A lot of strategy and a little luck: Alcohol eCommerce best practices ft. HEINEKEN


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In 2022, online alcohol sales are projected to reach $2B. With eCommerce as a top driver of alcohol sales, how can you fine-tune your brand’s strategies to best engage shoppers? Julia Nizinski, Digital Media Director at HEINEKEN, joined Sasha Reyes-Guerra, MikMak’s Director of International Business Development, to discuss best practices in a recent webinar. The two shared their insights on what works for brands today in alcohol eCommerce.

What are the top products that are going to be purchased? 90 percent of consumers plan to purchase candy, and 88 percent plan to purchase food. So for grocery brands, here are some eCommerce insights and best practices for this Easter.

Alcohol eCommerce means being everywhere at once

Julia shared that HEINEKEN had already been focused on eCommerce before the pandemic, and they have been strengthening it since. While some of these efforts focused on digital shelf and relationship building with key distributors, Julia says that her main efforts on the media team are “to leverage shoppable media to drive online sales”.

That means full funnel media has become exceedingly important. “When people discover your brand online [today], they’re [so much more] ready to purchase,” Sasha explains. And once the consumer journey has begun, it takes place across multiple channels, making it necessary for brands to be anywhere their consumers are engaging. “We definitely saw a shift in our approach to buying media with the surge of eCommerce in the alcohol space,” Julia agreed. “[It] became important to us to link the bottom of the funnel with the top of the funnel and drive cohesion between [awareness and transaction]". 

One example of linking awareness with transactions was when HEINEKEN leveraged QR codes on their Hulu ads for AriZona Sunrise. This allowed consumers to purchase from the ad directly, and increased AriZona Sunrise’s purchase intent rate to 400 percent over their standing average and 47 percent higher than that of other alcohol brands.

How can your alcohol brand win over eCommerce in 2022? Watch our recent  webinar, A lot of strategy and a little luck: Alcohol eCommerce Best Practices

How to leverage the “third shelf” for alcohol eCommerce

Today, shoppers are engaging in social-first product discovery. If they aren’t ready to purchase upon product discovery, they might go to the retailer's website or to their search engine to learn more about the product. All of this has contributed to the growth of social commerce as the “third shelf”, and alcohol eCommerce is no exception. Sasha shared that today, the majority of eCommerce alcohol shoppers on the MikMak Platform are coming from Facebook and Instagram, and they prefer to check out on Instacart. Brands must be activating these channels to maximize their reach to consumers. 

When it comes to using creative assets on social media, Julia and Sasha explained that great creative has a very clear call to action that inspires purchase. Additionally, brands should:

  • Include a clear product shot (within 3 seconds)
  • Communicate the unique benefits of the product
  • Demonstrate the product being used
  • Use the product in context to spark inspiration 

2022 is full of unique trends and key moments

Collecting data around events can inform brands where and when they should be spending money so advertisements can reach consumers at the most opportune time to inspire purchase. Some events might need to be advertised weeks in advance, whereas others might just need a few days. The important part of deciding what to spend when is through collecting the necessary data and utilizing it.  

Sasha shared that 2022’s Super Bowl had a longer window of shopping leading up to the event, with a peak happening just two days before the event. Julia spoke on Heineken’s experience with key events like this, noting the importance of recognizing key selling periods for alcohol sales. “From a media perspective, once we identify those moments, we decide how we are going to support them from a paid perspective”, Julia shared. Utilizing first party data can inform how, when, and where to approach your consumer. Your marketing initiatives can be tailored to fit both your brand, and the people who want to buy it. 

Watch Sasha and Julia discuss these topics on demand by gaining exclusive access to our webinar, A lot of strategy and a little luck: Alcohol eCommerce Best Practices, available now.


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