Kimberly-Clark solves some mysteries around click-and-collecting

Discussion
Photo: Getty Images/Georgijevic
Jan 31, 2020
Dale Buss

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the bi-monthly e-zine, CPGmatters.

Kimberly-Clark noted that something was getting in the way of selling tampons and Kleenex to click-and-collect shoppers that wasn’t similarly inhibiting companies selling foods and beverages. It decided to investigate.

The brand’s investigation focused on a major retailer’s website, working with a marketing research firm to explore shoppers’ click-and-collect attitudes.

The biggest issue was found to be shoppers misperceiving click-and-collect as being only for foods and beverages. Shoppers on the retailer’s e-commerce site were drawn to click-and-collect by way of photos of food products only, such as a milk carton and an apple. Specials tabs in the section, similarly, only promoted food and beverage products.

Among the psychological barriers, some shoppers were apprehensive using click-and-collect for adult incontinence products and feminine care products. Laura Plaukovich, senior manager of shopper insights for Kimberly-Clark, told CPGmatters, “Obviously these are very sensitive categories where people don’t enjoy shopping at times — and don’t always want to talk about it.”

Part of the concern was the idea of having a teenager — a likely candidate for the curbside-delivery role — deliver such products. Shoppers were also wary of having a conversation about substitutes for such items, should their desired brand be out of stock.

In the end, Ms. Plaukovich said the study showed shoppers’ concerns over having someone pick their order “wasn’t as big a deal as we’d thought.”

The retailer ran a big shopper marketing campaign to drive awareness of the adult incontinence category, helping to deliver a double-digit sales lift. Banner ads on the website highlighted the fact that the products were available via click-and-collect, and the retailer created a specific button for shoppers to add these items to their orders. Usability changes on the e-commerce site, including calling out “feminine care” under the “personal care” designation rather than “‘OTC health and wellness,” also helped.

Kimberly-Clark still sees more opportunities to partner with retailers to support click-and-collect.

“The path to purchase is infinitely more complicated today than it was in the 1950s or 1960s,” Ms. Plaukovich said. “We have been really trying to understand that omnichannel path to purchase and the tradeoffs that shoppers make. Shoppers don’t just shop e-commerce or in the store. And retailers have recognized that it’s not just either-or.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are CPG brands typically as engaged with retailers selling their products online as they are in-store? What adjustments or support should vendors consider to support click-and-collect growth?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"CPG brands should be engaged with retailers selling their products to ensure that the final customer is offered the desired brand experience."
"CPG brands are not as engaged with retailers when it comes to working together to drive online sales."
"So the problem was that shoppers couldn’t find the product to BOPIS? This sounds like a retailer problem more than a brand/vendor problem."

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9 Comments on "Kimberly-Clark solves some mysteries around click-and-collecting"


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Ben Ball
BrainTrust

Retailers quite naturally view online as an extension of their brick-and-mortar offering. They are not “native” digital marketers. The growing realization that shopping is not an either/or proposition is helping retailers understand that they need to address their online marketing effort with the same dedicated diligence of their store efforts. That bodes well for continued blurring of the perceptual “online or physical” shopping divide — and for traditional retailers who have survived this long and get it.

Dr. Stephen Needel
BrainTrust

So the problem was that shoppers couldn’t find the product to BOPIS? This sounds like a retailer problem more than a brand/vendor problem. And I’d still like to see some research that suggests it’s good for the brand to want BOPIS – there’s lots of commentary suggesting that it’s not so good if you have competitive advantages or are an impulse product.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

CPG brands were not involved in online sales until recently so their experience was zero. By contrast, they have been working with retailers to promote the sale of their products for over 100 years. CPG brands should leave B2C to retailers and stop competing with them and bolster areas to support them.

Michael Terpkosh
BrainTrust

CPG brands are not as engaged with retailers when it comes to working together to drive online sales. Manufacturers are happy to provide marketing trade dollars and maybe they have some “internet insights” to share. However these same CPGs have a difficult time partnering with retailers on the inner workings of retailers’ internet presence. There are two barriers to partnering that can drive online sales when overcome. First, CPGs need to provide technical, internet-savvy marketing people who are able to work effectively with retailers. Second, retailers need to be proactive with CPGs, allowing the CPG people to work side-by-side with the retailers to address online sales opportunities.

Bethany Allee
BrainTrust

Most stores with click-and-collect have a coupon function built directly into their application. This is a time for CPG brands to heavily invest in the relatively low-lift promotion of store-specific digital coupons and bundling to gain exposure for their product availability through the medium and capture shifting market share.

Kathleen Fischer
BrainTrust

CPG brands should be engaged with retailers selling their products to ensure that the final customer is offered the desired brand experience. Click-and-collect sales continue to present challenges to retailers, however most consumers are latching on to the benefits and after the general success of click-and-collect this past holiday season, this growth will continue.

Andrew Blatherwick
BrainTrust
It is correct that understanding the purchasing point today is significantly more complex than it used to be, but at the same time it is so exciting as there is so much more opportunity to build a brand and sales through the different channels. Brands are waking up to the fact that they have a bigger part to play in this and can help retailers build click and collect, home delivery and shop in store programs. To hear of this activity by Kimberly Clark is really encouraging. They have seen an opportunity and tried to understand what has been happening with a view toward making changes. Working with retailers to get this right is a big win for the trading partners and customer. Yes they have some particularly sensitive product groups but many other brands should take note of this. Some brands have chosen to go directly to the consumer. Kimberly Clark’s is a significantly more powerful approach to safeguarding their brand. Why fight the retailer when you can embrace them and make it work… Read more »
Keith Anderson
BrainTrust

As traditional grocers and other retailers are getting more serious about digital commerce, they’re selectively turning to leading suppliers for partnership. As with traditional disciplines like category management, there is opportunity for suppliers that bring capabilities, programs, and insight that transcend their own products and create value for shoppers and retailers.

Richard J. George, Ph.D.
BrainTrust

As a former brand manager for a feminine care product, I can attest that concerns about using BOPIS are real. I applaud KC for taking an active approach and working in concert with its retailers to address these and other customer issues. Omnichannel is about customers, not channels.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"CPG brands should be engaged with retailers selling their products to ensure that the final customer is offered the desired brand experience."
"CPG brands are not as engaged with retailers when it comes to working together to drive online sales."
"So the problem was that shoppers couldn’t find the product to BOPIS? This sounds like a retailer problem more than a brand/vendor problem."

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