Nikki Lang’s career at Bimbo started in a senior portfolio manager position focused on private brands. Then she became director of national customers for the company’s Costco East business. Prior to her current role, Lang served as the director of national customers for evolving channels, which focused on healthy grocery development, discounters, military and special projects.
How does your organization promote digital innovation?
LANG: Digital innovation comes from the leadership within our Acelerada group. The overall organization was intentional about carving out this group to be at the forefront in new channels of growth. Our team is focused on developing and promoting the company’s digital strategies with customers and also by collaborating with our business units and marketing teams.
How has your team’s work been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
LANG: COVID-19 has accelerated e-commerce trends and our category is certainly not an outlier. With remote work and learning, practically all meal occasions are being consumed at home. Thankfully, we have items in the major traditional occasions like breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. We are working more closely with our internal and external supply chain partners to stay aware of anything that may impact purchase order fulfillment. In addition, we are exploring models that allow us to be more nimble in service to our customers. Finally, we have been fortunate to onboard new customers that have emerged due to the acceleration of online shopping.
What does omnichannel mean to you as a marketer and a shopper?
LANG: As a marketer, it means the ability to present one face to the consumer. Regardless of the brand, channel or touchpoints, the consumer is able to enjoy and experience the same assortment, offers and promotions. We strive to make it seamless to them. As a shopper, omnichannel represents convenience and consolidation. I am looking for an experience that makes things simpler.
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Which personal digital devices and services do you use most often?
LANG: My phone and tablet are the obvious ones. My Amazon Alexa-enabled device gets quite a bit of coverage; during the pandemic, it’s been my digital thermometer and digital scale. I am on Amazon daily building a shopping cart for grocery and other goods. Instacart helps me out quite a bit too.
How can brands take better advantage of the opportunities in e-commerce?
LANG: Start with an e-com-first mindset. Focus on speed and availability, then center key stakeholders on these fundamental concepts. Today’s consumer is comparing everything online, so your brands have to be available everywhere. When I say speed, I’m referring to moving rapidly and getting your brands in the hands of consumers. Also, set clear and measurable goals from which you can innovate.
LANG: Our team developed an unprecedented category review model for a customer that yielded an average increase in assortment of more than 55% for the category. The recommendations had four key results. The model created a custom portfolio across more than 35 markets, broadened customer appeal, made the overall category more productive and addressed gaps to market coverage. The customer has since expanded the model’s methodology to other categories.