Customer Stories

The success of AB InBev’s ecommerce strategy

Andreea Pop
Andreea Pop December 13, 2021
The success of AB InBev’s ecommerce strategy

Anheuser-Busch InBev, known as AB InBev, is the world’s largest brewer. With an incredibly rich history spanning over centuries and with strong roots in markets all over the world, including Belgium, Brazil and the US, the multinational drinks company’s purpose is to “bring people together for a better world”.  

Recently, achieving that mission has involved a blend of great products, dedicated teams and state-of-the-art ecommerce technologies for direct-to-consumer (DTC), B2B and marketplace initiatives, a journey in which VTEX has had a significant part to play. Let’s discover more about this one-of-a-kind collaboration. 

Collaboration, the foundation for a great ecommerce strategy

AB InBev recognized the switch to the online world, sparked off by the COVID-19 pandemic, early on. Staying true to its customer-centric and innovative DNA, it set off to come to the aid of all of its customers: bars, restaurants, convenience stores and end-consumers. 

“Building a direct-to-consumer ecosystem involves optimizing every part of the experience and this ranges from the end-consumers’ experience to the customer delivering that to them.” 

France Roy, Global VP of DTC Technology at AB InBev

The company expanded within existing areas, diversified and increased its sales channels and its inventory. But for this robust digital transformation, a strong technological backbone was of paramount importance. 

VTEX was more than up to the task, as it had powered some of the CPG giant’s ecommerce strategies in Latin America since 2016 and signed a global deal in 2020 to scale that commitment. The overall result? Great growth in the direct-to-consumer space over the past couple of years that is only expected to grow further. 

For AB InBev, having a digital commerce strategy has been key to this growth. VTEX Commerce Platform, with servers hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS), came in handy with a headless commerce solution that offers control over the customer experience, as well as room for customization and a mobile-responsive user experience, in addition to fast time-to-market. Technology like this gives AB InBev confidence that 

“Having our platform on VTEX has allowed us to quickly meet the needs of consumers and expand internationally. Launching a marketplace in a matter of weeks was critical for us as there is a lot of competition in this space.” 

France Roy, Global VP of DTC Technology at AB InBev

AB InBev’s ecommerce projects with VTEX

VTEX has had the wonderful opportunity to help AB InBev in a plethora of projects, all with their own value propositions and challenges. Let’s take them one by one. 

DTC ecommerce websites 

The successful relationship between AB InBev and VTEX started in Brazil. There, VTEX has been powering Empório da Cerveja since 2016, with incredible YoY growth every year. 

In Chile, the company Casa de la Cerveza is experiencing a similar success, having grown over 90% annually ever since implementing VTEX back in 2017. Last but not least, there’s also a brand-new BackusYa in Peru, functioning in a similar fashion and delivering beer in less than 24 hours. 

“Building a platform that scales from scratch is a big undertaking, and that level of customization takes a significant amount of time and money. What VTEX allows us to do is not worry about the structure of an ecommerce and marketplace platform and to focus on delivering value with our technology and product teams where it really benefits the consumer.”

France Roy, Global VP of DTC Technology at AB InBev 

These multi-brand online retailers offer consumers a wide product catalog with hundreds of crafted, imported and local beers and spirits, not to mention glassware and bar equipment to complete the tasting experience. Unique functionalities and features include geolocation, cashback, gift cards, customer reviews, payment in installments and even the use of dark stores to quickly and easily fulfil online orders. 

Overall, these cases validate the business model’s fitness for international expansion, one in which new operations can be replicated with a few clicks thanks to VTEX. Having just one codebase and team to deploy a platform to many countries is a huge benefit to AB InBev, as its team can focus on building critical custom capabilities instead. 

There are also other similar yet different ecommerce businesses, including mono-brand stores like the Jupiler Shop in Belgium, and the Cerveza Aguila, Cerveza Poker and Club Colombia online stores in Colombia. 

A success case in Brazil

A truly innovative operation, however, is Chopp Brahma Express in Brazil. The online store, which migrated to VTEX in January 2021, enables customers to buy, among others, beer kegs of larger volume and have them shipped home, ready for a good party. Making full use of VTEX’s omnichannel capabilities that integrated over 100 franchises into the store’s system, the site identifies the closest shop that can ship the order based on the shopper’s postal code. 

What’s even more outstanding, however, is that Chopp Brahma comes back in a few days and takes back the keg once it’s been consumed! This ease-of-use triggered phenomenal growth, with the store’s revenue increasing by 43% post-migration to VTEX, looking at the January-November periods of 2021 and 2020. 

DTC courier services

One of AB InBev’s current focus points is developing and strengthening its courier services, of which it has several. 

For instance, released in the beginning of this year, Modelorama Now is the Mexican DTC courier service that brings chilled drinks and ready-to-devour snacks to your home in less than 45 minutes. Likewise, the TiendasYa websites in Colombia and Bolivia, TapIt in Colombia, DrinksMarket in Panama and Estacíon in Paraguay promise lightning-fast delivery.

“Consumers can get cold beer at grocery store prices delivered to them within 60 minutes. This value proposition has really resonated with consumers because it solves several problems for them. For example, they don’t have to carry beer from the grocery store home; they can ensure their beer is cold when they need it and they are able to trust they are getting it at the best price available.”

France Roy, Global VP of DTC Technology at AB InBev

The platforms allow people to benefit from free shipping on top of affordable prices, thus transforming online shopping into a great and convenient buying alternative. All have been modeled after AB InBev’s Zé Delivery in Brazil, launched in 2016. The hugely successful beer delivery app, with over 55 million orders between 2020 and 2021, provided the perfect inspiration for other use cases. 

Furthermore, VTEX integrations enabled the CPG giant to make use of other SaaS providers to maximize its time-to-market. Instead of building a delivery-man app from scratch, the company simply integrated one into VTEX for full management of delivery — all within weeks. 

Digital menu solutions

Another important addition to the brewer’s collection of ecommerce channels is Menu Digital. Having gone live in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic and expected in other countries soon, this initiative creates online menus for AB InBev’s brew pubs, offering both takeaway and table ordering. This project was particularly welcome throughout the pandemic, when the need for a safe experience was placed above all else and paper menus weren’t needed. 

“This is important during the pandemic for creating a touchless and safe shopping experience at our locations, and it allowed us to learn about digital capabilities we can continue to use to expand these businesses.”

France Roy, Global VP of DTC Technology at AB InBev 

More than worth the investment

All in all, AB InBev has scored and continues to score gold with its ecommerce strategies. The company looks towards strengthening its digital offering and widening its target audience, always keeping in mind customer needs and marketing trends. Shopping online, for beer of all things, has never been this smooth, so we say cheers to the future!

Keep reading: Related stories
Customer Stories

Samsung Chile: Ecommerce profit grows 4X with live shopping

The South Korean consumer electronics company Samsung held its first live shopping session with VTEX. Samsung follows a…

Adriana Marroquin
Adriana Marroquin
Customer Stories

How Le Biscuit grew 619% with VTEX inStore and ecommerce

The retail brand is growing in Brazil by investing in technological transformation, with VTEX solutions driving business on…

Elias Moura
Elias Moura
Customer Stories

Tok&Stok: Improving customers’ online shopping experience

There is a significant difference between buying and shopping and experience is the keyword that tells them apart.…

Gabriela Porto
Gabriela Porto
Customer Stories

Frávega: Leveraging VTEX’s composable commerce solution

Frávega, a VTEX customer since 2014, is an Argentinian retail chain with 110 branches and over 2,700 employees.…

Afonso Praça
Afonso Praça
Customer Stories

The largest digital flower shop in Romania migrates to VTEX

The largest digital flower shop from Romania, Floria.ro, launched in 2010, chose to migrate to VTEX in order…

Andreea Pop
Andreea Pop
Customer Stories

Grupo Éxito implements live shopping and reaps the rewards

Live shopping is a relatively new customer experience that aims to help customers feel closer to their favorite…

Lalo Aguilar
Lalo Aguilar
Customer Stories

Chedraui’s digital transformation through grocery ecommerce

The growth of ecommerce in the last decade hasn’t been uniform. While industries such as electronics and books…

Lalo Aguilar
Lalo Aguilar
Customer Stories

Giga Atacado trusts VTEX to leverage digitalization

With a custom solution that addresses B2C and B2B audiences, the brand exceeded expectations in the first 40…

Mariana Boese
Mariana Boese
Customer Stories

How Empório da Cerveja increased sales through regionalization and dark stores

VTEX enabled Ambev’s ecommerce channel to triple its revenue in some regions of Brazil and boosted its value…

Mariana Boese
Mariana Boese
See More