Consumer packaged goods companies are learning some new tricks, eMarketer found. In 2005, pet food became a viable online purchase for 8% of online consumers, putting it in league with other CPG categories such as cosmetics, over-the-counter medications and groceries, according to a recent report from WSL Strategic Retail. But CPG brand sites aren't set up to compete head-on with their online retail partners. Instead, visitors to Nestle's Purina Web site can put Rover's picture on the cover of a 2006 pet calendar, figure out how old he is in dog years, subscribe to podcasts on pet care and download ringtones of barking dogs, meowing cats, or even the Purina theme song to their mobile phones. Those activities keep visitors interacting with the brand for a few minutes and give them some takeaways to remind them of Purina, particularly on mobile devices they carry into the store. If exposure to online ads lifts consumer brand awareness, the thinking goes, online engagement should provide the ultimate goal, a lift in product sales.
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