Mike Nickituk

Coca-Cola’s new initiative to make its online shopping pages more attractive and content heavy is a smart move that shows the importance of this somewhat under-appreciated area in driving sales.

It’s becoming increasingly critical for fmcg brands to do better at bringing their products to life on shopping websites to meet growing demands from consumers about product information.

In Coke’s case, instead of just having a box to ‘click for purchase’, products will now have pages that tell brand stories and functional benefits. This makes sense: 49% of grocery shoppers use online sources when making their purchase decisions [Nielsen]. Online research becomes even more prevalent among high-engagement products: for example, 67% of shoppers who bought nappies in-store did online research and comparisons [MySupermarket].

I’d estimate the typical number of online assets per product - photos, videos or reviews - that comes into our database across the UK’s leading brands is 75% higher than a few years ago. We’ve seen that using multiple images on product pages can lead to a 40% rise in sales.

For retailers and brands, online product pages offer a huge cross-marketing opportunity. When shoppers view an online product page, you can recommend a good wine to go with the fish they’re buying or suggest a few recipes. A branded video probably wouldn’t hurt your conversion rate. Research shows that viewers are at least 64% more likely to buy after watching a product video [Kissmetrics]. Indeed, GSK will be including videos on MySupermarket pages for 13 different Sensodyne products, alongside extra high-resolution images and more detailed copy.

As part of this richer content, it’s a good idea to host customer reviews on your product pages, which lets other shoppers do most of your talking for you. And it’s worth noting that 32% of people browsing products online say better quality images alone would improve the experience.

Consumers are demanding a richer experience when it comes to products online and that extra nugget of information can make a real difference.

Mike Nickituk is global MD at Nielsen Brandbank