Emerging CPG Trends, Business Models, and Buying Channels

This is part four in our consumer goods strategy series.

Creating a product that changes behavior is easier than creating a buying experience that changes behavior. Make your product easy to buy and enjoy.

Emerging Integrations

  • AI & Voice––Next level of smart gadgets that automate search, ordering, tasks, and integrations with other apps like on-demand transportation.
  • Internet of Things — Devices that connect to wi-fi and other gadgets.
  • Cross Platform — Devices with software that is easily accessible across the web, mobile and tablets–and sometimes, other devices.
  • Sustainably Sourced––Materials or ingredients that protect the planet.

Buying Experience

  • Home Try On––Examples include Warby Parker and True & Co.
  • Discovery––Birchbox launched a trend of curated subscription boxes.
  • Mass Customization––Examples include Nike and Function of Beauty.
  • Showrooms––b8ta, based in Palo Alto, is a showroom for trying the latest consumer hardware. Visitors can try and buy at the store.
  • eCommerce Only — Examples include Brilliant and Bonobos.
  • On Demand Transportation––Ride-shares, car rentals, and test drives.
  • Buy, Sell & Swap––Examples include Tradesy and Poshmark.
  • Curated/Assisted Buying––Examples include Trunk Club and Bombfell.
  • Group Buying / Bulk––Examples include Boxed and Costso.
  • Sell Direct to Customers at Wholesale Prices––See Thrive Market.
  • Paid Memberships––Offer discounts to consumers via your annual club.
  • Rent, Don’t Buy / Access vs. Ownership––Going to a wedding? Rent the Runway and The Black Tux will rent you the perfect outfit.
  • Subscriptions––Rent the Runway recently introduced a monthly Unlimited membership. Rocksbox and Le Tote also offer subscriptions.
  • Buy it Once––Create a durable product that is designed to only be purchased once, with a lifetime guarantee for fixes or upgrades.
  • Curated Online Shops––Amazon has a store for crowdfunded products.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later––Blispay and Bread are reinventing the lay-away model, offering consumers financing for medium to large size purchases.


  • On-demand––Retailers such as American Apparel and Sephora are now available for local delivery in select Postmates cities.
  • Meal Delivery Kits––That include everything you need to cook dinner, like Quinciple and Blue Apron. 
  • Home Setup — Enjoy, based in San Francisco, is a new way to buy and learn how to use hardware products like tablets, TVs, and drones.
  • Same or Next Day Delivery—Free or unlimited shipping/delivery with purchase of a membership, like Amazon Prime, Instacart and Postmates.


Additional Business Models & Marketing Tactics

  • Retail––94% of total retail sales are generated in brick & mortar stores.
  • Direct to Consumer — Sell your product only via your website or app.
  • Free App with Purchase––Pair an app with your device to help your customer understand and share the data your device generates.
  • Buy a Product, Order Refills––Keurig, Soma Water, LivBlends, Juicero
  • Free Gift with Purchase–– A classic beauty counter marketing tactic.
  • New Packaging, Same Great Taste––Redesign your packaging to give your brand a chance to reach a new, or wider demographic.
  • Now With 30% More!––Have excess inventory, or maybe you reduced the cost of your materials? Give a a little bit more of a product value to compete with the ketchup brand next to yours on the grocery shelf.