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Kellogg's launches virtual store for Special K

Kellogg’s is piloting a virtual store for its Special K brand in partnership with all the main UK supermarkets in a bid to convert a greater number of users searching for its products online into sales.

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Kellogg’s launches virtual store for its Special K brand in partnership with major supermarkets as it looks boost on and offline sales.

The Special K Snack Store provides customers with product information as well as stock availability, price and promotional offers for the snack brand across Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and Ocado. Visitors can then add any of the featured products to their next online shop with their preferred retailer.

The business hopes the hub will encourage consumers searching for product information online to make purchases. It claims that people are “increasingly searching the web for FMCG related information” with Google data showing 72% of shoppers research FMCG goods prior to purchase.

The virtual store, which launched last week, will run until the end of the year and the snacks business has pledged to launch storefronts for other brands such as Corn Flakes and Frosties should the trial prove a success.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Matt Pritchard, European digital director for Kellogg’s, says the e-commerce push, developed in partnership with UK technology company Dotter, is about creating “more valuable digital connections between our brands and consumers.”

He adds: “Closing the gap between product and purchase is a top priority for us as a FMCG business. We don’t have a direct consumer relationship, we sell via retailers and through the virtual store we can look to get a more transactional and direct response approach to some of our advertising.

“In the week since the store launched we’ve seen the conversion rate of visitors rise 1.5 per cent. Dotter’s Open Store technology has enabled us to create a brand-centric shopping experience for the first time, simplifying the discovery and purchase process for our customers.”

The store will be promoted initially via an online advertising push for Special K’s Biscuit Moments breakfast range, but could be expanded to web, social, connected Tvs and mobile channels.

Pritchard adds: “If we’re running banners everywhere then that’s great because we’re getting the uplift in awareness but it would be even better if people could add our products to their baskets directly from the advert. This is what we’re doing at the moment and there’s scope for us to look at how we drive transactions from mobile devices as well as across our Facebook pages. As we do more integrated campaigns we can feature this service more.

“F-commerce is still in its infancy and we don’t want to focus our presence on the social network just around sales. We still want to use it as a key engagement tool. Using mobile and the way we can use data to target offers through the virtual store is where the real opportunity is for us at the moment.”

Retail experts say Kellogg’s service is a “cost-effective” way for the business to drive online transactions, but warn that it will not boost engagement on its own. Rod Streetat research business SymphonyIRI, says: “The service will do more to close the gap between the transactions and online channels. It should give Kellogg’s an idea of how some of the campaigns they’re running seem to be influencing people as they can determine what channels are the most effective.

The move comes two months after Special K unveiled what it claims was the world’s first store in London where people paid using social media instead of money.

Kellogg’s foray into e-commerce is part of a wider push to boost the effectiveness of its on and offline marketing activity. Earlier this year, the snack manufacturer introduced “another layer” when planning strategies for its digital campaigns to adopt a more data driven marketing agenda.

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