Coke Solutions

Coca-Cola's Kim Williams Offers Tips for Engaging Millennials

Easy ways convenience stores can attract this important consumer group

As a Coca-Cola Company senior shopper marketing manager, Kim Williams is responsible for leading the shopper marketing vision and strategy for a top customer in the Coca-Cola system. Her challenges include building the 2016 marketing plan for a $250-plus million customer and ensuring their continued success with our products.

Noted as a dynamic leader with strategic vision and strong business acumen, she has provided both strategic and tactical examples of ways convenience retail stores can attract millennials and cultivate loyalty. Recently, Williams was named one of the Top Women in Convenience by Convenience Store News. Williams took time to answer a few questions for CokeSolutions and share her valuable insights.

Q. What's the No. 1 thing a convenience store operator needs to consider in today's market? 
A: Retailers need to find ways to create a unique shopper experience that will win shoppers' hearts and build long-term customer value.

Q: What's driving millennials when it comes to retail shopping?
A: This demographic is interested in an authentic shopping experience, convenience and value. They also want their shopping experience to be easy.

Q: What's your best tip for a convenience store operator trying to engage younger customers?
A: Operators need to leverage assets across targeted digital platforms. A targeted approach leads to longer-term customer value and increased traffic over time.

Q: What's the best way for a convenience store to use social media?
A: Geotargeted messages that are relevant to the consumer's interests are a powerful social media tool. An example of this could be as simple as creating a shopping list for standard items or as complex as developing year-round engagement social sweepstakes to surprise and delight consumers.

Q: What is the best platform to reach the younger market?
A: Facebook is the No. 1 social platform used by millennials. As millennials evolve, it will be important to segment and adapt the social platforms based on life stages. Older millennials' shopping habits change with life stages such as marriage, career changes and/or the introduction of a new baby. It will be important to be flexible and nimble across the different social platforms.

Q: How can solid research and data help build a retailer's beverage strategy?
A: The research guides the strategy, and if you allow the data to shape the decision, then you'll always develop winning strategies. Research shows that shoppers tell us what they want and not the other way around.

Q: How has the executive scorecard become a management game changer? 
A: The executive scorecard serves as one voice between the buyers and senior leadership and aids in both the short-term and long-term strategy planning of the company. Decision makers at the top have aligned visibility of the immediate challenges faced on the retail front.

Published: November 25, 2015