How we accelerated our digital capabilities to support our customers and our business

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Investors, Customers | Stephen Lusk

Following the publication of our 2020 financial results last week, we caught up with Stephen Lusk, Vice President, Commercial Development, to discuss how we leveraged our digital capabilities last year, and our focus for 2021.

Last week, we released our financial results for 2020. Despite the challenges we all faced, I am proud of what we achieved – which is down to the extraordinary work and commitment of our colleagues, supporting each other as well as our customers and communities.

COVID-19 continues to affect people around the world and we’ve seen significant behavioral shifts in society. Changes in how people live, shop and work continue to inform how we serve our customers and get our products to consumers.

Digital adoption across the board has accelerated with e-commerce becoming the fastest growing channel for our business.

Over the last nine months we’ve reshaped our commercial strategy so we can continue to offer our retail partners a great service and bring enjoyment to millions of consumers every day through our brands – no matter how they choose to shop.

This had its challenges due to the extraordinary circumstances, but it was also an opportunity to leverage our digital capabilities and grow our business – as well as creating even more value for our customers and retail partners.

Making it even easier to do business with us

Our customer portal is an important part of our digital acceleration. It is helping us be the best online partner to our customers and drive revenue growth for our business.

The platform is now live in nine of our markets with 35,000 customer users – four times more than 2019 – and 165,000 orders placed in 2020. We’ve increased its functionality to include point of sale, promotions and dedicated marketing. The platform is also being used across our business to help support customers during the ongoing pandemic.

Learn more about here.

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Driving e-commerce sales together with our customers

We have seen significant spikes in online shopping across all of our markets, particularly in online grocery and food delivery – with revenue growth of 44%[1] and 50%[2] respectively. This has also brought many new shoppers into the online grocery channel. In many markets our online share of soft drinks is higher than in store – reflecting our dedicated efforts to drive e-commerce sales together with our customers.

We have been building digital partnership and focused on activity that will support our customers to gain market share and deliver a greater consumer experience. Including:

  •  Maintaining an agile supply chain and working flexibly with our customers to ensure we can serve their pick operations and deliver products they need
  • Maximise digital on-shelf availability and range by monitoring stock to ensure we have the right products available to buy, utilising existing field sales e-tools to support this process
  • Focused on delivering Digital Shelf 2.0 – providing better navigation, mobile optimised product imagery and SEO focused descriptions, as well as enhanced content for our portfolio of brands
  • Dedicated price and pack offers
  • Online merchandising and activation for events, meal occasions, bundle solutions and out of aisle purchases – making it easy to buy our products

Supporting the growth of meal delivery services

Meal delivery online remains a key growth area for our business. As restrictions have limited away from home socialising, we have continued to see strong growth in online food delivery through platforms such as Uber Eats, Just Eat Takeaway, Deliveroo, Glovo and other food takeaway sites.  Many hospitality outlets have turned to these platforms due to lockdown restrictions affecting the way they operate. To support our customers and win drinking moments we have:

  • Helped our food delivery customers onboard outlets using our field sales teams, customer portal, contact centres and digital sales channels
  • Continued to focus on the basics of menu visibility, including imagery and descriptions
  • Increased promotions including combination deals and developed on-site add-to-basket tools
  • Developed standalone drinks shops on both Deliveroo Editions in GB and Glovo in Spain
  • Actively supported all platforms and outlets in growing and promoting their convenience offers 1

We also launched our first ever direct to consumer platform Your Coca-Cola in GB.  This platform allows consumers to stock up on their favourite drinks brands as well as those popular, harder to find products like Diet Coke Caffeine Free, often in slightly larger packs than what is currently available through traditional retail channels. This move will help us tap into the rapid growth of online shopping and offer consumers even more choice.

We’re also investing in innovative start-ups and technology that can transform the consumer experience. For example, Kol is an on-demand beverage delivery service in Paris, distributing a wide range of drinks direct to customers’ doors in just 30 minutes.

Focus for 2021

Last year, we were the number one value creator within the non-alcoholic ready to drink category across our territories. Digital solutions will help us continue to win with our customers and grow our business.

We will continue to invest in digital and have upweighted our investments across the business. We anticipate this bucket will account for around 30% of this year’s spend – this compares to 10% in 2019 and 20% in 2020. The pandemic has shown the important role digital platforms are playing for customers and consumers, and we will continue to harness this opportunity.

[1] Retail value growth. Source: Nielsen Top 4 markets (GB FR NL ES)

[2] Retail value growth. Source: Food aggregators data & internal estimate