Unilever digital transformation lifts e-commerce sales in 2019

Unilever has revealed the positive impact of the digital transformation efforts at the consumer goods company.
Unilever digital investmentUnilever has sold goods worth €3.12 billion, representing 6 percent of the total sales, through e-commerce channels in 2019. For comparison, Unilever’s total sales touched €52 billion last year.

Unilever recently announced the appointment of Conny Braams as the global consumer goods company’s chief digital and marketing officer. Conny Braams, who has been with the company for the past 30 years, is responsible for Unilever’s digital transformation initiatives.

Unilever said its brand and marketing investment increased by €70 million in 2019. One of the main focus areas for Unilever was digital areas.

“We achieved efficiencies in our marketing spend through investment in new digital tools and capabilities and tracking of our spend effectiveness. These measures ensure that we can remain invested behind our core brands whilst also delivering productivity gains,” Unilever CFO Graeme Pitkethly said.

Unilever has built 38 digital hubs and 38 U-Studios at a total cost, which is 30 percent cheaper than buying in that service outside.
Unilever Conny Braams

Unilever in 2018

The e-commerce sales of Unilever rose 47 percent, ahead of global e-commerce market, last year thanks to its investment in digital tools.

Unilever said there is less reliance on big box retailers with e-commerce growing 13 percent globally, driven by direct-to-consumer models and platforms such as Amazon and Alibaba. The market is polarising between specialist channels and discounters and convenience stores, creating both risks and opportunities for FMCG companies.

Unilever serves consumers through 10 channels: hyper and supermarkets, e-commerce, out of home, drug stores, small stores, discounters, Food Solutions, Unilever International, prestige channel and global retail.

Unilever serves around 26 million retail stores and it covers eight million directly and another 18 million indirectly through wholesale and cash & carry.

Unilever is driving B2C and B2B e-commerce in our top 30 markets. The focus is to build a balanced e-commerce business model, growing across e-retailers, bricks and mortar online sales and direct-to-consumer businesses.

Unilever is utilizing data insights in order to connect directly with a billion of consumers. The company has already automated over 700 processes – saving time and reducing cost in its operations.  Unilever is focusing on the digital up-skilling of own people through in-house training programs.

Unilever has 30 platforms across Unilever which power business using digital technologies. The company’s Enterprise & Technology Solutions team delivers a technologically enabled Unilever for the future while ensuring that processes and activities are shared and scaled across the business.

Unilever has begun to use AI, machine learning and voice related technologies to deliver personalised and immersive experiences to consumer platforms such as Recipedia and Cleanipedia websites.