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The Consumer Goods Sector Goes Digital: the Journey to eCategory Management
 

Today’s consumer goods players have reached an eCommerce tipping point and the best-performing companies are already ahead of the curve, leveraging newfound digital capabilities to enhance brand strength and presence, gauge consumer sentiment, and coordinate promotion plans across all channels.

Having previously lagged behind other sectors with rocketing online sales, consumer goods companies now appear to have reached an eCommerce tipping point.

That’s the finding of research conducted by Periscope by McKinsey at the Consumer Goods Sales & Marketing Summit 2017.

Survey participants included senior sales, marketing, and IT leaders from consumer goods companies attending the event, which this year was dedicated to evaluating the digital engagement challenges and opportunities that consumer goods organizations face as they compete for consumer attention, patronage, and loyalty.

The survey, which set out to investigate to what extent the consumer goods sector is leveraging newfound digital capabilities in pursuit of an integrated omnichannel game plan, found that:

  • Building eCommerce capabilities is a strategic priority for almost all the respondents (91%).  And 57% are investing in eCategory management to support fast-paced growth in online market share.
  • Almost one-quarter (22%) of the consumer goods companies surveyed have already implemented next-generation eCategory management initiatives in a bid to strengthen relationships with key channel partners, gain a deeper understanding of online consumer behaviors, and pursue enhanced omnichannel price and promotion optimization strategies.
  • But for the overwhelming majority (75%), the journey to eCategory management is only just beginning.

Key Findings: eCommerce Represents a Vibrant Opportunity

Building eCommerce capabilities are a top priority

Digital commerce is now viewed as a growth engine by the majority of consumer goods companies surveyed, who identified digital engagement as a strategic investment objective. Indeed, an impressive 91% of respondents said building eCommerce capabilities was a top strategic objective for their business. Asked to rank how important it was to acquire these capabilities, 91% viewed it as being a high priority for their company. Despite the fact that an overwhelming number of survey participants appear committed to the rapid adoption of eCommerce capabilities, 9% of companies don’t see eCommerce initiatives as being the way to go.

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What's driving these eCommerce ambitions?

Asked to evaluate the reasons for building or improving their eCommerce capabilities, consumer goods companies were clear on what’s driving their investment decisions.

Keeping up with evolving consumer and shopper needs and expectations was the #1 reason for 81% of respondents, indicating how consumer goods companies are becoming increasingly customer-centric. Indeed, building a channel for direct customer interaction was the second most important aspiration for almost half (45%) of the organizations surveyed, while the ability to leverage digital to raise brand awareness or control brand representation online was a further top priority for 42% of respondents.

Other factors driving the desire to improve eCommerce capabilities included keeping up with competitors (36%), collecting online shopper insights (30%), boosting sales through established eTailers and omnichannel players (27%), and boosting direct-to-consumer revenues (21%).

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