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11 March 2022
WARC benchmarks success of CPG brands on Instacart
E-commerce & mobile retailFood industry (general)Online retail
Brand category leaders on Instacart, the online grocery delivery and pick-up service, are Tide (household), Coffee Mate (non-alcoholic drinks), Similac (baby products), Oral-B (beauty and personal care) and Philadelphia (Food), according to a new WARC study.
How to win on Instacart
In the first of a new series of digital commerce benchmarking studies – subsequent reports will cover Amazon, Walmart, Target and Kroger – WARC sets out ‘How to win on Instacart’, the leading online grocery platform in the US.
These reports combine the marketing expertise of WARC with the specialist e-commerce knowledge of sister company Edge by Ascential, to provide marketers and agencies with the analysis and insights needed to build marketing strategies for the major digital platforms. At the core is the WARC dComm IndexTM, a proprietary data-led benchmark that allows brands to measure themselves against category competitors across major digital commerce platforms.
Why it matters
COVID-19 created a new retail environment that forced a step-change in how consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands distribute their products. As a result, by the end of 2023, WARC forecasts retail media to be worth $137 billion globally – double its 2020 take. Edge by Ascential predicts media spend on e-commerce will account for 58% of global chain retail sales by 2025.
“The worlds of Marketing and Digital Commerce are converging and it is imperative to understand how the major digital commerce platforms intersect with creativity and media investment, and the impact this has on brand and performance marketing,” says Amin Mrini, VP of WARC Digital Commerce, a new division within WARC.
Build an Instacart strategy fit for the platform
Instacart has rapidly grown into the second-largest grocery e-commerce platform in the US taking 45% of market share, making it a priority for CPG brands and their marketers. However, many brands are still finding their way on the platform, particularly when it comes to maximising their presence and optimising retail media spend.
Audit availability and look to get into the basket early
Availability is key as Instacart will offer an alternative if a brand is out of stock. However, across categories there remain opportunities to expand availability in more stores, delivering a significant uplift in revenue. Getting into a consumer’s basket can have lasting benefits: after a first shopping trip, the ‘buy it again’ widget becomes very important for site users.
Review search performance
Instacart’s search algorithm has a different level of complexity than those of Walmart or the Amazon Marketplace. Results from the WARC dComm IndexTM show how hard it is to dominate organic search across the site. Paid search is growing in importance and brands should investigate its opportunities. As seen across retail media, prepare for rising costs as competition mounts.
Learn to live with the paradoxes
For CPG brands, many of the rules that apply to other channels do not apply to Instacart:
the consumer experience on Instacart is controlled by the retailer;
if a retailer’s ability to monitor its inventory at the store level is poor, the brand is even more in the dark;
new products will only be available on Instacart once a retailer has it in stock;
Instacart does not provide sales data at retailer level, making it hard for brands to understand the impact that Instacart has on their retailer revenue numbers;
retail media spend on Instacart is often attributed to the e-commerce or digital advertising budget, which doesn’t get credit for incremental purchase orders from retailers.
Stay in touch with a changing platform
Instacart is evolving fast in a changing market. It announced in January that it would launch specific pages for brands to feature content and showcase products, allowing a much richer content offer within its site. It is also building display ad formats alongside its search ad formats. This may benefit smaller brands less able to compete in paid search as the major players ramp up spend. Any Instacart strategy is going to need to evolve over time.
Subsequent reports on Amazon, Walmart, Target and Kroger, as well as quarterly updates, interactive tools, data points and benchmarks will be released later in the year and will be available to WARC Digital Commerce subscribers.