by James Churchill, Head of Global Merchants Services, PayU GPO
Staying ahead of the curve is key to merchants’ success in the competitive and highly dynamic FMCG industry. As technology advances in today’s digital age, boosting digital engagement has become crucial for merchants. In an age when many consumers prefer online interactions and purchases, FMCG businesses must use digital platforms to engage and connect with consumers. Indeed, several large FMCG companies have embraced digital engagement strategies to improve their business outcomes. For example, Coca-Cola spent $925 million in 2022 on strengthening its digital culture through regularly running engaging digital marketing campaigns to maintain brand relevance. FMCGs can enhance their businesses by leveraging digital engagement to increase their reach, visibility, brand loyalty and sales through innovative social media campaigns, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and offering region-specific payment methods.
The power of social media
Improving digital engagement allows FMCG businesses to connect with a wider audience. Merchants can reach more potential customers by using social media channels including Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. There are over one billion monthly users of Instagram globally, showing that social media has an unparalleled potential for reach thanks to the huge number of users across different platforms. These platforms give FMCG companies a direct channel of communication with customers.
FMCGs can segment their audience based on demographic, location, interests, and purchasing history using the extensive targeting capabilities of social media platforms. This allows them to customise their advertising content to the preferences of specific users, ensuring more relevance to those users and therefore better engagement. FMCG merchants can also use influencer marketing to engage with new audiences, ultimately driving growth and sales.
Additionally, social media facilitates real-time communication so that brands can respond quickly to customer inquiries and concerns, thereby fostering trust and loyalty. Social media can help FMCG merchants not only drive sales, but also establish a strong and influential online presence that propels their business forward.
The need for search engine optimisation (SEO)
Businesses typically see an average 2.8% increase in revenue from implementing SEO. Establishing effective SEO strategies ensure that an FMCG merchant’s website ranks higher in search engine results, enhancing their brand visibility and online presence. Merchants can optimise content with keywords to attract organic traffic and improve their search engine rankings, making it easier for potential customers to discover their products through online search results.
Using SEO to build backlinks from reputable websites further bolsters the credibility of the FMCG brand in the eyes of search engines, which leads to higher rankings. It is important for merchants to remember that SEO constantly evolves to keep up with the changing digital landscape. Keeping in touch with the latest trends and algorithm updates will ensure that merchants continue to succeed in the long-term.
Diverse payment options to boost customer engagement
Rising globalisation and the aftermath of the pandemic has transformed consumer behaviour. Research shows that real-time payments PIX in Brazil have grown immensely in 2022, with an average of sixty-six million transactions per day. This is indicative of the country’s increased inclination towards real-time payment methods. To keep up with this trend, FMCGs must not only consider accepting real-time payments in Brazil but apply this thinking to other markets, where different payment methods are gaining traction. In some markets, that will be mobile wallets, and in others, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL). By incorporating regional payment options, businesses can lower cart abandonment and increase conversion rates, ultimately increasing sales.
Mobile payment options in particular enhance the user experience by increasing convenience. The current number of mobile phone users globally is 7.33 billion so it is imperative merchants capitalise on the opportunity for mobile payments. FMCG merchants should consider developing a mobile app and incorporating in-app mobile payment solutions. As an example, 14% of US consumers prefer to use Apple Pay as their payment method. If this option is not offered, these customers might choose to purchase from a competitor that does accept Apple Pay.
One-click payments can also be used to streamline the checkout process. By securely storing customer payment information on their mobile devices, mobile payments become swift and hassle-free, significantly enhancing convenience and efficiency.
As with all payment methods, due diligence with regards to security is required. In an era of rising cyber fraud, FMCGs must partner with a reputable and secure payment gateway to ensure that the gateway is held to the highest security standards. This will assure customers that their financial data is protected, reducing concerns about online security and increasing overall satisfaction.
The FMCG industry must recognise the significance of digital engagement and its potential to drive growth in the face of ongoing challenges. By capitalising on social media, SEO, and diverse payment methods, FMCG businesses can position themselves for sustained success in this challenging business environment. Remaining agile and continuously adapting in the digital age is not just an option, but a necessity to thrive in a competitive world.