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Diageo is looking for its first e-commerce agency

As it targets a direct relationship with shoppers, Diageo has whittled a pitch down to four agencies.

The business is getting closer to naming its first e-commerce agency, which would mark a significant development in its wider efforts to unearth sustainable revenues from online media.

The Drum understands four agencies have already been whittled down by Diageo, with Lowe Profero, Fullsix, Sapient-Nitro and Geometry making the final cut. Diageo wants the agencies to come up with a strategy that widens online revenues from gifting, an area it has been testing since 2013 when it launched a site for its luxury brands.

A decision on the winning strategy is expected later this week.

The search for an agency of this ilk follows the appointment of Ralph Lauren marketer Marco Preda as its first general manager for digital and e-commerce at the start of the year.

On the progress of the pitch, Preda said: “We are in the process of selecting a digital content agency to support us as we look to streamline and tailor our e-commerce content and channels, improving the user journey. The pitch process is now closed.”

Diageo has been tight-lipped on its e-commerce plan to date though the decision to seek out agency help teases bigger, more concrete investments from the medium. The company is exploring the possibility of additional ecommerce features on its online cocktail recipe portal the bar.com and experimented with click-to-buy technology in the latter half of last year.

It’s not just direct sales Diageo will be hoping to gain. Its marketers will also be looking for the ability to glean customer insights from first party the online sales generate to better understand how customers are moving between virtual and physical channels.

Ecommerce is fast becoming one of the key trends for FMCG marketers this year with Unilever and Mondelez among those looking to make headway without straining (too much) their existing retailer ties.

Unilever, for example, launched its first e-commerce site last year for mustard brand Maille and has set ambitious targets of 40 per cent growth in direct-to-consumer sales across all of its brands by the end of 2015.

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