With its new online “Shop Beer Gear” store and the consolidated commerce platform, Faviano said the brand marketers get better metrics, like driving traffic to the store or getting a consumer to add something to an online cart. Merchandise sales in the first quarter of 2019 have already exceeded all of last year, he said, pumping more data into the ecommerce engine.
AB InBev can also use its centralized sales data more effectively across the brand portfolio. For instance, Bud Light is the biggest NFL sponsor, and NFL-branded items that sell well could help segment audiences or provide research data for the company’s other sports marketing deals.
The ability to re-engage ecommerce visitors and create audience segments is also pushing forward the company’s direct-to-consumer marketing evolution, Faviano said. Analyzing site visitors was never a priority before, with beer sales all going through retailers and liquor stores that don’t return customer data to the brands.
But AB InBev’s ecommerce investments will become even more valuable to the marketing team. Right now, the “Shop Beer Gear” store carries only AB InBev branded items, but eventually licensing partners in sports and entertainment could feature products in the shop and put paid media behind it, adding a new revenue line to the ecommerce business. And starting next month, the company plans to integrate the ecommerce drive with two of its loyalty programs.
The ecommerce data also indirectly reshapes Anheuser-Busch’s marketing. The company is increasing its search budget because the online store and new funnel conversions like add-to-cart help prove how SEO lifts sales, Faviano said. “With the consolidated store and ecommerce effort, we have much stronger visibility into things that maybe didn’t seem so critical but now we’re seeing they help keep up with impulse buying.”