FMCG brands are increasingly looking to develop direct selling channels to build engagement with their consumers. Kimberly-Clark has announced its move to sell direct to consumers online and is one of the many FMCG brands now looking to an e-commerce platform, joining GSK, P&G, Kellogg’s and Diageo.
Kleenex will be the first UK Kimberly-Clark brand to sell direct to consumers online, with the company suggesting that other brands in its portfolio could move to e-commerce if their six month trial proves successful.
Adam Percival, Senior Manager of E-Commerce, has stated that the company is seeing significant growth in online through its retail partners and want to implement an online channel to gain insights and a better understanding of what influences their consumers directly.
News of Kimberly-Clark’s move online comes at the same time that GSK is planning to relaunch its ecommerce platform for its healthcare brands. Maximuscle, a brand it acquired in 2010, has been selling direct to consumers for more than seven years and direct sales now account for a third of its revenues. The initial GSK Direct Platform was the first direct to consumer service set up by an FMCG brand owner in the UK.
According to grocery analysts IGD, online grocery shopping accounted for £5.6bn in the UK in 2012 and is forecast to almost double its current value to £11.1bn by 2017. This strong growth represents a significant opportunity for brands looking to sell direct and benefit from the fastest growing channel in grocery.
Research published by IGD at the end of last year suggested that 44% of consumers questioned expected to use the Internet to buy their groceries in the next five to ten years, whilst 58% of shoppers revealed that technology helps them save time and money when doing their shopping.
Joanne Denney-Finch, Chief Executive of IGD, said: “Although online grocery is still in its infancy it is evolving at a blistering pace. Food companies need to view their websites as digital assets that not only sell groceries, but also add to the shopping experience through initiatives such as product reviews and ratings.”
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