McCormick & Company Spices Up eCommerce with a Fast-Track Market Strategy
One might expect Amazon’s Grocery Vendor of the Year to be a manufacturer of highly consumable items, like P&G. But the actual recent winner was unexpected: established herbs and spices brand McCormick & Company. The company’s fast-track ecommerce strategy launched just five years ago, and within the last two years has really hit its stride with a combination of sales and marketing strategies.
Janie Lyons, eCommerce Account Manager with Compass Marketing, Inc., describes McCormick’s approach:
“Many companies struggle with eCommerce, questioning whether the approach should be weighted more towards sales or marketing. The answer is both. McCormick has evolved a joint effort between sales and marketing to engage Amazon and the target Amazon consumer.”
Our sources shared that the Amazon consumer is usually fairly informed and opinionated about products. In the grocery category specifically, they skew towards high-quality products and have a higher than average household income. They are looking for products that go beyond everyday needs, and some are trying to find ingredients not available in their local retail environments.
This consumer segment is a good fit for McCormick’s brands, which consist of higher-quality herbs and spices and other premium products. Virginia Jordan, Vice President of Marketing, at McCormick & Company elaborates:
“We have a well-developed digital marketing program. For the McCormick Gourmet brand, we focus primarily on digital, which allows the brand to be hyper-targeted. eCommerce and digital marketing go hand-in-hand.”
There’s a natural affinity between premium brands and online distribution because eCommerce makes specialization more possible. With over 1,500 offerings, McCormick can’t stock every SKU in a retail store. But online retailing makes it easier to offer an expanded product line- items that are in the “long tail” of demand.
To develop their relationship with Amazon, McCormick worked with the company to grow adoption of AmazonFresh, a same-day delivery service. It was possible to quickly populate the AmazonFresh app with easy, appealing recipes using McCormick’s recipe library and flavor knowledge.
Tips for Enhancing Your eCommerce Market Strategy
With Amazon overtaking Wal-Mart as the world’s biggest retailer, eCommerce is an increasingly important channel for many consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands. The channel is important for brand building and complements digital marketing, in addition to selling product. Yet many CPG brands have only a half-hearted online retail presence, and even the most savvy could learn from McCormick’s eCommerce strategy. Lyons offers key advice for brands seeking more success with eCommerce:
“Emphasize sales and marketing equally. The departments must work closely together to ensure the right content appears on the eCommerce retailer, such as Amazon. Your brand and products’ pages on Amazon need to evolve with your brand equity. Don’t just ‘set it and forget it.’ You need the right images, videos and detail messaging. In the U.S., 45% of consumers are researching products on Amazon- more than Google, Bing, etc. combined. Help them find the content your brand wants to share.”
McCormick’s approach to eCommerce and success in partnering with Amazon provide a good example for other brands to emulate in this large and growing channel. How can your brand take this advice and improve your eCommerce strategy?