Campbell Soup Company’s e-commerce strategy is simple: Win the consumers in digital, says Shakeel Farooque, vice president, head of digital and e-commerce for Campbell.
“We’re pivoting our investments into the area where consumers are shopping,” says Farooque—and that’s online.
The consumer packaged goods company is known for its Campbell’s soup brand, but has more than a dozen other brands in its portfolio including Pepperidge Farm, Prego, Pace, Swanson, V8 and Plum Organics.
While these brands are products shoppers easily find on many grocery store shelves, Campbell is working to make it just as easy to buy its products from those retailers online, as well as on online-only marketplaces. Currently, consumers can find Campbell products at 20 retailers online, including Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1 the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000), where Campbell sells all of its brands.
“The multi-channel approach is an important part of our growth strategy,” Farooque says.
Digital sales across all of these 20 online retailers and marketplaces account for about 1% of Campbell’s total sales. And with Campbell’s annual sales of roughly $8 billion, that 1% is not too shabby. The brand’s goal is to have $300 million in total online sales by 2021, he says.
In the past two years that Campbell has sold its products on Amazon.com, its brands have had some good traction. For example, Pepperidge Farm’s Goldfish is the No. 1 selling cracker brand on Amazon.com, Farooque says.
While Campbell has separate websites for its products, such as Arnotts.com and Prego.com, the sites do not have e-commerce capabilities. Instead, Campbell provides a list or links to where shoppers can buy the products in store or online.
“Consumers don’t necessarily interact with brands for individual products,” Farooque says. “Consumers are looking for a simple, convenient solution to be able to fulfill a need.”
Campbell has 30 employees working on its digital team and is “acquiring talent from top-tier companies across the U.S.,” Farooque says.
Besides employees, other investments Campbell’s is making incude in meal-kit company Chef’d and into its warehouse operations.
In May 2017, Campbell invested $10 million in Chef’d to understand food in home life and gather feedback from the meal kits to further power innovation, he says. On the Chef’d website, Campbell has a “Campbell’s Kitchen” landing page that features 16 recipes for a Chef’d meal kit made with Campbell ingredients.
The brand is learning how frequently consumers order meal kits and which are the most popular recipes. For example, the beef stroganoff is one of the most purchased meal kits, Farooque says. Plus, the meal-kit recipes serve as a customer acquisition strategy, as the brand is finding there is not a large amount of overlap between the Chef’d and Campbell shopper.
Campbell also is trying its hand at being a drop shipper on behalf of some of its retailer partners, which means if a shopper buys a Campbell product off of a retailer’s site, Campbell will ship and deliver the product to the customer, Farooque says. Campbell has piloted this new fulfillment strategy for more than six months with an undisclosed number of retailers, he says.
If Campbell’s can provide the warehousing and fulfillment of its product for a retailer, this provides “channel economic benefits” for those online retailers, Farooque says without revealing any specifics.
To that end, Campbell opened its first “enhanced warehouse operation” in conjunction with logistics company DHL Supply Chain in Fort Worth, Texas, to meet the needs of web-only merchants. It plans to open two more facilities in 2018 and 2019.