What does the state of cross-device commerce mean for FMCG?

Stuart Elmes

The digital journey to purchase has become a long and winding road.



And it is becoming even more so with every passing year.

According to a Criteo’s recent “State of Cross-Device Commerce” report, which analysed data from 3,300 online retail businesses worldwide, more than 30% of online purchases now involve more than one device.

And that figure is likely to grow significantly in the years to come.

For brands in retail sectors like luxury and speciality goods, this poses little problem. Consumers who have made a decision to purchase a brand’s product are highly likely to follow through on their decision, and the odds that sales will fall out of the funnel at this stage are low.

The slick digital advertising design/placement and seamless journeys to purchase now common in most online retail sectors go a long way to helping the process along. As a result, luxury and speciality brands have largely claimed their place at the digital marketing table.

The outcomes for brands that have done this well have been nothing short of spectacular.

Meanwhile, in the FMCG sector…


 Even as the eCommerce boom kicks into high gear, brands operating in the FMCG sector have yet to capitalise to a meaningful extent. Hobbled by sloppy journeys to purchase and ungainly interfaces with retailers, FMCG brands have as yet failed to provide the practical, user-friendly impression-purchase process to bring FMCG and grocery into the digital age.

While solutions are indeed available, many have not been widely adopted. This has left the cavernous market gap in the online FMCG sector unfilled to this day. Both brands and retailers have let an amazing opportunity slip away, and no-one has stepped up with a tenable solution.

Which is unfortunate, since the Amazon/Whole foods partnership appears poised to do just that. If the internet’s retail megabrands rise to the challenge of bringing online FMCG retail and marketing to the masses, FMCG brands could well find themselves left behind to pick up the crumbs.

So, what now?


 As new digital interfaces like AI assistants combine with device technologies and IoT to shift the digital retail paradigm once again, FMCG brands and retailers have been offered a second chance to get ahead of the curve and make the most of digital marketing channels.
But they have to sort out a few things first:

Seamless journeys to purchase

Consumer expectations have changed. When consumers see something they want, they want it now. Brands which allow consumers to get what they want as easily and conveniently as possible will claim a place in the new digital reality.

Effective partnerships with retailers

In the FMCG sector, retailers are indispensable. They are the bridge between the customer and the product. Brands need to understand this and develop effective partnerships with FMCG retailers sooner, rather than later. Such partnerships should be a key driving force in the digital marketing strategies of brands moving forward

Smooth interfaces with emerging technologies

The way consumers interact with advertising is changing, the way they shop online is changing, and the interfaces between consumers and the internet are changing. These changes are happening rapidly and show no signs of slowing down. Shoppable digital marketing which works with emerging tech trends like AI assistants and IOT elements to provide a convenient and seamless customer experience are where FMCG brands will find their place in the digital realm.

With these things in place, FMCG brands will finally be in the position to make the most of digital channels.

The big question is: will those FMCG brands make their move before it’s too late, or will they remain in the passenger seat and retailers claim the lion’s share of the digital FMCG marketplace?

Or, maybe the world’s FMCG brands will be content with crumbs…