How Mondelēz Drives Value into the eCommerce Flywheel

Presenter:

Neil Ackerman
Director, Global eCommerce
Mondelēz International

Details:

Fueling the ecommerce flywheel is essential to drive more revenue and achieve business objectives. Selection, price, content, traffic, and search all play a role. But it isn’t always clear where to start or what to measure to keep the flywheel spinning freely. Listen to this on-demand webinar where Mondelēz’s Director of Global eCommerce, Neil Ackerman, will explain how you can address this challenge.

During the presentation  you will learn:

  • How Mondelēz adds value to their eCommerce fly wheel with a concentration on selection, price, content, traffic, and search
  • The processes and teams Mondelēz has in place to keep their ecommerce flywheel spinning freely
  • The analytics that Mondelēz uses to track the efficiency of their ecommerce flywheel

 

Speaker Bio:

Neil Ackerman

 Neil Ackerman is the Director of Global eCommerce for Mondelēz International focused on supply chain efficiency, data analytics, and technology innovation. Prior to this role, Neil spent three years at Amazon as the General Manager of Fulfillment By Amazon, inventing and leading the newly launched global Small and Light program. At Amazon, Neil has been awarded the prestigious “Just Do It” Award for his work on improving selection and delivery speed. Before joining Amazon, he spent 14 years at Philip Morris companies. Neil holds 13 US patents, speaks at many ecommerce and business strategy conferences worldwide, and has been quoted and written about in WSJ, Bloomberg, Inc., CNBC and numerous international publications. Follow Neil: LinkedIn

 

Host: The ecommerce flywheel is well-known term to those in the ecommerce industry. It has origins in the Amazon flywheel, the infamous diagram that Jeff Bezos supposedly drew on a napkin as he was conceiving the growth strategy for Amazon. The idea of a flywheel of course is that the faster you propel one part of the flywheel, the faster all parts of the flywheel go. So the question becomes: where are the points of influence that manufacturers have to accelerate their own ecommerce flywheel?

To answer this question we are very excited to be joined today by Neil Ackerman. Neil is the Director of Global ecommerce for Mondelez international, focused on supply chain efficiency, data analytics and technology innovation. Prior to this role Neil spent three years at Amazon as a General Manager of Fulfillment by Amazon, inventing and leading the newly launched “small and light” program. At Amazon Neil has been awarded the prestigious just do it award for his work on improving selection and delivery speed. Before joining Amazon he spent 14 years at Philip Morris companies. He holds 13 U.S. patents, speaks at many ecommerce and business strategy conferences worldwide, and has been quoted and written about in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Inc., CNBC and numerous international publications. Neil we are very excited to have you today — over to you.

Neil: Thank you very much; I’m really happy to be here talking about my favorite topic. It’s something that I know that a lot of folks always want to go to different conferences; they love talking about it. And the goal of this presentation is for each and every person to walk away with something that they can go do and be successful in whatever business that they’re in. Of course there will be questions at the end. And if you wanted to get to me after this just contact Clavis and work that out, and then we’ll go from there. So as we go I’ll give some things so I hope you have a pen and paper there for taking some notes. And hopefully we’ll achieve that goal where at the end you say, this 45 minutes is a lot of value. Let’s get started because we only have about 30 minutes and I want to get through this.

So this is really a big reflection of a sign of the times today. I have three children and the way that these folks communicate is, I want something and it’s not any more good enough just to say “and I’m going to write a little list” and they actually give me the ASIN. And they want the specific selection. Or if they don’t like it this way, they’ll go up to Alexa and say “Alexa” — which is the Amazon Echo — “please add the Pirate Ship LEGO to my shopping list.” And that Pirate Ship LEGO would be added to their shopping list. Alexa has a special place in their heart; they think Alexa’s like the new Santa Claus. And it may not be too far from the truth. Next slide.

Essentially what we’ve got here is players like Amazon.com in North America, Walmart.com and then other, what I call, various startups that have turned e-tailing into a top 100 business. And as you know Amazon is really right there with Walmart with market cap. I mean who would have guessed? When I was at Philip Morris in 1998, I was hanging up signs at a Walmart in Hoosick Falls, all the way up in upstate New York/Vermont area. And I remember thinking: man no one is ever going to beat Walmart — can never happen. And here I am representing just in 2016 a whole new change.

So there are lots of ways to win at ecommerce. And we’re going to talk about those ways to do it. I have a great team in Seattle that I work with. And what is great about them is first of all they’re highly intelligent and they are very strategic. And they understand data. But they also understand one important thing. What they understand, which is the same thing that Sam Walton said — and it’s the same thing that Amazon does; it’s the same thing that many businesses in Seattle do whether it’s Nordstrom or Costco or Starbucks — and that’s to exceed the customers’ expectations. When you focus on the customer you always win. By focusing on them you increase customer demand. So that introduces us to the seven topics that we’re going to get into today, which is going to be “infinitely increasing customer demand.” What we’re going to do is as I take you through these, I’m going to try get some stories and try to relate it to different businesses. And then hopefully at the end there is some more value in this dialog.

So let’s start. It all starts with trust. Trust is the driver of your success with customers. So if you click a little bit four circles are going to come up. They’re going to say: reviews, ratings, repeat purchases and subscriptions. And leave it there for a second. A couple of things here.

For those of you who know me, they know that I’m a stickler for reviews and ratings. The first thing to take away from this if you are writing down a list is: read your customers’ reviews and respond to those reviews. When I go to conferences and I ask people to raise their hand of who have read them, half the room raises them. When I ask who responded to them, almost no one raises them. You have the option to respond to them. Please communicate with your customers. They’re communicating with you. If they’re complaining, please don’t ignore it because that means other people are complaining. If they’re you you’re great, please say thank you. Everyone loves a compliment. Also if they’re going to subscribe to something, and they think that it’s going to be shipped to them every two weeks or four weeks, don’t ever miss a date. And don’t ever ship a broken product. Because you will lose trust. You will not get a repeat purchase. And then when they complain about you online, don’t complain that they’ve complained about you. Go fix it.

There is a story that I’m sure you could all do at your companies. The story goes for a Mondelez company something like this. If someone is saying that their cookie is crushed or broken, we’re better off contacting them and engaging that consumer and making a good experience than we are ignoring it and letting them get more cookies that are broken. So that’s the general gist of trust. It leads to “buy it again,” more subscriptions and a happier consumer at the end. That’s trust.

Next one: convenience. It’s not okay to let the status quo stay. It’s only okay to make it better. I have never heard in my life someone saying: I’m never going to go shop there because it’s too convenient or that was too easy I would rather just do something more complicated. That does not happen. So when you’re selling online, it’s not just Amazon. There’s a number of platforms that you should be offering your product because everyone goes to different platforms. Some of them are going to want to go to Zulily because they shop there quite often. Some will go to Groupon. Some will go to Vox. Some will go to, in this case in the U.S., they’ll go to Walmart, Amazon, Kroger. They’ll just go. So you gotta be on all these platforms. So you have to understand in detail your product and is it actually convenient to buy. So if you’re selling a product and that product is under $10: Does that mean that the customer can actually order it? Because that may not be totally true. If you’re on Walmart, you may have to have a shipping pass to get it or you may have to have a basket of $50 to get it. If you’re on Amazon you may actually be in the add-on program, which means you can’t get it unless you spend the minimum basket. If you’re on a supermarket site for grocery, you probably have a minimum threshold closer to $75, $100 or $50. So you have to understand what are what I call the barriers to the order. And then you have to build something that reduces that barrier.

For example, in Mondelez we make a breakfast biscuit called belVita. Originally that breakfast biscuit was on sale for under $10. By simply changing the assortment and creating a variety pack with more quantities in one pack, getting that price closer to $15, our sales went up significantly. And more importantly the consumer was happier because they can buy it as a Prime customer with no minimum basket, just get that, get it in two days or on PrimeNow in 1 hour, and be satisfied with the purchase at a good price. So convenience matters. I would also say that when your items go: really think about and understand how long it’s taking for that item to be picked, packed and shipped, delivered to the consumer. You don’t want to be part of a platform that’s taking a week to get something. You gotta put pressure on the platforms to keep improving their supply chain and get faster delivery. No one ever says, “oh my goodness I got that too fast.” I’ve never heard that. They normally say, “wow, I got that fast; that was really convenient; I think I’m going to do this again.” Some common sense practices, but really important as we go. Let’s keep going here.

There is a question that came up — before I actually go to availability — about reviews on Amazon as I’m reading through here. And I love that question. And maybe some see it and some don’t. I would say the spirit of the question is: What do we do about some of these bad reviews? And what are some of the ways that we can go around fixing it? Well the first thing I do is I communicate. So if you were going to have a process step, step 1 would be let’s analyze this review and figure out what’s true, what’s not. Step 2, let’s communicate with either Amazon or whoever retailer got this review and see if there’s other reviews like it. Because how do we know that it’s not true? Maybe we’re learning something here. So we want to know about that. If it’s a bad review and it’s honest, then we should be honest and respond to it and say, “look we made a mistake and here’s how we can make it better.” I would never hide something; I would always be honest about it. If that review was given and it was false, you could say it’s a counterfeit review or someone just trying to say something not nice. You know, that’s life, it happens. Here’s the good news: Just because there’s a bad review doesn’t mean everyone listens to it and decides that that is the truth. Reviews are what they are. You should have…I’m sure you’re going to have a mix of good reviews and a mix of bad reviews. And the best part is consumers decide, not the review. So I wouldn’t get myself all stressed out about one or two bad reviews. And I wouldn’t get myself stressed out about one or two good reviews. I would make sure that my reviews are consistent; that I know where I want to focus my efforts when I communicate back to consumers or back to the vendor or the platform; and I would focus on the quality of product because in the end that’s how I’m going to win. That’s how I’m going to win.

There’s another question here. I’ll tell you what I’ll keep going through the slides and we’ll go back to the questions because we’re going to run out of time if we do it this way. So let’s just hold on on that one, but I do see your question and we’ll go to it in a minute.

On availability, a few points I wanted to say here. First is that you can’t sell it if it’s not in stock. And you already know that so the question has to be: what does your forecasting and demand look like? How do you know? Do you have data-driven evidence that says that your forecasting is right and that you’re not going to be out of stock. What I’d say to you is you should always be looking at that model every few weeks and making sure your metrics are on track and that you don’t have to make adjustments. Because I guarantee you in the world of ecommerce, especially new brands and new selections when you put them on, you’re going to have to make sure they stay in stock. And you also don’t want to ship too many because you don’t want to get caught up with all these storage fees either — depending on who you are right now because remember anyone could be on this call: it could be manufacturers; it could be marketplace sellers. So inventory control: very important.

Operational metrics. If you do operate your own widget production, then you want to make sure you’re following whatever rule that is relative to the supply chain. In our case at Mondelez, we focus on vendor lead time. And we want to make sure that when we say we deliver, we actually deliver. We focus on quantity. We don’t want to have shortages. We don’t want to have overages. We want to be perfect. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be perfect. Being perfect is a great thing to strive for. So you should put mechanisms in place and measures to be as perfect as you can be. Is it going to happen the first time? No. But just like a good review or bad review, you should be honest with yourself about what you can do, what to improve upon, and start working at that. Operations is tough. Supply chain: tough. But here’s the great news: ecommerce is basically — and here’s a big statement, right? — it’s a supply chain business. It’s a business of moving a widget from one spot to another, getting another tucked into a box, and the box going to the consumer. This is serious logistics with serious cost implications. So you better understand your fixed cost, your variable costs and your trans costs.

Alright: service. In service here’s the thing. Someone complains: What is your measure of “okay?” Can you get back to them in 48 hours? Is that okay? Do you get back to them on Monday because you don’t work on the weekends? Is that okay? What is “okay?” Here’s the way I know that Amazon thinks about it: “okay” is 15 seconds. So you pick up 7 days a week within 15 seconds — that’s okay. Anything over 15 seconds — not okay. Does Amazon transfer you to numerous people? No. They do not. They resolve the problem. Why? Because most problems can be resolved with under $20. So is it really worth having an argument and transferring people all around to solve the problem — in our case of the cookie — for a $10 item? No. It is not. So the resolution time is very important. Customers don’t need to be on the phone all day. They’re interacting with you. Make it a fabulous experience. You have their attention. You pay millions of dollars to get their attention. And now they called you. So you have their attention. How will you use this time? Will you use it to argue? Or will you use it to enhance the relationship? I pray that you use it to enhance the relationship because, you’re spending so much money on marketing, they’re standing there saying: I’m actually a buyer of your product. Please help me. You should help them. You should never accept a satisfaction rating less than perfect. There’s no reason to be less than perfect. Now you’ll say: but that’s really hard. Yes it’s really hard. Is being perfect possible? Yes. Is being perfect possible all the time? No. So make sure you have a play book of how you want to work with customers and how you want to get feedback and what you want to achieve when they call on their issues.

Next slide is going to focus on content. Content: I explain it like this. Many of you come from a background like me where people go around and make beautiful displays in stores. And they’re gorgeous. They take pictures of them and they give awards for them. But the problem is the same thing isn’t driven online. Online is like a picture of a product. It generally does not have the big event that a store has. And I don’t know why. Online is getting millions of glances a day on your product. Millions. The in-store presentation may only get a few hundred. Pay attention to your online content. This is very important because so many millions of people are watching it. You need to have it seamless, from what’s going on in the store to what’s going on online. Is that hard? Yes. And you’re going to need content management tools to organize that. Some people call it a product information management. Some people call it digital asset management. Some people call it a server with images. Some people don’t call it anything, and they kind of just disorganize it in their My Documents folder. I don’t care. This is not going to be a whole meeting on the technology you use for content. What it is going to be is on having it and making sure your content works. When you have good content, you have a sales lift. How do I know? The data says so. And Amazon says so. And as a manufacturer of food, I know so because that’s exactly what’s happened with us.

The next slide is going to focus on selection. This is a great story here because what we have found at Mondelez is that when you improve selection, you improve consumer satisfaction. They come back. They try different flavors. And you win. So just like my favorite food is donuts — I eat a lot of donuts — I also know that I like a variety of my donuts. And I like a variety of things online. And so do you. Over here I would say there are things to focus on. One, you want to have some variety packs because the data shows people enjoy the variety packs. Two, you want to make sure you stay above that threshold on pricing. So that way your selection is available for actual purchase and convenient to get. Three, you want to have a variety of your flavors. Don’t just say well Golden Oat is only going to be in the store and not online. That’s not logical because if you don’t sell it then a third-party seller will. As a result now what’s going to happen is you could have been communicating to your consumer directly and selling it. But instead you allowed a third-party seller to be your voice and sell it to the consumer. Why would someone do that? — if they spent all that time in marketing and making the product and all the time and effort and sweat to build the perfect product and market it beautifully and then let someone else, a third party, sell it in the supply chain that you don’t know who they are. That’s not logical. So I would say make sure you focus on your selection, and make sure your supply chain is aligned with that selection. Because there’s no reason to not be selling old products that you’re sweating and working on. It’s all your work. Don’t lose it.

What else we got here? Oh yes: pricing. Let’s go to pricing. On pricing here’s few point that would be interesting possibly. Don’t always say, oh I’m always going to be the cheapest. Here’s the thing about pricing. Yes it’s true: no one ever says I wish it was more expensive. They always say I want it cheaper. We all get that. But you know that’s not always real. There is a convenience factor for going online. If you look through the studies, not just this call but real studies, they tell you you can get a slight premium of convenience when you’re online. Not of all products. And it depends; this is a general presentation. But many products. Not all products. But many products. There’s elasticity that’s involved in your products and you should know what that is. You should also understand the average sales price. You know what? Someone nay buy it from you and get ripped off. But they’re not going to buy it twice from you and get ripped off. They’re going to know. So if you want sustainability, you should give a fair price. And sometimes a promotion. You know, a reward for them engaging with you. It’s okay to have a promotion. When you do price variation: good idea. You should have a price variation for different assortments. If I’m selling three Oreos, well maybe that’s going to be $9. If I’m selling four Oreos, $12. Maybe if I sell six Oreos, maybe it won’t be on the same math; maybe I’ll give a little discount because they’re buying six. The point is pricing is a key part of our flywheel. And it’s a key part for you to make sure you understand. Quite often when I speak to folks, I ask them to make me a grid. Tell me the pricing that they’re offering and the pricing of all the third-party sellers and other competitors that are in that category and let me know where you stood. Recently I was on the phone with a friend of mine who had a widget. And this person was always a price higher per ounce than all the other competitors in this widget of liquid. And so this liquid widget was higher price per ounce — and then want to know: how come they weren’t selling it? Well because price is really important. And people aren’t stupid. That’s why. And so you can’t just walk around with a huge price premium when no one else has the same price premium. It’s a sensitive issue. You have to be careful with it and work very carefully.

So overall what you’ll see in this flywheel is that when you focus on all these areas — and hopefully you’re writing down a few things as you go of what maybe you’d want to do as a manufacturer; or as a seller; or as just a wholesaler in this flywheel; even as a retailer because this applies to the retail business as well; or if you’re a retailer and you’re trying to figure out what’s going on online — hopefully this helps you to see some of the factors that people should be thinking about when they go to sell online to compete with you. There are a few zingers that I’d want to put here for you to write down.

The first one would be, “he who wins the buy box wins the sale.” What that means is when you have this flywheel: he who wins the buy box, wins the sale. Very important. You go down an aisle at a store, you got many, many options and many flags and point-of-sales paper flying at you and graphics and price points. Online you don’t have that. You have a one-screen world that says, I’m in a one-screen world — he who wins the buy box wins the sale. And in fact over 90% of the time, whoever wins the buy box does indeed win the sale. So you may have a great price, but if nobody could find it then it really doesn’t matter. It’s not like there’s a circular or someone at the front of the store saying, look at this, you should go see this. There’s no end cap. That’s it. Win the buy box, win the sale — it’s a one-screen world. Those are some little zingers when you’re in a meeting and you want to sound smart you just say “one-screen world” and you can walk out, something like that.

Where do you start? So I had a good dialog with my friends at Clavis. And thank you so much for hosting this call; I love doing these calls. And I love talking with folks and getting questions; even if you don’t want to ask it that’s cool too. You can always get me through Clavis or on LinkedIn or something. But where do you start? So first, please have selection, as Clavis would tell you also. Make sure you can be found. Don’t have five search terms. I mean you worked so hard on these products. You must have more than five words that you can tell me about your products. How about like 700? Be discoverable. Challenge yourself. Get big on these terms. And remember on these words, not everyone is a Webster’s dictionary. I am not the best speller. So please try to spell them differently. Because cookie could be spelled many ways. So make sure that you know all the different ways.

Ensure that you’re accurate. What’s in the title? Ready? Everything.  Because if you have the wrong title or you say the wrong ounces or you don’t know what your product is, no one else will know either. You’ll be shocked how often the title is wrong. Worse you’ll be shocked often the images are grainy or not res enough or these weird images. Please don’t do that. You spent, some of you may have spent, millions of dollars on your product. Get a photographer or buy yourself a nice camera and make a beautiful picture with a white background. Very easy to do.

Next. Get the right assortment. Don’t just say, this is for online and this is for offline…we don’t do it this way; we don’t do it that way. Get all the assortment. There’s no reason not to. The computer is limitless. You can have thousands and thousands of SKUs. It’s okay. People will find what they want. You should deliver it.

And last: engage. Now there’s questions, right? What do I do about this engagement and that engagement. And a lot of you will have questions. I don’t know every specific brand and manufacturer and category. But overall I know this: customers want to hear from you. When a customer reaches out to you, always engage. Silence will not be successful. It’s not successful. I’ve never heard of someone saying, I was so happy because they never responded to me and I never heard from them. That is ridiculous. Always engage. Even on bad, even on good. And be honest. People see through things that aren’t honest. Everyone does. They may not admit it but they all do. Everyone knows when something’s not honest. Please be honest.

 

As part of this conversation, I want to talk about our relationship. We have a relationship with Clavis. We find them to be, you probably could guess, excellent partners for us. They do help us with the flywheel. The biggest thing that you should know that we find useful with them is that by them scraping many sights and partnering with us on how to actually scrape these sights and partnering with us on how to get certain data, we get ourselves some pretty big insights as to what we’re doing — whether it’s related to customer reviews and ratings, where it’s where our images should be better, whether it’s where our search terms need improvement or something as simple as in stock. When are we not in stock? So a lot of these things may sound elementary. But when you’re a very big company like we are, you need a way to scale this. We now scale this around the world, accelerating our flywheel. And, yeah again, is it hard? Yes. Anything worth doing is hard. Do you have to do everything Mondelez does? No. You do what’s good for you. Do I think that there’s some learnings that we have? Sure. Are all those learnings going to apply to you? No. So I think when you work with Clavis and you figure out what your brands are and what you’re trying to do, that would give you the insight of where to start. And we did the same thing. And that’s what I would recommend for that.

 

So I do this to go back to the quote earlier, but the bottom line is here that when you have a partner like a Clavis or you have a very strong team, which I’m very proud to be a part of working at Mondelez, who are all focused on the right inputs, you will have the right outputs. So inputs are things like the ratings, the reviews, images, the traffic, the glance views. And the outputs are things like your revenue and your units. So what I would say to you is — on the next slide and my last slide — “the customer is king.” And when you focus on the inputs, you will get the outputs. So if you’d say to me, what do I do? I’d say everything I told you today was inputs. You never heard me say on any of my slides: what’s your revenue? revenue, revenue, revenue… I did not say that. I said these are the seven pieces of the flywheel. Fix these pieces. Your revenue will come. Don’t fix these pieces. Revenue won’t come. That’s how it works. It’s like a little…it’s actually so simple sometimes, but yet so complicated. Alright. So let’s take a look here. Okay so we’re running out of time. So now that we have officially just about running out of time here, I’ll pass it back to my friend Danny and we’ll see what else he wants to talk about. And we’ll see about any Q&A’s that we can get to. Thank you so much for your time.

 

Host: Fantastic Neil, thank you. I always admire your humor and directness that you take to the topic and take things that seem very complex and difficult and make them very simple when you bring it into the context of what it means to the shopper and the flywheel. So thank you for your very powerful insights and actionable tips today.

 

Neil I did want to go back to the question that popped up earlier. There was a question around hearing — I’m going to actually lead the witness a little bit — but we hear different things from different vendor managers. In some cases working with Amazon, we talk about responding to ratings and reviews. There are some who say they prefer manufacturers are not directly responding. What’s your point of view — from both your direct experience having worked at Amazon and then now on the manufacturer side — both specifically around whether or not to respond to reviews? And then also dealing with perhaps differing information that conflicts from one source to another when it comes to working with them?

Neil: It’s a philosophical question. Because at the end of this debate — about one vendor manager says and what other vendor manager say — you have to ask a key question in yourself. Who owns the consumer? Do you? Or does the platform that you’re selling on? And I would say that you own the consumer. And at Mondelez we own the consumer. If you’re a consumer-centric company, you can’t just let people tell you you can’t communicate to customers. That’s not consumer centric. So I would say that you have to push back when someone says I don’t want you responding. Because it’s your brand. Everyone’s going to be quick to blame you, trust me, if something happened. It’s not like…you know, they only want you when the bad times come. Well they want you for both. And you should demand both. And so that has been my response. And I’d say well you may not want us responding, but here’s the thing: we own the consumer. Our brands are bought by the consumer. After they get it from your platform, they’re enjoying that brand with their family and friends. And having those moments of joy and remembering. People remember where they were when they had that Oreo cookie. And we want to be part of that experience. And we deserve it. So I know that there’s going to be idiosyncrasies to this answer with different manufacturers. And I know we can’t answer every single category. And I am sure as I think in my head about some categories where this becomes more complex, that’s probably best for off the call or a different type of format. But overall it’s a philosophical question. Because I believe you own it; you should own your consumer. The minute you think you don’t, I think that’s when someone else is going to come in and take you brand share. Because everyone wants to be part of something.

Host: Great. Thanks Neil. Another question that I’d like to go to, this is one that we also get often. It’s been put forth both as fact as well as myth that retailers prefer not to have identical content to other retailers. Having unique content is believed to be a differentiator and help improve Google search. But identical content neutralizes your impact on search within Google and other search engines. Can you share a little bit of your wisdom around how you optimize content and think about content in particular across retailers within the same market?

Neil: Sure. I don’t know if it’s wisdom. But it’s definitely an opinion. Here’s the philosophy that I personally believe in. And I know that Mondelez also believes in. We want a seamless experience for our customers and for our brands. So yes, we would love to have a beautiful…let’s say it’s summer, something very neutral.  It’s summer. And we have a summer promotion going on. We would love to have that summer promotion on let’s say Oreo across all the stores the same and of course online and have the message of this is our summer promotion or Halloween promotion. And this is our consistent message across the board. And to ensure that we improve Google, we would leverage something like the Google Manufacturing Center, which is a, for those of you who don’t know, it’s not actually a manufacturing center. It’s a ISNP piece of infrastructure that you input lots of data into. And it helps with the search engine in finding the items on Google to be accurate. So there are tools to do this. I think the crux of this is, we want it to be seamless. We want it to have a consistent message in that, let’s say, two- or three-week period and change to the next message. But you should work with these platforms to do so. You know if Google comes back, in this example, and says, you’d improve your search if you had unique content, I would actually question back to them and say, what do you mean? By how much? What do you mean improve my search? Improve by what data points? And then I’d want to know…but that’s not consistent with what I’m trying to do as a brand. And I’d push back and say, Google you should help us with what we’re trying to do as a brand. Because we own the consumer and we’re trying to get our message across to them. I don’t know on every single category what’s the best response. I can tell you though overall, in working with Google quite often, they’re open to ideas and inventions. And if you feel you could do something special, by all means try it and do something special. But I would also stick to your consistent seamless message as much as you can because consumers don’t just stay in one spot. They’re not like these weird robots. They go everywhere. And I would love for them to see the message of my brand everywhere they go in a consistent fashion across that geography as appropriate, of course.

 

Host: Great, thanks. And we have time for one more question. To those that we did not get to we will respond to you directly after the webinar. But if you could share some global perspective. There’s a few different questions here but ultimately we ecommerce mature at varying rates around the world; be it Europe, be it America, South America, Asia. Are there any consistencies or consistent themes that you see that manufacturers can take advantage of to accelerate adoption of ecommerce, particularly within these grocery and health and beauty categories?

Neil: Yeah a couple of things. One — and this is consistent across every category for the last 10 years in ecommerce — for those on the phone that are you just said grocery and health and beauty I think, for those that are doing that your time is about to come. The hockey stick is on its way. So when you look and you start at books and media, and then you go down that path and you see sporting goods and then you go down that path and you see lawn and garden and fashion… And what did everyone say? Won’t happen. Won’t happen. And what happened? It all happened. And I remember just a couple of years ago: Fashion? No one wants to by fashion online. Oh they want to try it on. Right. Right. Tell that to all the fashion companies making billions of dollars selling it online. And I would say to you: One, first thing, it’s coming. If you don’t have planning for it, start planning because you can’t get around it. ecommerce is here to stay. Embrace the change. Love the change, and you will win. Two, adopt yourself a flywheel. It doesn’t have to be this one. It doesn’t matter. Pick one that you think would work. What are your choices? You don’t get choices. You get to strategically make one that you think will be good for you. And if you don’t know what to do, just take this one. Or start another one. This isn’t like deep brain surgery. It’s just these are some of the things to maybe focus on. Maybe you have other things you want to focus on. So I’d do that too. And then I guess the last thing would have to be make less friction. You must reduce friction in ecommerce to grow your platform. So if you’re in grocery and health and beauty, demand that the platforms reduce friction for consumers. The faster they reduce friction, the faster your flywheel spins, the faster you grow. You’re happy and you win the one-screen world. When you lose the one-screen world in health and beauty and grocery, you will lose the sale because you price is not high enough for people to go around looking to see. It’s not like a thousand dollar TV. There’s Oreo, you know; people eat it and a few weeks later or days later depending upon who you are, you eat it again. Got it? So you gotta focus on your items and know your categories and make sure you reduce friction.