Title: Director, E-Commerce Consumer Experience
Education: University of Pittsburgh (bachelor’s, business administration, marketing; minor in economics)
A self-proclaimed food fanatic who thrives in fast-paced, entrepreneurial environments, Carrie Mesing was studying developmental economics in college when she fell in love with the food industry and took an internship at Giant Eagle. A native of Pittsburgh, Mesing stayed in her hometown to earn a degree in business administration and marketing with a minor in economics, with several of her courses focusing on consumer psychology, buyer patterns and the art and science of uncovering trends in data.
Upon graduation, she accepted a job with Daymon Worldwide in San Antonio, Texas, first as a management development associate and a year later taking a position with the local H-E-B team. She was then asked to be a founding team member for FreshDirect, part of the new e-commerce channel of trade, still working for Daymon but based in New York City.
Mesing joined the FreshDirect team in early 2015 and oversaw the building of its private-label program from scratch, which she considers a career highlight. “It was a private brand that was mission-based,” she says. It was there that her passion for being transparent with consumers – about where food comes from and what’s in it – began and became a constant thread throughout her career. She spent five years at FreshDirect, rising to vice president of merchandising for the grocery, dairy and frozen categories.
In early 2020, Mesing took a position at Danone to oversee e-commerce, strategy and marketing, and that came with another move, this time to Broomfield, Colorado.
A recent company restructuring gave Mesing responsibility for all aspects of the e-commerce consumer experience at Danone, including strategy, which she says is in place to evolve internal capabilities to adapt to the rise of grocery delivery and click-and-collect channels. “My role to date has been focused on developing the acceleration roadmap, including the staffing plan, data and analytics infrastructure, demand generation and marketing strategy, and phased investment approach,” she says, noting that all digital content falls under her purview as well as search marketing.
In her time at Danone, which consisted of just two weeks in the offices before the pandemic hit, Mesing has been able to build and evolve the company’s data infrastructure by collaborating with cross-functional teams. That has provided a foundational data source supporting all e-business initiatives. “When I joined Danone, it was very challenging for us to piece together the full picture of our e-commerce universe,” she says. “By collaborating with partners across the organization – including finance, sales, shopper marketing and business intelligence – we were able to centralize inputs and build data visualization tools that have helped us leverage data for storytelling versus simply ‘reporting the news.’”
Not surprisingly, e-commerce at Danone exploded as a result of the pandemic. Despite heavy consumer adoption, the channel was still foreign to Danone, Mesing says. “As people across the organization became more interested, our role expanded to include internal education.”
On a more general note, she points to the major adjustment needed to continue fostering a strong culture in a virtual environment. “Beyond virtual happy hours and Zoom meetings, encouraging open communication and feedback and connecting on a personal level has helped us keep the positive momentum during a challenging time.”
David McInerney, the CEO of FreshDirect and Mesing’s previous boss/current mentor and friend, has had the biggest impact on her career. “David has been on a ‘tastes great’ crusade for the past 20 years and has informed my food philosophy,” she says.
Mesing believes consumers will continue to push retailers to embrace an omnichannel approach to commerce, which will strengthen the role of digital/e-commerce. “My role will continue to evolve as retailers embrace and integrate interactive displays, augmented reality and other forms of technology into the consumer experience – both in-store and online,” she says. “We need to connect the in-store and online environments into one cohesive experience.”