Profile: Sara Welch Goucher – E-Commerce Marketing Lead, MillerCoors U.S.
The grocery e-commerce landscape fascinates Sara Welch Goucher. There are several layers of complexity in grocery e-commerce that she did not encounter in the world of selling diapers and paper towels during her previous online roles. This drew her to explore a new arm of CPG.
Why the beer industry specifically? Goucher jokes that she is a glutton for punishment. Within a regulated industry that varies state to state, the challenge of growing the e-commerce business at scale is that much more rewarding.
Describe your current job responsibilities and the function of your team.
Goucher: To increase awareness of buying beer online, deliver an optimal consumer experience across channels, provide thought leadership in digital and e-commerce to our retailers, and increase the e-commerce organizational IQ at MillerCoors to impact how we plan and invest as a business in perpetuity. All in all, sell more beer when and how consumers want it.
How does your organization promote digital innovation?
Goucher: I have been very pleased to step into a culture that embraces innovation, digital innovation and tech experimentation so pervasively. There is definitely a “fail fast” attitude that is supportive of iterative test-and-learns to find new and more meaningful ways to deliver growth. This is most pronounced through our own digital incubator. This team helps us source, build, or license tech to solve business problems.
Can you share a recent example of your e-commerce team’s work that stands out?
Goucher: In the short time my team has been in place, we have launched several solutions and programs to determine what is most meaningful and scalable for this category in omnichannel to replicate quickly. As a result, we are seeing strong double-digit growth.
How does your team engage with MillerCoors’ shopper marketing team members?
Goucher: Our teams are interconnected and serve as an extension of the shopper or customer marketers at various accounts. We help to bring new perspectives on how to drive demand, deliver one-to-one personalization and evaluate an end-to-end customer experience to get to a minimal viable solution at retail when building programs. We work with this team on co-creating best-in-class omnichannel programs customized for each retailer.
What digital devices and services do you use most often, and how much of an omnichannel shopper are you?
Goucher: My Amazon Echo Show is on multiple times throughout the day – primarily for recipes and music. It is very rare for me to be in a physical store. Whenever I have a customer service issue – I turn to Twitter versus any other service to get my problem resolved. It is an amazing case study to watch the speed and manner in which companies handle issues differently in social media. Finally, my husband and I just bought our first house. We have been leveraging the AR functionality of furniture store apps.
How can brands, in general, take better advantage of the opportunities in e-commerce?
Goucher: By pestering the status quo. The brands that re-evaluate building and creating affinity to their brand through the lens of launching today would by default make vastly different decisions to maximize the lifetime value of their shopper base. Would you have made the package that way if you started the business today? Would you spend that much in TV if you started today? The answer is likely no.
Where do you see e-commerce headed in the next
Goucher: I had a manager once tell me “this is the slowest pace of change you will experience in your lifetime.” This resonated with me because it serves both to motivate and to humble. In other words, there are several paths we could see the market go, and if I was clairvoyant, I would be making my living in other ways. That doesn’t change the fact that we must place bets and thus make calculated decisions to better position our businesses to benefit. In the next few years, I think it’s obvious that voice commerce will become a bit more ubiquitous with how we shop.