The CPG world is playing catch up.
For decades, consumer product goods (think household goods, packaged foods, and personal cosmetic items), had the upper hand in product discovery since they only had to buy ad slots on the very few TV stations or print publications. But when ads moved onto mobile devices, “it became harder for the brands to have that direct reach to drive product discovery and product interest,” said Atlanta entrepreneur Jennifer Silverberg. “They had to move that into the stores…so it became a battle for shelf space [and] shelf visibility.”
As more of our shopping moved online, Silverberg noted that the ecommerce world “acted like shopping online was the same as shopping offline. But it’s not. It is fundamentally need driven.”
Now CPG brands are navigating a new world in which they have to both leverage paid influencers and the influence friends have over their networks. They also have to figure out how to talk directly to consumers on social media.
Silverberg compares today’s ecommerce landscape to a “giant virtual Tupperware party,” since all of us as consumers are “recommending things all the time to those in our social circles.
Silverberg has had a front-row seat to the changing world of ecommerce. Now as CEO and co-founder of Atlanta-based SmartCommerce, and previously as head of marketing for Channel Intelligence. For her, now is a fun time to be building in the industry.
“Consumer behavior is radically changing every single day. And many of those signals are befuddling marketers,” she added. “CPG brands can now create direct relationships with consumers and really drive their own futures.”
Getting Smarter About CPG
SmartCommerce dates back to 2016 when Silverberg and the founding team saw an opportunity to help CPG brands improve their digital advertising reach. The startup worked in tangent with early customers like Kimberly-Clark and Mars Wrigley to get the platform off the ground.
As buying patterns shifted in our post-COVID world, SmartCommerce has been busy. Following a new capital infusion in 2022, the startup acquired Basketful (an in-context eCommerce optimization tool) and Myxx Solutions (a North Carolina-based shopping marketing platform) to help brands better connect with their online customers.
Earlier this month, SmartCommerce closed another round from New York-based Argentum Capital Partners IV, L.P. and Los Angeles-based Mathers Associates. The new capital raise is about ensuring SmartCommerce is ready should another acquisition opportunity present itself in the near future, Silverberg told Hypepotamus.
“As investors with extensive experience in eCommerce tech, Argentum has seen many companies that are working to address this segment, but most are focusing only on the marketing application, and miss the hard part – the data. SmartCommerce is the only one bringing the needed data-centric rigor – their data core is scalable, strong, and incredibly flexible,” said Walter Barandiarán, Argentum’s Managing Partner, in a statement.
Previous investors in the startup include Atlanta-based Valor Ventures, Run Capital Investment Fund, and ICU Ventures.