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    July 3, 2020
    5 minute read

    Why ePacks Offer Enormous Opportunities for Brands | Salsify

    by: Jason Fidler

    The logistical aspects of bundling different SKUs together may initially seem like a non-starter for ecommerce teams, forcing them to ask:

    • How do we get stakeholders from different product brands together and then agree bundling is a worthwhile investment?
    • How do we know what the right product bundles are?
    • Do consumers even want to buy multiple SKUs at the same time?

    But as the trend toward ecommerce continues to accelerate, bundled products, also called ePacks, can represent an incredible opportunity for offering consumers products at a better price point — and at a better margin for brand manufacturers.

    The most recent Digital Shelf Virtual Summit session invited Jeff Jarrett, VP and head of U.S. ecommerce at Mondelēz, and Stacy Thomson, VP of ebusiness at Scrum50, to discuss how together they have been able to introduce ecommerce product bundling across Mondelēz's portfolio of brands, including Oreo, Triscuit, RITZ Crackers, and more. These experts will also share the lessons they learned along the way.

    What Are ePacks?

    Jarrett defines ePacks as ecommerce-specific product packages that fall within the $10 to $20 price point. The price range makes ePacks attractive for both consumers and brands in terms of shipping and packaging costs.

    At Mondelēz, the included items in various ePacks are almost entirely driven by consumer research. Jarrett emphasized this by highlighting that his team tested over 200 different ePack concepts with consumers before launching 20 official ePacks in Q1 2020.

    Perhaps most importantly, inclusions ePacks will differ from traditional product bundles that brands have offered at brick-and-mortar locations. 

    Thomson stressed that the way people search and peruse products online is different from the more tangible experience they receive in a physical location. This difference must be taken into consideration when developing ePacks and the content to support them.

    Why ePacks Are Effective for Brand Manufacturers

    According to Thomson and Jarrett, there are several things that brand manufacturers must keep in mind when developing ePacks. First, the amount of data available to brand manufacturers through ecommerce means that they should always be testing different product bundles and identifying what works on various retailers.

    Because of this influx of data, online package optimization is much quicker than in brick-and-mortar stores. Brand manufacturers should therefore always work towards optimizing product bundles based on what is genuinely resonating with consumers.

    Content Will Make or Break ePack Success

    The content brand manufacturers create to support product bundles can also make or break the success of ePacks. Jarrett stressed that essential product information is critical. Consumers must be able to quickly and easily identify each product package's dimensions and understand how many of the specific items are included.

    Being able to convey this information efficiently allows consumers to develop familiarity with the product bundling — almost as if they were touching it in store.

    ePacks Reinforce Brand Promise

    Beyond that, ePacks open up a world of opportunity to provide further value to consumers and further reinforce the overall brand promise. Thomson highlighted a successful Mondelez ePack that combines products that are often given together to children in their lunch boxes.

    Scrum50 created a Tasty-like video to show consumers how to place the products within a lunchbox efficiently. Consumers could quickly see the value in buying the products together directly through the content hosted on the online product page.

    Brands Must Be Agile to Win on the Digital Shelf

    Ever-changing ePacks require extreme agility and nimbleness to updating product content. Jarrett noted that brand-manufacturing teams need to ensure they are quickly getting new product information and content syndicated to the correct online retail channels “all the time.”

    Jarrett recommended starting with the most popular SKUs and online retailers. By starting with products that already have a good track record of success on the most effective retail channels, brand manufacturing teams can ensure they start on a good foundation as they test and iterate on different product bundles, packaging, and content.

    Focus on the Fundamentals

    The top piece of advice Jarrett has for any brand manufacturer thinking about developing ePacks is to focus on the fundamentals. This process entails three key elements:

    • Ensure rigorous discipline when it comes to analyzing new data from testing new ePacks;
    • Actively monitor how the product content is performing; and
    • Making necessary changes to ensure you are consistently improving the overall process.

    "Sweat the details and focus on the things that drive the business," Jarrett said.

    Watch the full session, “Winning Assortment and Content Strategies in CPG,” to gain expert-based insights on how to implement ePacks into your future strategy.

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