Jollibee digital head on how brands can stand out online with all the clutter

Speaking at this year’s Digital Marketing Asia summit on the evolution of social commerce is Samantha Allen (pictured),customer touchpoints unit head, Jollibee Foods Corporation.

With the pandemic ushering in a retail model that creates online footfall traffic 24/7, brands are now focused on creating online storefronts from their dotcom brand site, social platforms and even video channels. At Jollibee Foods Corporation, Allen, leads her team in ensuring that Jollibee Foods Corporation's eCommerce access points are frictionless from the customers' POV.

In an interview with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Allen said, “We are user-centric and we make sure our hungry customers can access our food, menu and stores easily.”

She works with all of JFC brands in the Philippines. This includes Jollibee, Chowking, Mang Inasal, Burger King, Greenwich, Red Ribbon, Panda Express and Pho 24. Most recently, JFC announced that it was buying the shares of the remaining partners in the fund that owns the Tim Ho Wan brand. Its wholly-owned subsidiary Jollibee Worldwide, which already owns an 85% participating interest in the fund, will pay SG$71.56 million to purchase the remaining 15% interests of other investors in Titan Dining, the company said in a filing on the Philippines Stock Exchange.

JFC invested SG$45 million in Titan in May 2018 to own a 45% participating interest in Titan Dining, which was the master franchisee of Tim Ho Wan in the Asia Pacific region. In October 2019, JFC said that Jollibee Worldwide's capital commitment to Titan increased from SG$45 million to SG$120 million, its participating interest increased to 60% and the fund size of Titan increased from SG$100 million to SG$200 million. At about this time, Titan Dining also expanded its assets by acquiring  the Tim Ho Wan brand and trademarks.

Last October, JFC's participating interest in the Titan fund increased further from 60% to 85%, after Jollibee Worldwide purchased the 25% participating interest of another investor in the fund for a total consideration of SG$36.3 million. Meanwhile, last September, JFC opened a Tim Ho Wan restaurant in Shanghai through a joint venture with Titan Dining, marking the first THW outlet in Mainland China.

Also last year, JFC launched the Jollibee App to heighten customer experience with more convenient and faster ways to order, scaling their digital platforms efforts. Allen said: “Given the pandemic, off-premise consumption has taken over in QSRs.”

“Most QSR brands have contactless ordering platforms but the challenge goes beyond having great UI/UX. We have to have an awesome end-to-end customer experience to increase chances of re-orders and achieving advocates,” she said. When it comes to trends that excite her, Allen shared that she’s got her eyes on three key areas – visual commerce, personalisation and the use of AI.

Asked how brands can cut through the clutter of eCommerce, she says trust is paramount as consumers continue to purchase with the most trusted brands. As such, brands must continue to over-deliver on CX.

Allen will also be touching on how brands can turn app visits/sessions to conversions on the panel. “I am excited to be part of the discussion on digital commerce storefronts given the demand for frictionless ordering experiences,” she added.

In May this year, Jollibee launched its first global brand campaign featuring a perspective-changing story about the times everyone is currently living in, reinterpreting the brand's tagline of "Joy of Family" in the current context of the pandemic.

Done in collaboration with BBH Singapore, it is a departure from the brand's usual campaigns, taking on a sombre and realistic tone as it goes into the future to record a nostalgic and emotional story of a migrant Filipino family based in the US.

The brand highlights the story of how consumers are able to see what's most dear to them - their families - in the darkest hours, despite having their lives upended worldwide. From physically spending every waking hour together in lockdown to long video calls across continents, family was what got everyone through. 

Join our Digital Marketing Asia conference happening from 9 November 2021 - 25 November 2021 to learn about the upcoming trends and technologies in the world of digital. Check out the agenda here. 

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