Heineken, the Dutch-owned international brewer, is preparing to launch its first global ecommerce platform as part of a wider push to explore the link between its marketing and sales.
The brewer is reported to have just started building the hub, which it plans to use to sell branded products such as clothing and glasses to consumers.
The idea is to provide deeper shopper insight by integrating the platform into the marketing activity for brands such as Desperados and Strongbow. The business is looking for ways to react faster in beer and cider markets that have become more competitive in recent years, particularly in Western Europe.
The brewer’s UK division has recently completed a four-month restructure of its marketing team and is spearheading the push.
Jacco van der Linden, Heineken’s UK marketing director told Marketing Week: “In our new organisational structure we have put in place category and trade marketing teams, all of which ecommerce will become a big part of what we do as a business moving forward. Within our plans to grow both the beer and cider categories ecommerce will play more of a role where together with customers we start to develop a whole ecommerce platform.”
The UK team has been testing online shopping this year through its use of the Slingshot tool to allow fans to purchase directly from its online ads.
Heineken’s ecommerce hub is thought to be a first for the beer and cider industry, but the brewer expects to see further shifts into the space from rivals in the coming years.
Van der Linden added: “We’re only in the early stages of developing the ecommerce platform but think it will play a bigger role in how FMCG brands market their brands, particularly in our industry where things move so fast.”
A recent report from IMRG showed that UK online sales were up 16% year-on-year in April with beer, wines and spirts among the highest risers at 19% year-on-year.