For a number of years, Essity has invested to digitalize sales and distribution to customers and consumers, the supplier and production chain, innovative solutions and internal processes. These investments have benefited Essity, for example, during the COVID-19 pandemic as the infrastructure was already in place to meet the sharp increase in e-commerce, remote working by employees with online meetings and the need for greater digital control of production, distribution and digital services. In 2020, Essity also decided to accelerate digitalization in the company through a new digital platform. This investment will further strengthen the Group’s customer and consumer offerings, generate significant cost savings and reduce the need for working capital.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digitalization and e-commerce has increased sharply. Through its strategy to focus on the fastest growing customer and sales channels, Essity has over-invested in e-commerce over time. Essity therefore has a strong e-commerce platform and during the year it was quick to respond to the retail trade’s increased demands for an online presence. During the fourth quarter of 2020, the company’s e-commerce sales amounted to approximately 15% of net sales. E-commerce takes place via retailer websites and e-tailers, where our offerings in Consumer Tissue, Incontinence Products, Baby Care and Feminine Care are available. With our leading TENA brand, we have developed our own webshops to help our consumers with information about incontinence and available solutions, and provide an opportunity to order and receive the products delivered home, discretely. In our business-to-business operations of Professional Hygiene, Medical Solutions and parts of Incontinence Products, we were highly active during the year in meeting our customers online, which was appreciated and increased our online sales.
With the vision: Dedicated to improving well-being through leading hygiene and health solutions, Essity uses new technology and sensors to deliver digital solutions that simplify and improve everyday life for customers and consumers. Incontinence Products has launched “TENA SmartCare Change Indicator”. This is a reusable sensor that can easily be attached to the outside of a TENA product and notifies the caregiver via TENA SmartCare Professional Care or the Family Care app when the product needs to be changed. The solution improves and facilitates for users, family and caregivers. For example, it ensures a better night’s sleep for the user as the caregiver does not need to unnecessarily check and change an incontinence product. With the acquisition of Novioscan, Essity is further developing the digital innovation SENS-U. This is a wearable ultrasound sensor that measures levels in the bladder and provides the user with a discrete notification when it is time to visit the bathroom. A version is currently available for children and Essity is working to develop this solution for adults, to simplify and improve life for more people.
Closer to customers and consumers
Our brands’ websites, social media channels and search functions provide us with an insight into the questions and problems of current and potential customers and consumers and also what they appreciate. This enables our innovation and marketing teams to develop solutions, campaigns and selling techniques based on a unique knowledge and insight into the needs, challenges and expectations of our customers and consumers. Our digital solutions also provide us with data about use patterns and consumption. Our connected dispensers featuring sensor technology, Tork EasyCube®, show a sharp increase in consumption per person of paper hand towels, soap and hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 pandemic. We use this information together with our customers to optimize future solutions.
We reach most of our customers and consumers through digital media. This allows us to maximize the value of campaigns and ensures that we reach the intended target audience. One example is the “Liberating our Periods” marketing campaign for the relaunch of Libresse in China. It targeted young women at the start of their professional career and aims to break barriers and begin talking openly about menstruation. The campaign was named the 2020 Global SABRE Awards Winner. Other examples of successful multimedia marketing are TENA #Ageless and #WoundWarriors for the brands Cutimed® and Leukomed®.
Automation and advanced analytics
The smart use of digital tools in Essity’s production, distribution, logistics and administration leads to increased automation and robotization. Through “Industry 4.0” and the development of smart production facilities, Essity is working to achieve more efficient production, shorter lead times, higher quality and lower environmental impact. Increasing amounts of data available from production enables advanced digital analytics which, for example, improves control of production flows and maintenance planning. Essity is investing in improving the digital knowledge of employees. Our various digitalization teams are coordinated by the company’s global experts to implement the best digitalization trends.
New digital platform
Essity is investing in a new digital platform to accelerate its digital transformation and benefit more fully from the digital initiatives taken at the company. The investment will improve Essity’s offering and service to customers and consumers and is expected to have a positive impact on sales. The investment will also provide efficiency enhancements, which are expected to generate cost savings.