Many brands and retailers have built e-commerce sites to raise awareness and generate sales. But what happens when a brand doesn’t actually sell its products online? That’s the case for many Consumer Packaged Goods brands, also known as CPGs. While they have their own brand, they sell to and through retailers to drive revenue.

People may not be able to buy products on CPG websites and social channels but these platforms are still powerful hubs for educating consumers, building communities and sharing information about products — whether that be Q&As with influencers or experts, tutorials or sharing tasty recipes.

Food brands specifically have taken some creative approaches to visual commerce and digital engagement. Here are three that have embraced some innovative tactics to whet consumers’ appetites and drive them to purchase their products.

Driscoll’s

The tagline “only the finest berries” is enough to make you crave a fresh smoothie, summer salad or breakfast parfait. But Driscoll’s goes the extra mile to immerse visitors in the brand and get them excited about its assortment of fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Here are some standout elements of the brand’s online presence:

Images galore: As soon as you land on the Driscoll’s site, you’re enamored by a variety of high-quality images showing off fresh summer cocktails, shortcakes and themed holiday and barbecue treats. Close-ups of perfectly ripe strawberries and blueberries get you in the summer mood and, most importantly, show that quality and freshness are of the utmost importance for the brand.

Recipes: We know that berries are chock-full of vitamins and minerals, but sometimes we need insight on how to incorporate them in our daily eating habits. A recipe section helps visitors get culinary inspiration based on their cravings and needs. Recipes are organized by berry type, course and theme. There is even a section for community favorites, so visitors can see which recipes other people like the most.

Social integration and community: The best part about the Driscoll’s site is its focus on community. Visitors can check out the “Berry Blog,” which features content from bakers and experts, or they can go to the general community section to receive exclusive content and coupons. They can also easily visit the brand’s social accounts, which are swarming with great visual content. On Instagram, Driscoll’s posts a variety of inspirational photos, including berry-filled confections and even beautiful photos of berries out in the wild. The company’s feed is brimming with user-generated content (which features Instagram tags for the photographers), as well as branded content that’s linked back to the Driscoll’s website.

California Avocados

Some people prefer snacking on fresh guacamole and tortilla chips, while others crave their morning avocado toast. Preferences aside, one thing’s for sure: Everyone seems to have avocado fever. California Avocados is capitalizing on our unwavering love for this healthy fat by creating a visually captivating yet educational online presence. Here are some of the best elements:

Press play: As soon as the site loads, you come face-to-face with three different videos that explain why California avocados are so special. Location, care and craftsmanship are all outlined as key differentiators. From there, visitors are inspired to click the link below, which brings you to a site outlining how and where you can find them.

All content is connected: Sometimes brands and retailers switch up their visuals and educational content for specific touchpoints. For instance, the visuals you see on a brand’s blog may be different than what you see on their Instagram page. California Avocados, however, creates a seamless and consistent journey for consumers. When you visit the blog, you see a variety of articles focused on recipes, avocado festivals and even partnerships with local artists. When you go to the brand’s Instagram page, images from the blog are syndicated and promoted with relevant hashtags. The benefits work both ways: If you’re on Instagram, you can get a first-look at some recipes. If you find one that captures your attention, you can go right to the blog to get more information.

Push the visual limits: Many food brands confine their visual content to raw ingredients and recipes. But trust us: It’s beneficial to get creative and push the limits. California Avocados does this by sharing a variety of quirky and humorous images in addition to the standard “food porn.” One image shows a young blonde woman with an avocado adorned on the back of her top; another shows four friends with matching avocado tattoos; and some images even show off avocado-inspired art. As you can see, avocados are the common thread or connecting point of each photo, but they’re all compelling in their own unique way.

Kraft

A sampling of Kraft's Like2Buy page.

A sampling of Kraft’s Like2Buy page.

While each of our preceding examples focus on one core product, Kraft has a variety of items under its brand umbrella. That means Kraft has a lot more ground to cover on its e-commerce site and social accounts. On the homepage, the brand has a dedicated “recipe of the day” section and has a running slideshow of different recipes from the Kraft kitchen. Here are a few other elements that kick the experience up a notch:

Tips and tricks: Recipes are a key component of the Kraft site, however, the brand takes things a step further by having a section dedicated solely to “tips and ideas.” This area dives deeper into the lifestyle of the Kraft brand and has a variety of resources and content that connect with target customers (parents or resident chefs) on a more intimate level. Categories include: food safety, nutritional guides, kid-focused recipes and tips for picky eaters.

Pinning made easy: There are now more than 1.7 billion recipe pins on Pinterest, according to VentureBeat. Kraft makes finding and pinning recipes even easier for visitors by having a designated “top pins” section on its homepage. Consumers can follow the brand on Pinterest, re-pin specific recipes or visit the dedicated recipe pages without a hitch.

Instagram content is shoppable: The best part about Instagram is that it’s a mobile-optimized feed you can browse through seamlessly, even if you’re on the go. However, this often leaves a significant gap between a brand’s Instagram account and its richer, more detailed content. Not for Kraft! Using Like2Buy from Curalate, Kraft has created a shoppable recipe hub, where followers can click on dishes and get automatically relocated to the specific recipe page. Talk about cooking made easy!

Hungry for more inspiration?

Learn how Suja Juice used Like2Buy to:

  • Drive mobile users to its site.
  • Improve image engagement and revenue.
  • Turn Instagram into a top referral source for mobile sales.

Download the success story here.