10 ways private brands can improve e-commerce

Doug Baker of FMI and Kathy Kimple of FitForCommerce detailed 10 areas where retailers can boost private label presence online at the recent Store Brands Industry Forum on Nonfoods.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
Zachary Russell profile picture
Doug Baker, FMI

To kick off the Jan. 19 Store Brands Industry Forum on Nonfood Innovation, Doug Baker, vice president of industry relations at FMI and Kathy Kimple, chief retail officer at FitForCommerce discussed how retailers can better drive private label sales using e-commerce.

The event, hosted by former Store Brands executive editor Dan Ochwat, featured speakers from across the private brand space to discuss nonfood innovation in categories such as pet, sanitization, home goods and wellness.

The full forum can be viewed on-demand here.

“E-commerce is obviously a big topic these days as a result of the pandemic,” said Baker. “It’s really no surprise that private brand owners view e-commerce as a huge opportunity in food retail, and some are pursuing strategies to improve their online shopping efforts. 61% of the respondents to FMI’s 2021 Private Brands Industry Survey basically said it is a major opportunity for each one of them. 41% of consumers surveyed said that private label or store brands are very important to the selection of their primary grocery store, and that only went up when they became online shoppers."

Kathy Kimple
Kathy Kimple, FitForCommerce

The two detailed 10 key data points from the FMI survey that retailers can use to improve their online presence and drive sales.

  • Homepage: Only 20% of retailers promote private brands on their homepage.
  • Site search: 88% of retailers allow shoppers to refine their search by brand name.
  • Navigation menu: 40% include private brands in main navigation or category dropdown.
  • Product & category listing pages: Private brand products are generally listed high on category listing pages, although not as high as on search results pages.
  • Banner ads, badges & stickers: Only about half of food retailers include banner ads on product listing pages and search pages.
  • Product detail pages: Only 44% of product detail pages include multiple product images on the private brand product detail page.
  • Content/blogs: Food retailers are good at content but don’t take full advantage of the opportunity. 60% of retailers surveyed have blogs on their website, and of that only 20% highlight private brands in them.
  • Recipes: 88% have recipe sections on their site.
  • New product sections: Over 50% have new product sections but just 36% promote private brand products.
  • Digital circulars: Only 20% include a special section featuring private brand products; less than 50% promote private brand coupons.

“The opportunity lies in continuing to make it easier [to shop,]” said Kimble. “To re-order, build my list, to make it easier to go into the store with my list in a way that I can move through as if I was a picker in a warehouse. I think that is where there still remains opportunity. I’m amazed at how the industry has found ways to ‘get it to me’ faster. We went from delivery next-day to delivery same-day to delivery in two hours.”

“Convenience and content is king,” added Baker.