Amazon Proves that More Content Sells More Groceries

Randy Hofbauer
Digital and Technology Editor
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Amazon now owns one-fifth of the online grocery market. Let that sink in a bit.

The Seattle-based ecommerce giant reportedly earned 18 percent of U.S. online grocery sales – valued at $2 billion – in 2017, representing growth of 59 percent, according to January research from ecommerce solutions firm One Click Retail.

And today, Amazon hosts nearly half a million product pages in its Grocery & Gourmet Foods category. Obviously, many products perform worse than others – but new research from Salsify, a Boston-based provider of ecommerce content management solutions, shows that top performers share a commonality: robust content containing longer product descriptions and more images, videos and bullet points.

I've written in the past about how content is king in ecommerce, especially when connected to commerce itself. But digging further finds an interesting pattern: Titles with benefit-laden language, imagery and/or written copy with prominent dietary information and below-the-fold content that highlights positive brand attributes in detail are prevalent on the brand pages that stand out on Amazon.

So, consumers prefer products with richer content on Amazon, whether or not they end up purchasing the product on Amazon. The advantage to grocers is clear: If you have an ecommerce program, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be working with your CPG partners to develop quality content across as many products online as possible to grow their sales potential.

But not every high-performing product uses the same content – it varies from segment to segment based on price-point range. For instance:

  • Under products less than $10 – listed as “impulse purchases and staples” – M&M’s gives consumers new reasons to consider its classic peanut variety’s two-pound party pack by incorporating use cases into marketing copy and using detailed imagery. Photos include in-image nutrition facts and ingredient callouts; the product description is heavy on use-case and marketing language; and below-the-fold content entertainingly visualizes use cases.
  • Under products between $10 and $19.99 – listed as volume packaging – BAI Brands high-performing product pages entice new customers to purchase higher-volume packages through themed variety packs. To be increasingly findable and drive conversions on the product page, the brand doubles down on unique, benefit-laden language and multimedia assets: The product title includes flavors included and a unique “antioxidant-infused” selling point; a narrated video animates the story of Bai Brands’ products; and images showcase suggested uses and nutritional information.
  • Under products between $20 and $29.99 – listed as “high-end volume packaging” – Sun Chips’ product page puts high-quality, vivid images front and center to convey quality and grab attention. It also incorporates a variety of health-oriented terminology across its page, giving consumers easy-to-understand reasons to buy the product over traditional potato chips: Exact counts of each chip variety are called out in-photo and through bullets; health-conscious terminology is pervasive; and full, clear in-image nutrition information is provided.
  • Under products between $30 and $39.99 – listed as “bulk products and long-term stock-ups” –McCormick drives bulk purchases of its vanilla extract through subscription discounts and by heavily marketing around product and ingredient quality. Looking to build trust with target consumers, McCormick focuses on its sourcing practices and purity standards with images, video and text copy: Vanilla sourcing and quality is highlighted with video assets; the product description includes “pure vanilla” and “premium vanilla” to address the target audience; and the brand makes use of Amazon’s “Subscribe and Save” option.

Working with manufacturers to better inform and empower the customer depending on the nature of the product and type of purchase, grocers clearly have a strong opportunity to hold their own as Amazon continues its move to take more market share online.

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