CPG Ecommerce Sales Strategy—A 3-Point Plan To Make Consumer Packaged Goods Stand Out Online

Consumer Packaged Goods are among the most popular ecommerce categories—leverage these merchandising tips to stay ahead of the pack.

By Tom Wintaugh | June 21, 2023 | 3 minute read
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The CPG industry is a highly competitive sector for a variety of reasons. As many consumer packaged goods are widely available in brick and mortar stores as well as online, it can be challenging for sellers to practice excellent product merchandising and develop lasting customer loyalty. This issue is compounded by market saturation, with a large number of sellers entering the category in order to tap into the enormous global revenue these products generate—approximately 20 billion dollars worldwide. Independent brands must also compete with large established manufacturers who have launched a DTC channel.

All of these factors combine to make it crucial for online CPG companies to differentiate themselves from competitors through effective ecommerce merchandising and site personalization. Wholesale buyers and retail consumers alike must be given strong reasons to make a purchase with a specific seller. Merchants can make this case by using the total ecommerce shopping experience to highlight unique value props, display products in innovative ways, and offer personalized service for everything from promotional content to payments. Read on for a full breakdown of a CPG sales strategy to create more revenue and be a sales leader in this lucrative space.

Popular CPG Categories

The consumer packaged goods market is comprised of several sub-categories, each of which can be a massive product segment unto itself. In recent years, all of these categories have built a strong presence in online sales. The top CPG companies are dominated by Food and Beverage businesses, closely followed by Home Goods, which includes everyday staples like dish soap and trash bags. Due to their broad retail demand and constant need for B2B supply, many consumer goods lend themselves well to being incorporated into the product lines of existing businesses. Manufacturers of an individual product or product category also can have great success selling DTC—learn more about what makes DTC businesses successful here. For these reasons, CPG products are worth consideration for a wide range of online businesses. Popular CPG categories include:

  • Food and Beverage
  • Home Goods
  • Health and Beauty
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Organic Products
  • Plant-Based Products
  • Private-label or personalized items

Sourcing is an important issue in CPG ecommerce, with a blend of sellers who offer CPG products which they produce themselves, or which they procure from another business. We've prepared a detailed whitepaper for growing DTC sales in the CPG space here.

What B2B and B2C CPG Buyers Need

Because the overall category is very broad and encompasses many sub-categories of products, CPG buyers' needs can be quite varied. Retail consumers of health and beauty products like vitamins will have different buying needs than those who shop for gourmet foods. All of these consumers might be most motivated by convenience, price, or social/emotional needs connected to lifestyle. Similarly, the range of B2B CPG buying might include everything from restaurant supply to hair salons, with each industry operating under its own specific requirements and buying habits. B2B buyers typically have more rigorous practical shopping needs, such as requiring price quotes, bulk pricing, and fast repeat-ordering tools. We wrote more about advanced B2B tools like price quoting here.

While it is valuable to understand the difference between emotion-driven retail buying and efficiency-first B2B purchasing (a topic we have written about in depth here), the diversity of the CPG ecommerce category makes a perfect case for increasing personalization in the shopping experience. By orienting an ecommerce website as much as possible to the unique needs of a business, industry, account, and individual customer, merchants can ensure that a very diverse shopping audience gets all of its needs met in a way which creates a lasting and lucrative relationship.

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A 3-Point Online CPG Sales Strategy

A thoughtful CPG sales strategy should be based on a trinity of techniques which cover the what, where, who, and how of selling. In order to compete against products which are readily available from a variety of sellers, your product content has to “pop,” and the shopping experience must feel like extremely relevant concierge service which meets the needs of every customer.

1. Product merchandising is king.

The product’s the thing. CPG ecommerce strategies rely upon outstanding product presentation in order to capture business from competitors, who may have similar or even identical offerings. We explain the fundamentals of excellent ecommerce merchandising here. The more dazzling, dynamic, and relevant product merchandising is, the more reasons buyers will have to make a purchase on one site vs another. Creative and thoughtful ecommerce merchandising is absolutely crucial for selling consumer packaged goods online. These are some of the ways that ecommerce sellers can upgrade the way products are merchandised:

  • Packaging and branding (including customized packaging of products and shipping boxes)
  • Product photography
  • Dynamic conversion-optimized ecommerce product pages
  • Thorough product content and specs
  • Ecommerce product visualizers
  • Configurable products
  • Custom bundles
  • Product reviews
  • Integrated social media content
  • Relevant use of product suggestions and upsells

2. Ecommerce website personalization maximizes relevance.

Personalizing the ecommerce experience is an excellent way for CPG sellers to stand out from a sea of competition. The more personal the online shopping experience is, the more relevant it is to shoppers, leading to more completed sales and customer loyalty the next time they need to replenish goods. Here are some of the key ways that merchants can hone their websites to feel personalized for different buyers or groups:

  • Unique promotional content for different audiences
  • Customer account preferences
  • Specialized order forms and buying processes
  • Account-based pricing and discounting
  • Conversion optimization
  • Credit card wallets
  • Saved customer preferences
  • Capture of relevant customer/order data via CRM and ERP integrations

3. Sell to multiple channels to capture more business.

CPG brands need to make their products available across a variety of sales channels to win the “digital shelf.” This entails making it as easy as possible for wholesale and retail CPG shoppers to find the products they are looking for, in a variety of venues/shopping modes. Then, they to be greeted with shopping experiences which are fine tuned to their channel of choice. Modern ecommerce merchants do not need to decide between B2B and B2C sales–many successful online businesses sell to both from the same website, with uniquely tailored experiences for each type of customer. Here are some of the tools of channel-specific selling:

  • Distinct wholesale or retail portals
  • Tailored messaging
  • Bulk pricing, negotiated rates, and quick order forms
  • Integration with leading payment and shipping providers
  • Dedicated customer service by audience
  • Personalized shopper support
  • Integration with POS systems
  • Amazon/Marketplace integration
  • BOPIS and other hybrid online/brick & mortar shopping techniques
  • DTC sales and manufacturer-brands

The CPG Ecommerce Landscape Offers A Wealth Of Opportunities For Brands

CPG ecommerce is full of potential for brands—if they can effectively merchandise products and adapt to the needs of different buying groups. By utilizing modern ecommerce techniques for creating dynamic, relevant, conversion-optimized sales presentations, brands can drive more revenue and generate loyalty for everyday products which customers come back to buy again and again. Leveraging this approach will set brands apart in a crowded market, and be the foundation of sustainable growth and success in the essential—and booming—CPG industry.

15 Conversion Optimization Techniques for Selling More Online

About The Author

Katy Ellquist

Katy Ellquist, Miva’s Digital Marketing Strategist, is an accomplished writer, marketer, and social media analyst who has created sophisticated content campaigns for a broad range of professional clients. She brings to Miva a complex understanding of ecommerce trends and techniques, building upon extensive digital agency experience and a prior role as direct liaison to Miva’s top accounts. Katy is a regular contributor to the Miva blog, covering essential ecommerce topics like design & development strategy, site optimization, and omnichannel selling, with the goal of increasing the actionable knowledgebase of the entire Miva community.

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Author's Bio

Tom Wintaugh

Tom is a Content Marketing Specialist at Miva.

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