recommendations right when the shopper clicks into the search bar. Secondly, exposing the search bar in your main navigation encourages the use of search in the first place. When you expose the entire search bar in your website header, you’re not only encouraging the use of search, you can even make search more appealing. Typically, this really benefits on mobile journeys. Brands that use Klevu have seen a 44% increase in orders from mobile search when exposing the search bar.
As you can see here on GF Smith, a paper manufacturer and supplier, the search bar is not only exposed, it is highlighted with moving text that describes what the shopper can do.
For a fashion CPG brand, you might explain to your shoppers that you can search using complex descriptions like patterns, price range or brand. A good eCommerce search engine will be able to support natural language queries such as these.
Another example of a beautiful search layout is Swedish luxury brand, Toteme. Suggested searches appear before you even start typing, populated using Klevu pre-generated popular searches from recent site interactions across all customers. Diego Fria, eCommerce Director at Toteme says of Klevu, “With Klevu we were able to completely customize the search experience. So rather than us adapting to the tools, the tools adapted to us. And that flexibility and ownership of brand experience is so important.” It is indeed, and for CPG especially.
3) Eliminate Dead Ends
Shopping online has become a form of entertainment. Shoppers are looking for ways to have fun online, and maybe pick up a thing or two along the way. It’s essential that a CPG website doesn’t allow for a shopper to hit a dead end. A dead end could be a ‘no results’ page reached by a typo, or a product detail page without further product recommendations.
Shoppers will abandon the website if they are faced with a dead end like a zero results page, instead of trying a new search or consider that maybe the product is there, but it just didn’t surface. So don’t lose customers because of a simple typo or because you’re using a search engine that can’t process natural language. Natural language is becoming more important for CPG brands with the growing use of voice to search, especially from mobile devices.
The bottom line – using an eCommerce search engine with NLP processing can boost eCommerce conversion from search by 12%.
4) Merchandise with AI
Seasalt is a heritage British brand that is expanding globally. Recently, during a sale period, the team fully merchandised all products within sale to be in a specific order, based on stock level and other more aesthetic factors. The data showed that customers were not browsing the category that way, and were using filters straight away.
“When it comes to layout of category pages, we need to be customer led. Whilst it’s important that our pages look the best they can and we are able to show the key products in our collections and categories, it’s much more important for us to show the most relevant products and content to our customers. The website’s responsibility is to drive sales through the web and provide a good customer experience. With Klevu, we’ve been able to find that balance between commercial, merchandising and conversion.” – Jana Lindner, Senior Digital Trade Manager, Seasalt
Now, the Seasalt merchandising team knows that they don’t have to merchandise every product on a category page, they do the first few rows, and then let the machine do the rest, which resulted in a 22% increase in average order value in just 2 weeks after launching Klevu.
In addition, Klevu offers an eCommerce personalization engine that creates eCommerce experiences that align with an individual shopper’s motivation.
5) Search-Powered Product Recommendations
Another way to avoid dead ends on your website is to constantly refresh your product recommendations, and include them on multiple page types including homepage, product listing pages including search and categories, product detail pages and in the basket. Product recommendations featuring complementary suggestions or recommendations based on recent browsing history can have a real impact on average order values, at least 7% increase.
Making sure that you can keep them fresh without too much resource overhead is really important, though. It’s impossible to do this at scale manually, but an AI solution like Klevu Smart Recommendations uses insights from search to constantly refresh product recommendations to be inline with shopper intent. When you show the recommendations, make the content rich – include price, sales, reviews, and other attributes that might matter to your customers. Chatters, a beauty retailer showcases not only review stars, but also the number of reviews, as well as badging for ‘eco friendly’ and ‘vegan’.
6) Surface Your Brand Content
Your brand needs to deliver a great site search experience, so that customers can easily discover and find answers about your brand or how to use your products. Monin displays not only product results, but also recipe content within the search overlay to help give shoppers inspiration.
Finnish fashion retailer, Marimekko, provides clear links to delivery and returns information in the search overlay. In fact, shoppers can even use it to search for after-sales content, something that 68% of shoppers do before making a purchase.
So, what’s next?
It’s clear that the impetus for CPG brands to incorporate a DTC component isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, the new digital shoppers obtained during Covid are likely to stay, if you make some of these site improvements.
Klevu has helped retailers power their on-site search, category merchandising, and product recommendations. Typically, the uplift for most eCommerce brands is:
- Conversion from search increases by 6x
- Average order values increase by 6%
- And site-wide eCommerce conversion increases by 15%