AB InBev Leverages VTEX for Its Digital Commerce Platform to Build Sales and Improve Interactions with Businesses and Consumers
The largest brewer of beer in the world, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), positions itself as a company with a dual industry focus: beverages and technology. It flexed that combined muscle recently, to optimize its ecommerce presence during the pandemic. AB InBev was looking to increase its Direct to Consumer (DTC) business and rode the online shopping surge by deploying a DTC solution with VTEX Commerce Platform running on Amazon Web Services (AWS). With VTEX on AWS, AB InBev rolled out its solution seamlessly and rapidly across multiple store locations and geographies.
From Business to Consumer, Directly
As a market leader, AB InBev has had a formidable business presence across the world. However, this has traditionally been geared toward selling its products to businesses that sell to consumers. About six years earlier, with research underscoring the DTC opportunity, the company began gradually building capacity to target this segment. When the pandemic hit, with its unprecedented demand for DTC services, AB InBev was already poised to meet the challenges. The catch, however, was being able to scale rapidly to capture share in a highly competitive market. AB InBev needed an ecommerce solution that not only served up its hundreds of products to consumers, but also worked across devices, in different languages, different geographies, and accepted different currencies, across multiple payment gateways. With so many variations of use cases in the mix, the complexity of deployment went up exponentially.
“Having our platform on VTEX has allowed us to quickly meet the needs of consumers and expand internationally. Launching a marketplace in a matter of weeks was critical for us as there is a lot of competition in this space.”
- France Roy, Global VP of DTC Technology, AB InBev
VTEX Solutions on AWS Enable Rapid Ecommerce Deployment
AB InBev deployed the VTEX Commerce Platform on AWS. As a single platform, VTEX delivered integrated ecommerce, third-party marketplace functionality, and an order management system (OMS), allowing AB InBev to tap into different markets across currencies, geographies, languages, and business models. “Building a platform that scales from scratch is a big undertaking, and that level of customization takes a significant amount of time and money,” said France Roy, global VP of DTC technology at AB InBev. “What VTEX allows us to do is not worry about the structure of an ecommerce and marketplace platform and to focus on delivering value with our technology and product teams where it really benefits the consumer.”
Watch an interview with France Roy, global VP of DTC technology at AB InBev and learn why AB InBev chose VTEX to help power its global marketplace and point-of-sale (POS) functionality running on AWS, facilitating contactless ordering and delivery in multiple markets across the globe. Watch the video »
As a multi-tenant platform, VTEX leverages AWS services such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) that lets users rent virtual computers on which to run their own computer applications. In addition, VTEX also uses Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) to automatically distribute incoming traffic across multiple targets, AWS Identity and Access Management (AWS IAM), AWS CloudTrail, Amazon GuardDuty for security controls and monitoring, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) for storage, and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS), Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS), AWS Elastic Beanstalk for certain kinds of compute. The edge load is handled by AWS WAF and Amazon CloudFront, while other AWS services utilized by VTEX include Amazon OpenSearch Service for NoSQL data, Redis for cache, and ELB for distributing load.
“What VTEX allows us to do is not worry about the structure of an ecommerce and marketplace platform and to focus on delivering value with our technology and product teams where it really benefits the consumer.”
- France Roy, Global VP of DTC Technology, AB InBev
First Stop: Brazil, for a Boost in Revenue
In Brazil, AB InBev runs the online store, Chopp Brahma Express, which migrated to VTEX in January 2021. Through the platform, customers can buy beer kegs and have them shipped home, ready for a good party. Making full use of VTEX’s omnichannel capabilities that integrated over 100 franchises into the store’s system, the site identifies the closest shop that can ship the order based on the shopper’s postal code. This ease-of-use triggered phenomenal growth, with the store’s revenue increasing rapidly after migrating to VTEX.
More Beer, More Cheer
As a headless commerce engine, the VTEX platform also allowed AB InBev to easily integrate other capabilities to minimize time to market. A great example is Zé Delivery in Brazil. AB InBev custom built a courier delivery app from scratch, relying on a network of partner stores for doorstep delivery of cold beer in 30 minutes. When the pandemic hit, Zé Delivery went unicorn: in 2020, it fulfilled the same number of orders per week as it did per year before that. When AB InBev wanted to replicate this success internationally, it saved on the six months of localization for every geography, by integrating its solution into VTEX for full management of delivery.
Need for Speed: Deploying to New Geographies in Two Weeks
Having just one codebase via VTEX has been a huge benefit as the team expanded its DTC platform to many different locations. This made it easier to roll out their VTEX-powered ecommerce solution to seven countries. While deployment for the first geography took one month, each subsequent roll out gained speed—dropping to two weeks for a full deployment for the other locations. “Having our platform on VTEX has allowed us to quickly meet the needs of consumers and expand internationally,” Roy said. “Launching a marketplace in a matter of weeks was critical for us as there is a lot of competition in this space.”
DTC Growth Fueled by Beer Delivery, Digital Menus, and Everything in Between
The digital menu business, which went live during the pandemic, is another solution built on the VTEX platform. Deployed initially in the UK for AB InBev’s brew pubs, this initiative creates online menus, and plugs into food delivery, to create a touchless, paper-free, and safe dining experience. It is this rapid growth on the back of seamless integration and deployment on the back of the VTEX-AWS partnership that has encouraged AB InBev to continue the roll out of its DTC solutions across the world. According to Roy, at the heart of this growth, is collaborative commerce centered around an all-important question, that resonates across AWS, VTEX and AB InBev: “What consumer or customer problem are you solving?”
About AB InBev
Anheuser-Busch InBev is a publicly traded company with a portfolio of over 500 beer brands and a brewing heritage that dates back more than 600 years, spanning continents and generations.
Published August 2022