The hyper-acceleration of ecommerce seen during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic has in large part been reversed in grocery, but online sales remain up on 2019 levels. In the UK, ONS figures show online taking an 8.9% share of food retail sales in August 2022, up from 8.0% in the same month in 2019 (though admittedly far below the 12% share of August 2020).

For FMCG or CPG brands, ecommerce still offers a huge opportunity, however, as consumers use a diverse number of digital touchpoints to find and research products, whatever the sales channel turns out to be. This circuitous consumer behaviour presents a challenge, too.

Unlike in physical stores, where packaging, promotions and brand/product recall are all important, consumers shopping online may be using generic terms to search a digital shelf made up of endless aisles. This makes it harder for FMCG brands to stand out, when unknown competitors can steal a march through promoted listings and product content and reviews can come to the fore.

In this article, we will discuss what the digital shelf means for FMCG, how brands can optimise their online presence for maximum impact, and how the digital shelf is evolving with the rise of retail media.

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