Cyber Monday—Online Retail Evolution Brings New Opportunities for Consumer Packaged Goods

26 Nov 2012
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Susan Arnold

Today is Cyber Monday—the biggest day in online shopping all year. Sales are projected to reach $2 billion for the retail sector.

Last night, emails were filling my inbox with deals, free shipping offers and savings galore—I couldn’t resist. I made a few gift purchases and felt delighted in my deals and efficient with my time. However, as brand director of shopper marketing, it’s clear that there is a major opportunity for online retailers to better the consumer’s shopping experience—inform, educate and build a relationship with the consumer.

For those of us who work in the design of Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), we understand the value and priority of communication on all panels—front, back and supporting sides. But, when you hit cyberspace, that value of communication—that critical information that helps you make your purchasing decision—is left on the shelf.

It’s surprising that websites like or will often display only one panel of the package. The infrastructure of these sites provides for uploading multiple images that are viewed initially as thumbnails and then enlarged.

According to Walmart, which offered two-day online-only Black Friday specials, traffic through its mobile apps tripled and those sales accounted for 45 percent of all traffic on Thanksgiving.

With the effort and expense many CPG companies make in order to design all sides of their packaging, it is surprising that more companies don’t take full advantage of showcasing them to interact with their prospective customer online.

Our shopper marketing team has developed a shopper insights model that is a foundational tool used to glean consumer insights as they shop. When using this unique approach, we are able to better understand the shopper’s mindset when viewing the package from multiple perspectives. Moreover, this model provides us with feedback on how to not only optimize package design, but also how to deliver an extraordinary overall brand experience for the consumer going forward—including taking the brand online.

This holiday season, it’s being predicted that 21% of total online sales will be made from mobile devices—more than double from last year.

In addition to displaying other content that was developed for the complete package on the website, there is a tremendous opportunity to display custom-created content using the online medium. The package dimensions always dictate the amount of content that can live on a package. However, the supplemental information that can be uploaded to run as part of the online display of the product offers a fantastic opportunity to generate custom content (additional information and graphics) to present to the consumer when he/she is primed to purchase. Given the rapid growth in online sales vs. brick-and-mortar stores, this type of approach will be more critical to connecting with the consumer/shopper moving forward.

Events like today—Cyber Monday—will continue to serve as a testing ground for leveraging the online shopping platform in new and unique ways. I anticipate that the digital shopping trend will begin to significantly affect how consumers also shop for their daily products like laundry detergent, toothpaste and other personal care items.

Today’s brands need to apply forward-thinking shopper marketing strategies to stay relevant: add value to CPG products, companies and retailers to help drive sales.

Share your online shopping experience or ideas. Or, email me to learn more about shopper marketing at