Mondelēz: Embracing CPG ecommerce with a digital B2B2B operation
With operations in over 80 countries and iconic brands like Oreo, Milka and Toblerone in its international portfolio, Mondelēz is one of the largest and most renowned snack companies in the world. However, business strategies that worked in the past are no longer enough in today’s era of commerce, so in 2020 the confectionery giant entered an ambitious digital transformation process in LATAM, having Brandlive and VTEX as its partners. The result is a digital B2B2B platform made by Mondelēz with small businesses and retailer stores in mind, raising the bar for CPG ecommerce operations everywhere.
The story of this transformation and its results are below.
The need for digital transformation
As most other CPG companies, Mondelēz sells to its vast distributor network, which then sells to small and big retailers alike, which in turn sell to end-consumers.
Mondelēz saw that blind spot as an opportunity. By transferring its B2B2B operation to the online world, it could obtain numerous benefits in order to grow the ecosystem, such as more insights, better business decisions, streamlined processes, revenue growth and omnichannel experiences. Most importantly, however, it could come to the aid of retailers by helping them grow.
“Digital transformation is about transforming people, understanding their day-to-day lives in order to deliver things to them. Mondelēz wants to be able to generate more value for our customers, and our customers’ customers, through new business models, which can generate more possibilities than ever before with ecommerce.”Maria Mujica, VP of Ecommerce LATAM at Mondelēz International
With that goal in mind, Mondelēz partnered with Brandlive in 2020 to build the dream CPG ecommerce platform. Technologically, it placed its trust in the VTEX Commerce Platform and its top-class security and flexible architecture, with servers hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), perfect for centralizing all orders in one place and for plugging in new distributors and shops as the project expands.
“The choice of the platform was a key process, carried out by a cross-functional team, focused on having the peace of mind being with a platform that we know really works, and that has the needed flexibility to build anything with the use of Open APIs.”Maria Mujica, VP of Ecommerce LATAM at Mondelēz International
In search for the perfect UX
Mondelēz knew that its B2B2B platform would only be successful if it took into account the pain points of all the people and businesses that would be using it. Thus, designing a user experience that matched those needs was key and the input of the soon-to-be-users was also necessary.
Without being undeterred by the challenges COVID-19 posed to this plan, Mondelēz started a robust research, ethnographically analyzing interviews and even videos of salespeople to truly understand the Mondelēz customer. That’s how the CPG giant found out, for instance, that a small shop owner wants to offer leading brands that their customers ask for and that the website’s interface should be tailored for a mobile experience to increase familiarity and ease of use.
“It is important to understand what the pain points of those shops are, to understand what they need to grow rapidly and gradually. Our focus is to see how Mondelēz can give them value.”Maria Mujica, VP of Ecommerce LATAM at Mondelēz International
A successful implementation
After six months of successful collaboration between Mondelēz and Brandlive, with assistance from VTEX, the B2B2B platform went live without any delays in Colombia in September 2020. Shortly after, in December 2020, with many lessons learned from the previous implementation, the platform went live in Peru.
Worthy of note is that this project marked the first WhatsApp integration for login on VTEX! Indeed, there’s no need for email & password registration and login, something that shopkeepers were not comfortable with. To resolve that obstacle, shops are now pre-registered on the platform based on Mondelēz’s existing database and shopkeepers simply receive a link on WhatsApp to gain access to the platform. This way, the process is secure and convenient.
Generally, Mondelēz’s ecommerce store ended up being a mobile-exclusive platform, with robust B2B capabilities such as:
- Menu navigation by brand;
- Repeat orders;
- Bulk ordering and add-to-cart buttons straight from the search engine;
- More than 30 different customer clusters, with associated product recommendations;
- AI-powered product recommendations based on customer behavior.
Once an order has been placed, the system automatically routes it to a specific distributor. Last but not least, system integrations, automation tools, email communications and chatbots keep everything together.
Thus, in a nutshell, retailers log in to the platform via WhatsApp, place their orders according to their needs, get assigned to a proximal distributor and then receive the goods as soon as possible. Smooth!
“We put a lot of focus on understanding in-depth the real behavior of our customers, their daily journeys in their stores. We are UX-obsessed and we are truly innovating through a user journey design that really flows.”Maria Mujica, VP of Ecommerce LATAM at Mondelēz International
The potential of CPG ecommerce
After implementing the Mondelēz B2B2B store in Colombia, in the first stage, online sales increased by 30%, as retailers were gradually learning the ins-and-outs of omnichannel purchases. Of course, challenges in platform adoption still remain, but Mondelēz representatives are there to assist customers every step of the way, like teaching them how to generate impulse purchases or how to better display products to trigger higher sales. And if they grow, so does Mondelēz.
“We want to have a 24/7 salesperson for our customers that complements our current operation. Mondelēz’s goal is for the small shops to sell more so that the big distributors sell more, in a huge chain where everyone grows. There is a lot of potential on the table.”Maria Mujica, VP of Ecommerce LATAM at Mondelēz International
Ecommerce is changing the face of the CPG industry and Mondelēz is ready to take the concept of collaborative commerce to the next level, just like plenty of other big names in the game. And with the right partners and technology, success is just within reach.