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How To Take Your CPG Company Online With Shopify

CPG companies are rapidly adopting direct-to-consumer models in order to meet the increasing demands of eCommerce and many of them are choosing Shopify to do it. In this article, we’re giving you the low-down of how and why your new online brand can launch on Shopify.

Why This Is Important

A few years ago, CPG companies were finding unique ways to start direct-to-consumer businesses for new and exciting offerings. In 2021, after the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s no longer a matter of just ‘having a great offering’ to join the eCommerce game; it’s a necessity. According to a recent study, 81% of shoppers are looking for a frictionless, cross-device eCommerce experience.

And the growth of the eCommerce space reflects this demand. In light of the 40% eCommerce Growth for CPG brands this year, many of these companies are increasingly adopting direct-to-consumer models. As we discussed in our article on Lessons CPG Companies Can Learn from Digital Natives, choosing the right eCommerce platform for your business is important for fostering a high-converting customer experience.

When it comes to selecting the platform, CPG brands need to bet on the winning horse.

Why Shopify Is The Platform For CPG Brands

So why does our agency (and many others) consider Shopify Plus the winning horse for CPG brands looking to go DTC? Let’s discuss.

In recent years, Shopify has launched DTC storefronts for big corporations such as Nestle, PepsiCo, Unilever, GE, Nescafé, and many more. You can check out one of their more recent launches for Heinz during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time of massive economic shifts, Heinz chose Shopify Plus as the platform suitable to weather the changes and continue to scale with them after their initial launch.

Beyond this example, Shopify’s numbers speak for themselves. There are over 10,000+ brands on Shopify Plus today. These are enterprise merchants, each raking in millions just from their online stores. Not to mention that some of the largest Shopify brands earn 1B+ in annual online revenue.

All in all, there have been 314B+ Total Sales from the total 1.7 Million Shopify Merchants. And, across Shopify there have been 10,978 and counting peak checkouts per minute. It’s safe to say this platform is a powerhouse that will continue to innovate and grow.

How CPG Brands Can Launch On Shopify

We’ve already talked about the blueprint Digital Native Vertical Brands have given CPGs looking to move into the direct-to-consumer space, but how does that translate to actually launching on Shopify Plus? Here are the steps CPG brands should follow as they start their Shopify journey:

1) Define Your eCommerce Roadmap

Like anything, launching your Shopify online store is all about strategy. BVA’s own Strategy department dedicates a thorough discovery process to each of our clients prior to launch in order to build out an eCommerce strategy that sets the merchant up for success.

Here are the key components of building your Shopify eCommerce roadmap:

Identify Goals: As a CPG brand, there can be several different motivations for taking your brand to the next level online. It’s important to ask what the goals are from a holistic strategy perspective. Even though your new online store is a critical part of the journey, there are also a lot of other components that will feed into your success on any omnichannel level.

CPG merchants should ask these questions to guide their KPIs and goals when building out their eCommerce presence. Are you looking to...

  • Increase brand awareness?
  • Acquire more customer data?
  • Test and explore capabilities?
  • Start a subscription program?

Identify Timeline: Most merchants launching on Shopify work on a 90-120 day timeline. As a quick comparison, this is nearly half the time of the average Magento storefront build, which takes an average of four to eight months. When building a new eCommerce store on Shopify, it’s important to allow your business a good buffer ranging anywhere from four to eight weeks for any testing and bug fixes that may need to occur post-launch.

2) Identify Partners & Technology Solutions

Beyond selecting your eCommerce platform, as a merchant you will have to select service and technology partners that will align with your needs and growth journey. Shopify’s partner ecosystem provides a wide range of agencies and solutions that help eCommerce brands achieve their business goals.

Select An Agency Partner: As a CPG brand going online, you’re probably just dipping your toes into the eCommerce waters. Hiring an eCommerce agency to develop and design your Shopify storefront is one way to ensure that your new build project is creating a foundation for scaling your digital business.

According to Shopify, “Because of the sheer size of CPG and FMCG companies, the most successful projects leverage a platform implementation partner. This allows you (the brand) to focus on the overarching ideas and go-to-market plans rather than execution.”

An implementation service provider will be able to help your business navigate the complexities of eCommerce because they’ve done this many times before. Shopify agencies not only know what they’re doing and how to develop your storefront with business goals in mind, but also have access to a wide range of client data and insights in the space.

Find Tech Partner Solutions: During and after building your online Shopify store, your business will have to select technology solutions that allow you to create the digital experience your customers need. Ranging from payments to personalization, the Shopify App Store offers everything a merchant could need while growing their eCommerce business.

The benefit of these solutions is that it offers new-to-eCommerce merchants, like CPGs, the support and tools they’ll need to be successful. Odds are, even if you’re new to the space, you’ve heard of big-name technology companies like Klarna or Yotpo, that provide things like payments plans and loyalty programs through integrations with Shopify stores. These solutions are an essential part of building your online store.

Working with an eCommerce agency to implement these integrations allows you to strategically select the partners and leverage their solutions to their highest potential. BVA works with a wide network of best-in-class Shopify partners that have repeatedly proven they bring results to our clients.

3) Leverage the direct-to-consumer channel to increase customer base and grow CLTV

Once you’ve launched on Shopify, what comes next? If you’re continuously optimizing and innovating your strategy, you’ll start to reap the benefits. Turn your best customers into brand evangelists through loyalty programs, user-generated content, and tiered incentives.

BVA has worked to list all the steps and tools you’ll need (including some of our preferred technology partners) in these comprehensive guides on the topics. Check these out!

Download the guide to Creating An eCommerce Brand People Advocate For.

Download the guide to Creating An Unbeatable Online Store.

Learn More About CPGs in eCommerce

Looking to chat through your eCommerce strategy? BVA’s experienced strategists have helped grow some of the most revolutionary DTC brands on the Shopify Plus platform. Reach out to us here.