Thanks to a recent restructuring at The Coca-Cola Company, we now have a dedicated digital shelf team — which I’m happy to say I lead. This team is 100% focused on making sure that that digital shelf is as effective as possible across each of our operating units and around the globe.
Having a dedicated digital shelf team has been immensely helpful in our efforts to create, store, distribute, measure, and optimize the right product content.
It’s very much a team journey that we’re on, and part of my role is to help that team operate by breaking down the walls that had existed between different parts of the business.
We have a structured process for implementing new markets in which some tasks are done by the central team while others are done by local markets. This approach means everyone collaborates because everyone’s got their skin in the game. We also have regular check-ins both within our team and with our partners.
One of the most important cultural shifts I’m working on is building an environment where everyone feels comfortable voicing issues as they arise.
Sure, sometimes we may have to disagree and move on, but I’d rather know the positive and the negative points so we can explore what we can do to make things better. These cultural shifts have helped us expand Salsify to so many markets successfully.
Powering Global Collaboration
Being part of a global team, we need a truly global model. So, for example, we need a solution that offers not only English but the local language of each particular market as well. Salsify has been hugely helpful in this area.
One thing it is enabling us to do differently is to have global solutions. It’s not easy to have a tool that works in Venezuela just as well as in Ireland — and building capabilities that are truly global is quite a tricky journey.
But because we’re building these capabilities with Salsify, we’re confident that we can develop viable solutions for any market in the world.
On top of this, we’re now more networked than we’ve ever been across the global organization. Suppose a market lacks the ability to distribute certain content to their end retailers. In that case, we see that as an opportunity where we can step in and give some support, making us a truly collaborative organization globally.
Embracing a Learning Mindset
If I were speaking to someone else looking to build similar global capabilities with Salsify, the biggest piece of advice I’d give is to be prepared to be confused.
I’ve definitely had to delve into the technical world to understand how its capabilities work with our internal systems and what we need to do to implement it in the market.
I don’t have a technical background, but I’ve learned a bunch. The more I learn, the more questions I have — and I’m happy to continue to ask those questions to see how we can continue to improve. Be prepared to get your hands dirty and be prepared to be educated on this space.
Most importantly: Just keep asking questions.
Continuing the Digital Shelf Journey
Our growth mindset and global collaboration have paid off significantly. The Coca-Cola Company now has 24 markets worldwide that use and operate Salsify — and we’re continuing to grow. We didn’t have that 18 months ago.
I don’t think anyone’s fully perfected this journey yet — and just because we have this particular implementation right now doesn’t mean that best practices aren’t going to change someday. We need to stay on our front foot to really understand how we can make customers’ and consumers’ lives easier.
But that’s what continues to excite me. I get to keep asking, “How do we execute the digital shelf better than we ever have before?”
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