Expanding possibilities with our new promotion endpoints and improvements.

Glyph Embonor white (traced)

Coca-Cola Embonor launches the first composable commerce site in LATAM.

  • months to launch first MVP

  • increase in conversion rate

  • growth in monthly orders

  • household reach

Coca-Cola is one of the most recognizable brands on the planet. In Chile, Coca-Cola Embonor S.A. is Coca-Cola's authorized partner responsible for bottling and distributing Coca-Cola, Diageo, Capel, Santa Rita, and AB Inbev products. They have developed a reputation for getting their products into any store, no matter how remote.

The challenge

Launching a new, D2C channel within four months

Coca-Cola Embonor had been considering a D2C channel for some time, but in early 2020, they accelerated their ecommerce rollout as COVID-19 was forcing a lockout of stores. Providing a digital alternative would enable them to continue selling products while developing direct relationships with their customers.

Coca-Cola Embonor set an aggressive target of four months to deliver an MVP to market. At the same time, they wanted to approach this project with a clear strategy in order to deliver outstanding service. In order for the MVP to work it had to:

  • Operate in both Chile and Bolivia.
  • Integrate seamlessly with their existing B2B application through reusable service and APIs.
  • Deliver an easy personalized miCoca-Cola.cl shopping experience for customers.
The solution

Deciding on a composable commerce technology stack

The Coca-Cola Embonor team had built a POC when they were initially exploring a potential D2C channel, but they quickly concluded that the POC could not sufficiently meet their needs because:

  • It imposed too much design rigidity.
  • The architecture could not adequately support multiple markets or currencies.
  • There were concerns around the irregular delivery of security patches.

To help get their ecommerce project off the ground and select the right technology, Coca-Cola Embonor engaged with a digital solutions partner, Apply Digital, to help define their technology stack and build out their D2C site.

Given the need for design flexibility, market expansion, security and re-usability, Apply Digital proposed a composable commerce stack made up of content, commerce, and search as the core components.

Embonor-Apply Digital first selected Contentful as their headless CMS for both product and brand/marketing content. This would allow the business to react quickly and make real-time decisions. For example, going this route would activate content editors to upload and manage site and product content directly, instead of having to rely on developers to make a site change for them.

Next, the Apply Digital-Embonor team focused on selecting the technology to manage inventory, prices, promotions, shopping cart, orders, accounts, and payments. From their past experience with WooCommerce, they considered this piece critically important. The ecommerce solution had to work seamlessly with other composable services, connect with local payment gateways, and minimize complexity within the stack itself. They viewed this as the most important decision within the technology stack:

It’s the heart of ecommerce and the decision was to go with Commerce Layer. It was going to give us the robust APIs that would support the experience we wanted to create for our customers and the expansion goals we envisioned for the business.

Lidia BonetChief Digital Officer at Coca-Cola Embonor

Commerce Layer ticked all the boxes. It was born headless, provided outstanding documentation, and delivered robust yet easy-to-understand APIs in a modern commerce platform. Calls with their CTO gave us the confidence that we would receive expert support throughout implementation.

Juan-Manuel FluxàHead of Technology at Apply Digital LATAM

The final decision was to select the search engine. Embonor-Apply Digital chose Algolia for its ability to deliver fast, accurate and personalized search results in addition to the enabling navigational elements of the product catalog.

Other key components of the infrastructure included:

  • Gatsby as the static site generator on top of React to deliver blazing fast site speed. This choice also allowed them to create semi-static pages using Gatsby Hydration for cases where page content needed to be updated in real time.
  • CloudFront as the CDN to serve the ecommerce storefront.
  • AWS to define continuous delivery and continuous integration pipelines.
  • Lambda functions to connect non-native payment gateways and power other functionalities such as transactional emails.
  • Middleware to synchronize the new ecommerce store with Embonor’s legacy on-prem systems

The project was able to successfully integrate modern, cloud-based technologies with legacy systems and deliver a quality end-to-end digital experience. The miCoca-Cola.cl site also turned out to be the first successful composable commerce project in LATAM, quickly followed by miCoca-Cola.bo in Bolivia.

The result

Delivering outstanding results that exceeded expectations

The UX team began customer research in April of 2020 and worked in partnership with the entire architecture team to identify all the services that needed to be integrated with the core tech stack such as logistics, fulfillment, and servicing. The team launched the miCoca-Cola.cl site on schedule, with their Chile site delivered in September and their Bolivia site in October.

Seven months after launching in September of 2020:

  • Coca-Cola Embonor expanded from 9 cities and 1K households to 12 cities and 8.5K households.
  • Conversion rates increased by 59% to 5.3%.
  • Total monthly orders grew 44%.
  • Sales grew 43% per month.

Coca-Cola Embonor also found that customers were returning and making repeat purchases. This project was deemed a success on three fronts: the commercial strategy, digital strategy, and service to customers. This set Coca-Cola Embonor on the path for ongoing market expansion and personalized experiences for customers.