Whole Foods recently made a bold and intriguing move by signing a five-year delivery partnership with Instacart, a four-year-old on-demand grocery delivery startup. The deal makes Instacart Whole Foods’ exclusive delivery partner for perishables.
This is really exciting news for both Whole Foods itself and the brands that Whole Foods carries. For these brands, it means delivering products at a faster rate to existing customers as well as leveraging Instacart’s existing customer base to tap into new markets.
This is potentially a great opportunity to increase sales and brand awareness. But it has to be done right. Simply being on Instacart won’t be enough to win the minds and dollars of shoppers. They will need to create and maintain a consistent branded experience via product content.
So, before brands get too excited about the opportunity, here are some questions to consider:
How should brands manage their presence on third-party online grocery platforms like Instacart?
Similar to alcohol brands listed on on-demand services like Drizly, food brands need to take control of their product content strategy, and at a higher level, their overall digital branding strategy on these platforms. That means having a consistent, high-quality, branded experience for consumers looking at their products, no matter where the consumers are.
It also means not relying on the third-party companies to provide rich and necessary product information and digital assets that will help shoppers make more informed decisions at the time of research and purchase.
Specifically for brands on Instacart, this means that instead of handing the power and responsibility for providing this rich product content (product descriptions, nutritional information, romance language, detailed photos, allergy information, etc.) on each of their products on Instacart’s site (whose product pages are gloriously full of content) over to someone else, the brands themselves should provide and curate this information.
Additionally, brands should consider tailoring their product content to Instacart’s shoppers. For example, providing extra information on packaging on certain products as such as resealable cookies will be important to Instacart shoppers since they can’t be in store to see important details such as this one.
Lastly, make sure that the product content you provide on Instacart is consistent with the products that shoppers receive in their reusable Instacart delivery bags (they’re awesome and eco-friendly!). In other words, don’t misrepresent your products online! Ensuring consistency is the surest way to create and maintain trust and loyalty with shoppers.
Finally, what are the do’s and don’ts for Instacart product pages?
- Have multiple product images. In the case of a banana, one picture is enough because we all [hopefully] know what a banana looks like, but for new or unfamiliar products like spicy hummus, shoppers might find it helpful to have more detailed product images, and are more inclined to purchase your products.
- Have rich product content on all product pages. This includes having more than just basic descriptions.
- Be consistent when it comes to populating your product pages with the same type of content (this creates more trust with shoppers!)
- Have enhanced detail view (i.e. better image zoom).
- Have nutrition facts labels.
- Have “related item” suggestions (simulates an in-store experience where grocery shoppers can see rows and rows of the same types of food).
- Include unit price. This is especially for folks who like to do comparison shopping.
- Include a recipe or two if possible. This gives shoppers ideas of what to do with your products and may inspire them to buy products they wouldn’t otherwise buy for lack of use ideas!
- Include product dimensions. This may be important for people who have limited cabinet/pantry space. For example, my friend won’t purchase olive beyond a certain container size because she can’t fit it into her [very] small apartment in Boston.
- Rely on one product image. You need more than just one image on your product pages (which is what most brands are doing on Instacart – what a bad idea!).
- Have minimal zoom capabilities. This is essential for specialty foods that shoppers would normally be able to touch and feel if they were in the store.
- Have poorly called out allergy warnings. Instacart disguises allergy warnings as “Warnings” but that isn’t good practice nor is it particularly helpful for shoppers looking for specific warnings around allergies.
- Have minimal descriptions – not all products have a nice, informative description.
- Skimp on feature bullets (rich product content).
Hopefully this list of dos and don’ts helps you and your eCommerce team prepare for debuting your awesome products on Instacart.
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Josh Mendelsohn is Head of Product Marketing at Salsify