Unilever: Ecommerce a must

Companies that don’t build an online business could lose some of their brick-and-mortar business.

“Lose online; lose offline,” Doug Straton, Unilever’s director of North American e-Commerce Center of Excellence, said in a Shopper Marketing Summit presentation.

Doug Straton, director of Unilever's North American e-Commerce Center of ExcellenceWhile some consumer packaged goods companies may question whether it pays to address a business that currently represents about 1% of sales, Straton said marketers should focus more on channel migration versus incrementalism.

“If you don’t capture migration, you will lose,” he said.

Straton leads Unilever’s North American eCommerce Center of Excellence, which develops digital capabilities, shopper insights and ecommerce best practices.

Straton acknowledged that some companies may agree to creating ecommerce capabilities on a small level, agreeing to just a part-time position versus an entire team.

“You have to build a case why you need an ecommerce team,” he said. “You have to be convincing.”

Among the ways to sell ecommerce to higher-ups: Highlight the key drivers and effect on the broader landscape; define profits and loss impacts over long time frames; and identify gaps versus the competition, said Straton.

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