Food In Canada

Labatt launches new B2B app for beverage sector

By Nithya Caleb   

Technology Beverages bees ecommerce

Labatt Breweries of Canada recently launched Bees, a B2B e-commerce platform developed by its parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev, in Quebec. I asked Rob Legate, vice-president of digital commerce at Labatt, about this new technology.

Please briefly explain the Bees platform.

RL: Bees is Labatt’s proprietary B2B e-commerce platform, a one-stop shop that allows small to medium-sized retailers to browse through products, place orders, arrange deliveries and manage invoices, all in one place and right in the palm of their hands.

Through Bees, Labatt is building a B2B ecosystem that transforms the traditional sales model by using technology to turn customer issues into growth opportunities, ultimately putting customers at the forefront.

As we celebrate Labatt’s 175th anniversary in Canada and look to the future, we are redefining what it means to be an indispensable partner to our customers with the introduction of Bees.

Where is Bees available?

RL: Bees was first launched in the DR in 2020 as a pilot and we immediately saw the transformation it makes to our sales model. We have since rolled Bees out to 19 countries including Brazil, Columbia, South Africa, China and the United States, servicing 2.9 million customers, processing 1.9 million orders every week. We had 23 million orders in Bees in Q1 of this year alone.

We’ve seen the revolution and transformation it makes to our sales model, unlocking new sources of growth, and it’s time to bring these innovative technological advances to Canada, starting in Quebec.

How’s the Canadian response?

RL: We’ve been piloting Bees in Quebec for the past nine months and have seen amazing results.

We have over 6000 customers online, processed 90,000 orders, and over 90 per cent of Quebec’s net revenue is now digital. We have also launched the Bees Care function with 88 per cent of tickets being closed on first contact and launched over 100 digital campaigns communicating directly with our customers.

In the past, and still to this day, continuing into the future, our sales force has face-to-face interactions and relationships with our customers.

Now, Bees enhances these interactions. It is an added layer of support which offers customers the flexibility to order at their convenience.

How do you think Bees would impact Canada’s F&B industry?

RL: Using our vast footprint and distribution network, Bees allows us to connect with business owners, ultimately uplifting local economies by helping retailers do business smarter and better with technology.

Another benefit is the change in how sales teams interact with retailers. We are shifting away from transactional conversations and replacing them with more frequent discussions on customer behaviour, business development, and data-driven decision-making based on insights gained from Bees.

What are your future plans for Bees?

RL: We have plans to roll Bees out nationally over the next two years and continue to invest and evolve our ecosystem to have the best-in-class B2B experience.

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