Richard Webster: Winning the Race for Digital Commerce



Even when large consumer goods companies have a strategy for claiming the e-commerce space, it's often not properly funded, allowing smaller insurgent brands to capture market share. Richard Webster, a partner with Bain's Consumer Products practice, outlines four things companies can do to ensure success in digital commerce.

Read the Bain Brief: Winning the Race for Digital Commerce

Read the transcript below.

RICHARD WEBSTER: More and more consumers are shopping online, and it's a great opportunity for CPGs, but we see a paradox emerging, which is the following: Digital accounts are a significant portion of retail growth in many markets and many categories. Equally, most CPGs would say they haven't yet got a strategy to win. And those that do have a strategy will often say it's not properly funded to date. And therefore, we actually see the winners are often smaller, more insurgent brands who are claiming the space and taking share from the incumbents. But we don't think this has to be.

We think there's a real opportunity for the large CPGs to take ownership back of this agenda by doing four things. The first thing is actually a return strategy: What are we really trying to do in digital commerce? And thinking about this, not just in terms of digital commerce, but actually your overall channel strategy. How does this redefine the way that we're going to be selling to our consumers?

The second piece is the concept of micro-battles. Trying to move something like winning global e-commerce is a huge task, but by breaking it down into the pieces that really matter (win in Asia e-commerce, win in China, win in Timor on Singles' Day) the task can become much more manageable and progress can be made.

The third piece is around having the perfect online shopping experience right at the heart of what you're trying to do. If you work with your channel partners to create an excellent experience for the shopper, you'll be successful.

The fourth piece is about how you work. Too often it's about a job which is done by someone, part time, over the course of a year, rather than a cross-functional team, highly focused on a few key outcomes, working in weekly sprints to make a difference.

And we found if you apply all four of those things, you will capture the growth, and you will drive e-commerce sales.

Read the Bain Brief: Winning the Race for Digital Commerce