Profile: Jie Cheng, Global Head of E-Commerce and Direct-to-Consumer, Mondelez International
Jie Cheng’s e-commerce journey began in 2004 when she was tasked at Conair with figuring out how to sell hair dryers online. Since then, she has honed her craft at Philips as well as food companies like Danone, Hershey and Campbell Soup. Cheng has spent seven years in global roles overall. For most of these roles, she was brought in to create something from scratch. Her entrepreneurial spirit has prepared her well for her job at Mondelez.
Describe the function of your team.
CHENG: My team and I are responsible for driving global e-commerce growth, building capabilities, sharing best practices, and setting and realizing Mondelez’s bold e-business ambition across B2C, D2C and e-B2B.
How does your company promote digital innovation?
CHENG: Like many companies, we adopt a “test, learn and iterate” approach to promote digital innovations. The exact approach is tailored to the initiative, its relative maturity and risk. For example, we would do a quick test with minimum investment upfront for opportunities that are unproven and have higher risks or dependencies. The idea is to rapidly prototype and test with consumers and get an initial validation of the concept. Alternatively, we would take a more refined approach for opportunities that have been in-market and have some evidence of success. The goal is to continue to iterate and improve the core metrics before we can scale.
How has your team’s work been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
CHENG: When COVID-19 hit, we were fortunately in a position of strength. We have grown faster than the overall market and we are driving significant share gains online in 2020. We did this not only by sticking to our winning strategies but accelerating our investments in resources, media and capability building. For example, given that most of the growth was driven by new buyers migrating to e-commerce, we significantly increased (and in some markets, doubled) our advertising and commercial investments to drive buyer retention and repeat purchase.
We also leveraged our supply-chain, direct-store-delivery network to maintain higher levels of online availability than our competition. And we expanded our online assortment through “ePacks,” or bundled products. We built new pick-and-pack and drop-ship capabilities to adapt to increased online demand.
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What are your personal go-to digital devices and services?
CHENG: I use iPhone the most, followed by iPad and Alexa. For services, I use Amazon for most of my shopping needs, and Audible to catch up with audiobooks.
How can brands take better advantage of the opportunities in e-commerce?
CHENG: E-commerce is beyond selling products – it is also a marketing platform for brands to engage with consumers via great content and storytelling. It provides a great opportunity for brands to test-launch new products and get consumer reviews early on for iteration before launching in-store. Brands can also gain valuable online shopper insights for future innovation. Additionally, for DTC business, it provides brands with first-party data for greater consumer understanding and enables brands to build meaningful connections with consumers.
CHENG: Latin America is one of the regions where we are seeing rapid growth of e-commerce. One of the fastest-growing platforms in the region is the last-milers, grocery and food delivery services. Our e-commerce team there is partnering with Rappi and Cornershop, the top local last-mile players, to create new occasion triggers to drive impulse buys for our Trident gum brand. We are seeing growth in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Columbia.