Molson Coors launches online product locators, starting this week with Miller Lite

With much of the country banished from bars and restaurants and stuck in their homes under shelter-in-place mandates to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, more Americans than ever are going online to buy essentials like groceries, dry goods and – no surprise – beer.

Since the first week stay-at-home and social-distancing orders began hitting the country in earnest – online beverage alcohol sales have skyrocketed. And as more drinkers heed warnings to stay home and instead flock online for their alcohol beverage purchases, Molson Coors has accelerated the launch of some of its e-commerce tools, including a new product locator for online purchases, starting this week with Miller Lite.

“With consumers moving online to buy essentials for the first time in many cases, we wanted to ensure they knew they could also buy beer and get their favorite Molson Coors beers from the comfort and safety of their homes," says Sara Goucher, director of e-commerce for Molson Coors.

Molson Coors plans to follow with product locators for its other brands in the following weeks.

While beverage alcohol was predicted to be one of the fastest growing categories in e-commerce this year because of its relatively smaller size, the onset of stay-at-home mandates has hastened its rise.

The biggest hurdle? While most U.S. states allow for the online sale of beer, data show that some 80% of consumers still don’t know they can purchase beverage alcohol online.

“Prior to coronavirus, our biggest barrier was generating awareness among consumers that they could actually buy beer online,” Goucher says. “But what we’re seeing in the last month or so is that consumer behavior changed almost overnight with online beer penetration growing exponentially. While we don’t think it’s going to continue at this rate forever, we know a subset of these consumers will stick to this new means for buying beer and we want that online purchase to be Molson Coors every time.”

The tool, which populates randomized retail results based on ZIP codes, allows consumers to select their preferred retailer and redirects them to the retailer’s website to complete purchases for delivery or pickup.

The company is not selling any beer directly to consumers.

All retailers who offer online beer purchase are able to be included on the Molson Coors product locators; the information with which the tool is launching originates from existing available data. Molson Coors is seeking to add additional retailers to the tool with an overarching goal of providing “a simple, one-stop location where they can choose where to make their online purchases,” says Jeff Long, Molson Coors’ chief commercial solutions officer.

The launch will be supported by a paid media campaign that will include social and digital advertising, as well as a TV spot featuring Miller Lite.

Slated to begin running on television this week and online next week, the 15-second Miller Lite spot acknowledges that many drinkers are homebound and includes the message “Available for delivery,” marking the first time Molson Coors has directed consumers online to purchase one of its products.