eMarketer interviewed Alex Tosolini Vice President, Global e-Business Procter & Gamble on the lessons they have learnt from their Ecommerce efforts. This is a must read for all FMCG/ CPG brands still working on and thinking through their strategy on Ecommerce. Read more below:
eMarketer: P&G launched the eStore in January 2010 with the goal of gleaning customer insights. Nearly two years later, what have you learned so far?
Alex Tosolini: P&G is very focused on consumers—we say the consumer is boss. And we have a go-to-market strategy that openly declares “win wherever people shop.” That’s important to understand, because as more and more people around the world are shopping in different channels, our role is to be present wherever they are.
A couple of years ago we launched the eStore with two objectives. The first one was to learn about this new space. And the second objective was to generate insight that we could share with all our retail partners so that together we can provide the best possible experience for consumers.
With the eStore, we sell our products through a third party, PFS Web. This isn’t a store we handle directly. PFS does its own pricing and merchandising. So in this case, P&G doesn’t sell direct to consumers. We sell our products to [PFS] just like we would sell them to Target or another retailer. PFS makes the decisions about assortment, promotions and pricing.
eMarketer: What are some insights you’ve acquired through this experience?
“We are learning that more and more people are spending time online to interact with the brands, even if they buy offline.”
Tosolini: We are learning that more and more people are spending time online to interact with the brands, even if they buy offline. Brand-building is becoming a digital exchange, rather than a one-way exchange.
The second thing we are learning is that content is very important to help consumers make a decision. We know that what we call "enhanced content" is very important to establishing an even stronger relationship with consumers. When you go on-shelf, most of your interaction with a brand is through what you remember you saw at home or the packaging you see in front of you.
Online, as you know, you can interact with the brand with two-way, always-on communication. You can upload videos. You can read ratings and reviews from other people and other activities.
eMarketer: How do you get consumer behavior to change so people buy CPG products—toilet paper, deodorant, cosmetics and shampoo—online?
“Our job is to follow the consumer’s behavior and to be present with our brands.”
Tosolini: Our job is not to change consumer behavior. Consumers move based on the development of the market and their habits. I know that we will continue to see important growth. Our job is to follow the consumer’s behavior and to be present with our brands.
eMarketer: How do you see CPG ecommerce evolving over the next five years?
Tosolini: CPG ecommerce is new and that’s why it’s very important to keep learning and testing and experimenting with new things. As long as you follow the consumer behavior, you’re going to learn a lot about how to serve their needs. We want to be where people are, and, increasingly, people are online. Even if people don’t buy online, they still spend time online to make their decision.
Read a longer version here