Frozen food brand massively overtrades online, Birds Eye tells digital marketing roundtable

Frozen food massively overtrades online versus the total grocery category, Francis Nicholas, group head of e-commerce at Birds Eye parent, Nomad Foods, revealed at a roundtable hosted by performance marketing company HookLogic.

Nicholas told panelists Birds Eye’s online business accounted for 11% of sales versus 5% penetration for the total grocery market.

“We overtrade and we see that everywhere,” he said.

According to Nicholas, online enables brands to upsell solutions such as a kid’s meal, where different products can be brought together like the ingredients for a fish finger sandwich, for example. The challenge is translating that concept back in-store, he said; particularly where the freezer presents a physical barrier to purchase.

The reverse situation was true for Heineken, according to Nicola Harrison, the company’s online and digital development manager.

Beer undertrades online because of the different shopper missions, she said.

“The one mission it works well for is the planned party occasion but the key occasion is impulse and people are less susceptible to prompting when shopping online,” she told panelists.

HookLogic convened the panel of brands and marketers to discuss the role of e-commerce as a digital media platform versus traditional models.

Jonathan Opdyke, CEO HookLogic, said: “The disruption of e-commerce has led to a convergence between e-commerce and media and created an opportunity for retailers to be publishers. They hold the sales and shopping data. We enable brands to become performance marketers.”

Nicholas said his company viewed e-commerce as both a sales channel and an advertising medium – it drives both e-commerce and offline sales.

“For every dollar or pound spent online, you get a corresponding purchase off-line,” he said.

In-store sales are harder to quantify but they are really important, he added.

Harrison agreed online could be viewed as a promotional channel, as well for sales, and that it enables brands to create occasion-based marketing that cannot be achieved in-store.

Jon Buss, managing director, UK and Northern EMEA, at advertising technology company, Criteo, argued the biggest trend was towards personalisation and understanding the consumer – making sure the right product propositions are delivered across the right platforms. “There’s a long way to go to drive the right personalisation,” he said.

Buss said the challenge for retailers was “joining the dots” around a purchase journey – capturing in-store browsing behaviour and transaction data, for instance, which could then be associated with an email address in order to discover what else the shopper is doing.

The key, he stressed, lay in attributing value to where the transaction happens so that retailers can deliver a more personal message, which improves the user experience.

Growth in mobile traffic was a key trend for the panel too.

“It’s a shift that’s not slowing down,” said Opdyke.

For David Hutchinson, director, paid media, at digital performance marketing agency, iProspect, brands that put mobile first in their marketing strategy will win.