For decades, brands have fought to communicate a strong proposition where it has mattered most; the shelf. However, the rise of ecommerce is beginning to have an impact on the physical shelf’s monopoly in the FMCG space.

Having already gained significant market share, Amazon Fresh is becoming a go-to platform for emerging FMCG brands. Ugly drinks, the start-up taking on Coca-Cola with sugar free sparkling fruit water are a key example of this. This brand have begun to use the platform as a key distribution method across the US, offering subscription ordering. This model is not only appealing to the end consumer, but business customers who would like to purchase the drink such as restaurants, cafes and offices. More so, this approach allows Ugly to disrupt regular Coke consumption by encouraging regular consumption through its subscription service.

From a design perspective, platforms like Amazon require brands to have a rethink of their traditional visual brand equity. Unilever have spent months investigating the optimal presentation of product images for sales. The rationale is that in this new world of shopping, pack shots fail to communicate critical information to shoppers, and have moved to include digital representations of the actual product inside.

It is clear that design will have to be tailored to the medium, but what about the strategy? If e-commerce continues to become key to FMCG sales, how will a brand’s strategy and communications have to change? Take a category focused on indulgence and spur off the moment decisions such as snacking. How can snack brands still take advantage of messaging on indulgence digital shelf space when there is a delivery time?

If e-commerce becomes more and more of a prevalent channel in food shopping, some brands will require a fundamental rethink of how they appeal in this new context.

BY ENGINEER Oliver Ronaldson

oliver.ronaldson@thevalueengineers.com