The site, for its Maille mustard brand, gives customers the opportunity to purchase premium mustards not available in shops. These include a version of the product that contains Chablis white wine and black truffles and sells for £29 and gift sets.
Speaking at Unilever’s investor day today (4 December), Mark Smith, Unilever’s chief enterprise and technology officer, said this is Unilever’s first direct-to-consumer website. He added that it is part of a strategy to experiment with ways to bring its ecommerce and marketing teams closer together and uncover areas where the company can better engage consumers.
The Maille website launch comes as Unilever puts more marketing support behind the brand. Earlier this week it launched a new digital campaign for the brand (see below), created by Adam+EveDDB, which invites people to be a “memorable guest for the right reason at Christmas” by gifting a pot of Maille.
It is also opening a chain of Maille boutiques in London, Paris, Dijon and New York.
Unilever has increased its focus in ecommerce having previously only sold through third parties. Earlier this year it ran a hackathon event in London where it asked participants to come up with a “100% original idea” on how Unilever can influence purchasing decision of someone shopping for personal care products before they reach a retailer’s website.
The ecommerce launch makes Unilever the latest FMCG company to dip its toes into selling online. Last year, Heineken launched its first global ecommerce hub while Diageo is exploring click-to-buy technology as part of a wider ecommerce push.