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In 2018, Mars Food France revised the product lines for two of its food brands, Ebly and Suzi Wan, and began investing in sustainable networks.
These changes were implemented in an effort to satisfy shoppers’ desire for locally and sustainably produced products.
Communicating these changes, however, was a challenge. Mars Food France had to update packaging and product data across all of its sales channels.
"We have major ambitions for transparency," said Jérôme Baudry, general manager at Mars Food France, at the November 2021 Tech for Retail conference. "We want to communicate clearly and understandably with our consumers who have more and more expectations regarding the products they purchase — particularly concerning where they're produced and the methods used."
Learn more about how Mars Food France found new ways to promote its sustainable networks across all of its channels by partnering with Salsify.
In an effort to invest in sustainable networks, Mars Food France moved its Ebly product range to production using a sustainable durum wheat network, leveraging the farming cooperative Axéréal.
Ebly took its commitment even further with its CultivUp program, which established a durum wheat network that respects the community and the environment.
"It produces wheat, which is 100% made in France, from growing through to final processing," Baudry says. "The wheat is grown in a 50-kilometer zone around the production sites, which allows us to reduce the carbon footprint associated with transport — and allow total traceability for the wheat, from field to fork."
For its Suzi Wan range, the brand brought production of its coconut milk back to France, which allowed it to increase production capacities and contribute to the French industrial fabric.
Suzi Wan also highlights product Nutri-Scores, a nutritional rating system established by the French government in 2017, for its entire range. This score allows French shoppers to identify the overall nutritional quality of products via a color code.
The progression of online sales — estimated to represent between 12% and 20% of Mars Food France’s sales since the start of the pandemic — pushed the company to rethink the shopping experience it wanted to offer its customers.
"Our main challenge was being able to offer consumers the same customer experience both online and in-store," Baudry says.
While the appetite for local produce impacts all mass consumption figures, including small producers and large groups alike, the whole ecosystem faces a significant acceleration of digitization.
The exponential growth in data and multiplying sales channels adds to the complexity of accessing and sharing product data.
"Product data is an essential complement to this change. We need to process a growing number of different data formats, integrate regulatory changes, and ensure reliable and continuous updates — particularly for ecommerce," Baudry says.
For a brand like Mars Food France, the challenge lies in building consistent product data across all channels and retailer websites, including on marketplaces like Amazon.
Ensuring product information is complete and updated — regardless of where people shop — is a challenge for brands globally.
"These are laborious processes and can often be sources of errors," Baudry says. Mars Food France also has the unique challenge of updating data when ingredients or product packaging change.
"We needed to improve the management and centralization of information sources — and to industrialize the collection and sharing of information by limiting manual interactions," Baudry says.
"We've also noticed that consumers are looking online for specific information, sometimes regarding niche products. Here, the product information is even more essential to highlight and explain products that consumers are less familiar with," Baudry says.
Mars Food France worked with Salsify and Alkemics, which was acquired by Salsify in 2021, to automate and improve the reliability of its data management process.
Baudry highlights how sharing product data on the platform "enabled [Mars Food France] to harmonize these processes and improve data reliability."
The Salsify Amazon connector, which sends all product information to the Amazon marketplace, ensures Mars Food France can include enhanced product information for every product.
This product information complies with pure player standards. It can also include recipes, tips, graphics, videos, related or new product ranges, and more, in addition to nutritional information.
"The teams work five times quicker, and they can now focus on higher-value tasks," Baudry says.
The implementation of Salsify even led Mars to review its organizational structure, giving them a renewed focus on creating product content roles to support its new processes.
Its team expanded to include a content manager and data manager to oversee the sharing of product information on the platform.
Working with Salsify saves time for the Mars Food France teams by allowing them to eliminate time-consuming work.
Their teams can now focus on creating higher-value, customer-requested content like product recipes and prep tips.
Mars Food France uses the Salsify Product Experience Management (ProductXM) platform on an international scale. Its product information management (PIM) and syndication solutions help its team activate content across its priority channels on the digital shelf.
"When I learned that Salsify and Alkemics were [now one company], I realized that the new platform would combine the best of both worlds. We already knew that Alkemics was the best solution in France for automatically sharing data with brick-and-mortar retailers," Baudry says.
"With ProductXM — [and] a particular thanks to the Amazon connector — we can now reach all types of retailers and improve our ecommerce performance to address the needs of all our consumers, he adds"
ProductXM allows Mars Food France to centralize, syndicate, and automate product information sharing to offer enhanced shopping experiences across all channels, including brick-and-mortar retailers, marketplaces, direct-to-consumer (DTC) websites, and brand websites.
According to Baudry, multiple teams at Mars Food France see the Salsify ProductXM platform as a "unique source of truth" for product data.
The platform empowers them with total and expansive control over all types of product content to boost performance and increase ecommerce conversion rates.
Winning on the digital shelf requires solutions for meeting the demands of modern shoppers, and Mars Food France is ready to continue to evolve its strategy to drive innovation across its organization.
Request a guided demo to learn more about the Salsify ProductXM platform — and how it could help you transform your ecommerce strategy.
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