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Brown-Forman ‘digital shelf’ provides top-flight ecommerce

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With bars shuttering worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic, liquor distillers lost significant avenues through which to sell their spirits in 2020. Brown-Forman, the 151-year-old distiller of Jack Daniels whiskey and other spirits, countered the crisis by promoting its “digital shelf,” an initiative to make product images, videos, and other content available to retail partners and distributors.

Dubbed BAR+ (for brand, asset, resources), this strategy helped Brown-Forman grow ecommerce sales by triple digits, albeit from a small base, according to Nielsen data. “We accelerated projects already under way to make us competitive in the ecommerce and digital marketplace,” says Tim Nall, Brown-Forman CIO and advanced analytics officer, who drove the digital shelf initiative.

Quick pivots to ensure businesses remain successful played out in every industry as organizations raced to maintain and grow connections with customers via digital channels.

“Consumers already in the habit of interacting often with many digital touchpoints have predictably gone all in with relative ease as brands supercharge the digital facets of the experience,” according to Forrester Research’s June note about digital customer experience (CX) and design trends. From virtualizing customer engagements to curbside and home deliveries, companies now routinely weave together physical and digital experiences.

Fortifying the digital shelf

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