Brands with heavy or perishable items can still leverage e-commerce

Rather, by adopting a broad definition of “e-commerce” they can still leverage the channel and technology to engage consumers, improve retailer relations and ultimately grow their business, James Quincey explained at Alliance Bernstein’s 37th​ Annual Strategic Decisions conference June 2.

“E-commerce is not just one thing. There are multiple pieces of e-commerce”​ – each of which “has its own dynamics and its own future”​ that companies across categories and with diverse products can use to build their business and drive sales effectively, he said.

Breaking e-commerce into four pieces, Quincey said he sees potential for The Coca-Cola company across e-B2B platforms, through food delivery as immediate consumption, through online with grocery retailers and finally – to a lesser extent than the others – direct-to-consumer.

Of these, Quincey said he is most excited about the opportunity to improve retailer relations through e-commerce digitization.

“From us to the retailers, there’s a huge opportunity for us to do much better in both the efficiency of selling and distribution and the ability to use the sales force to increase the value of the beverage category for the retailers just in digitizing the way we work with retailers,”​ he said.

He explained that he “absolutely”​ thinks that e-B2B will become the predominant way for independent customers as well as large retailers to order in the future.

“The idea of taking an order manually or because the store person is physically there is going to be a minority of the business,”​ he said, pointing as an example to Australia where half of the independent store owners already order through an e-B2B platform.

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