How BEES Is Using Braze and Segment to Accelerate B2B Digital Transformation for Anheuser Busch Inbev
While the B2C side of retail businesses has undergone a digital transformation over the past 10 to 15 years, the B2B side of retail businesses is still catching up. Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) is taking the lead on advancing the new B2B digital landscape for food and beverage retailers with its BEES ecosystem.
Launched in 2019 and originally designed to enable ABI’s small- to -medium-sized retail customers to search for ABI products, place orders, arrange deliveries, track their orders, earn rewards, manage invoices, and access business insights all from one digital platform, BEES now has a presence in 20 countries and serves almost 3 million small businesses. The proprietary platform is expanding—now serving as a multicategory third-party marketplace for food and beverage B2B retailers to get all of the core products they need to keep their shelves stocked in one place.
At FORGE 2022, our annual customer engagement conference, we spoke with Jason Feldman, Global Director, Customer Experience, BEES, Anheuser-Busch InBev, about how BEES is using Braze, Segment, and other technology capabilities to help both retailers and their marketplace’s partners (suppliers) grow and accelerate their digital transformation.
Customer journey mapping the B2B wholesale-retail journey and the birth of BEES
What started as a pilot with 500 retailers based in the Dominican Republic, BEES is the result of effective customer journey mapping and has greatly evolved since its inception. ABI conducts customer journey analyses to uncover, understand, and address pain points along the B2B retailer journeys.
As recently as 2019, retailers that wanted to order ABI products didn’t have a way to purchase these items digitally. Instead, a sales representative would visit the retailer in person, physically take the client’s order, and enter it into a sales system—and that’s still how things work for many other CPG brands.
“That order-taking process was the first thing we looked to solve and that’s where BEES as the application really solved that pain point,” says Jason.
By working with Braze, the company has been able to digitize their NPS survey, which led the brand to learn about another major customer pain point: retailers were struggling to get visibility into their ABI orders. Specifically, retailers wanted to know where their items were in transit, whether they would receive their full order, and if there would be any delays with their order.
BEES not only captured these insights using Braze, the team utilized our cross-channel messaging capabilities to send real-time push notifications and in-app messaging to address this customer pain point and improve the customer experience.
Another way BEES is taking advantage of Braze messaging capabilities is to build out automated campaigns that address the core B2B journey of the wholesale business’s retailer customers, particularly for customer support tickets.
In the past, retailers had to reach out to the contact center for support, but now these stores can open support tickets via the BEES platform as well as over the phone, get real-time notifications confirming their ticket has been created with a deep link to the ticket, and if an agent needs additional information, that follow up happens via push notifications where the recipient can reply directly with any pertinent information.
Jason explains that this type of campaign has reduced customer anxiety by proactively keeping customers in the loop in ways that help them run their day-to-day operations more efficiently.
Because ABI works with unique mom and pop retailers all over the globe, only about 30% of the BEES platform’s users have email addresses and, perhaps as a result of this, a huge portion—75%—have opted into receiving push notifications. This makes understanding individual customers’ preferred channels all the more important.
“We’re a big proponent of Canvas because it allows us to predict these scenarios,” says Jason. “So if we have a client that doesn’t have an email address or maybe we can’t reach them in a certain channel, we can predict that this is going to happen and build journeys that anticipate these different outcomes.”
Measuring the impact of BEES
“Customers are much happier with us as a business and we really refocused our way of working with them and you see that reflected in our NPS results,” says Jason. “And you separately see it reflected in the commercial reality—customers trust the ecosystem, they trust what we built, and they’re purchasing more frequently.”
Customers that have opted into using the BEES platform for placing their orders are growing faster than clients that haven’t gone on this journey of digital transformation, Jason explains.
Since debuting in 2019, BEES has expanded from a pilot in one country to now being available for retailers in 20 countries. Additionally, the third-party marketplace has launched in 12 out of these 20 markets, allowing ABI to capture $800 million in revenue from selling products in new categories.
Harnessing Braze and other tech capabilities has fueled BEES’ growth, ABI’s retailer customers’ growth, and suppliers’ growth, a win-win all around, says Jason.
Check out the full BEES case study to see how BEES is leveraging Braze in tandem with Segment to decrease support and product information inquiries by 15%, thanks to real-time messaging.