How to drive category growth online in 2023 w/ Mondelēz International

December 22, 2022

How to drive category leadership online

Whether it’s inflation or supply chain disruption, the CPG industry has had its fair share of challenges in 2022. But throughout the economic and political turmoil, businesses also continued to push hard on ecommerce finding ways for how to drive category growth online. Many worked on overhauling their legacy operations and embraced the digital revolution as consumers continued to shop online.

With good reason. Across Europe, ecommerce has already gone from a growth opportunity to an imperative, according to the experts at McKinsey. And in the US, Insider Intelligence expects digital sales to account for 15.0% of the US grocery market by 2026.

So, while inflation and economic uncertainty dominate the headlines, we wanted to create space to reflect on online growth. Specifically, the trends, events, and behaviors that drove online category growth this year and what brands should focus on going into 2023.

To do so, we have two incredible guest joining us today: Stephanie Rubin, Head of Digital Shelf Analytics Solutions Consulting at CommerceIQ, and Cristina Marinucci, Global Head of Shopper – Insights & Analytics at Mondelēz International

This post is based on an episode of The Digital Shelf Cast featuring Julia Glotz. For more conversations like this one, subscribe to The Digital Shelf Cast on AppleSpotify and everywhere else you listen to podcasts.

Cristina Marinucci, Global Head of Shopper – Insights & Analytics at Mondelēz International names her 3 main factors that drove category success online in 2022.


📝 The show notes

01:38 – 02:51 Cristina and Stephanie tell our listeners about the last item they bought online and what that experience was like.

03:13 – 07:17 We turn to 2022 and what happened this year from an ecommerce perspective. We asked our guests how they would sum up 2022 in the ecommerce world, what the main concerns were and the top trends driving online shopper behavior in 2022. Key concerns listed were supply chain issues, rising inflation and shopping behaviors that have sticking power such as the role of wellness and convenience as well as “portability”.

“We’re seeing the growth of ecommerce being very stable, slow, predictable, but consistent. So it’s an accelerated evolution versus a revolution. We’re still seeing ecommerce as the biggest contributor to growth for us. Post Covid, the overall sales expectation from ecommerce is still very strong and while there may be a little bit less buyers, those that do are buying more, and more often online. Cristina Marinucci, Global Head of Shopper – Insights & Analytics at Mondelēz International

 07:54 – 10:30 We take a deep dive into data and metrics.

“Like many other CPGs, we have our version of Flywheel. We’ve recently adopted it to a framework that we have used in store for years and which fuels our category management practices. It’s called the 5-S. It helps us to unlock significant growth potential by really understanding that shopper behavior along the path of purchase and diagnosing where shoppers are falling out of that sales funnel”. Cristina Marinucci, Global Head of Shopper – Insights & Analytics at Mondelēz International

Stephanie explains that besides search, CommerceIQ is helping clients be really inventory aware and stop the campaigns to prevent driving customers to competitor products.

11:41 -12:80 Our guests spell out three main factors that determined online category success in 2022.

  1. Winning retailer site search (interrupting at that right moment is key to success for both) and driving visibility when shoppers might not be searching
  2. A connected commerce approach to drive engagement and loyalty
  3. Value creation and helping shoppers find products on the endless shelf

“Thinking  more strategically about that eCategory decision tree, the taxonomy online where and how we show up to serve up those right products for those right shopping occasions”. Cristina Marinucci, Global Head of Shopper – Insights & Analytics at Mondelēz International

Cristina Marinucci Global Head of Shopper – Insights & Analytics, Mondelēz International explains the snack’s giant take on the marketing flywheel and what 3 KPIs she & her team review regularly.

13:04 – 17:21 How to drive impulse purchases online.

“Beyond search, there are some messaging tactics around curated list experiences, how do we take them through that stock up purchase and the categories they would normally add to cart. I think Instagram does a great job of replicating going up and down the aisles and stores. Really using that past purchase behavior and first party data to personalize the offers and serve up products that we know they might be running out of based on their past purchase history. But also driving discovery and trying online.” Cristina Marinucci, Global Head of Shopper – Insights & Analytics at Mondelēz International

Stephanie is seeing a shift in how CommerceIQ’ clients are thinking about their retail media spend and mobile shopping or mCommerce which accounts for approximately 73% of online ecommerce sales in the US.

17:57 – 20:55 Big lessons or surprises of 2022.

 “We need to get smarter and hold our retailers to a higher level of transparency. It’s definitely a focus for us to understand retail media investment better and have better measurements so that we can optimize. I think that not so much a surprise but last milers continue to play a bigger role and are starting to take on broader mission types. I think just that bar being raised on convenience and expectations I think the willingness of our customers to compromise on timing and compromise on what they get and how they get it has really gone away.” Cristina Marinucci, Global Head of Shopper – Insights & Analytics at Mondelēz International

20:57- 26:23 How will 2023 be different and what trends to expect.

  • Mobile & social commerce continue to accelerate
  • Larger focus on automation “work smarter, not harder”.
  • Managing ones entire ecommerce ecosystem with a single source of truth “save money by having fewer tools”
  • Interconnected data around loyalty insights, personalization and monetization
  • Convenience expansion with QR codes, artificial reality experiences, predictive analytics and payment options

26:14  – 29:30 Big initiatives planned in 2023.

More engagements in metaverse, testing bundles and capitalizing on those different occasions “Really building the moments to engage with snacking, even outside of the store environment that you’re used to, and building off those occasions.”

For CommerceIQ it’s about connecting with clients data sets and inventory to create a holistic ecommerce retail management ecosystem.

29:48 – 31:03 The one essential advice for how CPGs can retain category leadership online today and in the future.

  1. Have a holistic view of growth (online and offline combined) and really bring those omni-category growth and insights lead strategies and stories to our customers.
  2. What gets measured gets done really drive success in this omni world

Stephanie helps connect clients with technology that helps them work smarter and not harder.

“The digital space has become very algorithmic and the day to day work of our clients has changed dramatically. They can’t spend the time making manual interventions when they’re up against the algorithms of really sophisticated online retailers like Amazon. And so in the year to come to retain category leadership, we recommend that our clients really spend time on understanding the technology that can help them run a much more efficient online business and spend the rest of the time working on the strategy side of their business to help them win online and in store.” Stephanie Rubin, Head of Digital Shelf Analytics Solutions Consulting at CommerceIQ

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