The way we shop and how we buy things is really beginning to change. “Consumer packaged goods,” often abbreviated as CPGs by business analysts, is a prime example of this. In the recent past, it would have been considered foolish to open an online business focused on selling CPGs. However, that is rapidly changing. In 2018 alone, the online sales of CPG products rose by 17.9 percent overall! In fact, some of the most innovative online companies have entered this space. Take Brandless as a prime example. Brandless offers hundreds of popular CPGs for purchase online, and in 2018, they were the fastest growing manufacturer of CPG products!
Consumer packaged goods are consumable products that people buy, use up, and then replace over and over again. Examples include food, health products, beauty products, household cleaners, and consumable household products like diapers, toilet paper and napkins. Consumer packaged goods also includes household items that consumers may not buy daily, or even weekly, but do replace and buy frequently. Examples include kitchen gadgets, cookware, and pet supplies. Unlike many other online businesses who have specialized in selling only one category of CPGs to varying degrees of success, Brandless actually sells CPG products in all of these CPG subcategories, much like a “super center” retail store would do!
The traditional wisdom among business analysts had been for years that there were never be a large market for consumer packaged goods online. The thinking was that consumers would stick to buying these frequently replaced items at brick and mortar retail businesses because it was more convenient and cost effective to do so. However, Brandless has been a leader in changing this perception with their motto and business philosophy of “Better stuff, fewer dollars.” One of the ways they did this was to work directly with manufacturing facilities and manufacture their own products, according to their own specs and social conscience. In this way, Brandless has been a trail blazer.
Brandless also focuses on selling sustainable products that are better for their customers. For example, they sell earth-friendly cleaners (toxin free) that are packaged with less packaging by providing concentrated cleaners along with refillable bottles. They also sell a wide variety of economically priced organic foods that are free of GMO ingredients. Their baby lines and pet lines are also free of chemicals, which of course appeals to moms and dads of babies and furbabies alike. Brandless offers sustainably harvested bamboo and wood products as well. They even take into consideration the toxins that can get into food via plastics and certain types of cookware and offer healthier options.
So, it does seem that consumer packaged goods can be sold successfully online if a company offers unique selling points that massively appeals to people. Brandless has proven that over a very short period of time. However, even Brandless, is now looking at entering the brick and mortar retail space with some of their most popular consumer packaged goods. It has been reported by Forbes and others that they are currently in negotiations with several top retailers. Brandless is also hoping to set the “gold standard” for the testing of CBD oils, and products containing CBD oils, to ensure high purity (no toxins) and consistency in a product line that is poised to be THE hottest product in the world within two years.
When it comes to how we shop… and where we shop… and what we shop for… Bob Dylan said it best, “The Times They Are a Changin!” It’s going to be a fun ride!