Danone‘s Alpro Builds Internationalized, Multilingual Content at Scale with MACH
Alpro is a Belgian-based subsidiary of food giant Danone. As the global leader in plant-based foods, they need to build web experiences worthy of their brand. The challenge? Alpro operates in over 40 markets worldwide. To serve this global audience, their marketing websites need to be localized to over 30 languages, all while keeping brand copy consistent.
With a monolithic web architecture, manually creating over 30 versions of each web page is a huge task. But with modern web practices, internationalization doesn’t have to be so burdensome.
Alpro was an early adopter of MACH architecture (Microservices based, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS and Headless), and has battle-tested and evolved their web properties since their initial 2019 migration. Moving from a monolith to a MACH architecture, built with Netlify, Contentful, and Gatsby, has helped the team ship content faster, deliver an improved mobile experience, and has already resulted in a 22% increase in site visits, and better conversion rates on mobile ads.
Alpro’s Migration off the Monolith
Alpro’s migration to a MACH stack was for two main reasons. They wanted to:
- Empower content editors to ship changes more frequently
- Launch a mobile-friendly rebranded site in 6 months
Ralph Urmel, Senior Digital Experience Manager at Alpro, knew that these two goals were not possible on traditional monolithic CMS and DXP platforms like Drupal, Sitecore, or Adobe Experience Manager. In addition to suffering from poor performance, they’re also very difficult for team members to use, since content changes happen infrequently and editors have little control over what pages look like.
“Monoliths were trying to be good at everything but they rarely were… they’re so frustrating to use. You need to prioritize [employee] UX when you adopt solutions so that the teams who use these tools every day remain motivated and engaged” –Ralph Urmel, Senior Digital Experience Manager, Alpro
Building a MACH Stack for Global Marketing Sites
Alpro worked with agency Appnovation to migrate to a MACH stack. Why MACH? As Ralph puts it, “what I appreciate about the MACH movement is that there are so many options out there…. Everybody is pushing everyone to build the best possible product, because in the end, I can always swap one solution out for another.”
Alpro is a content-heavy site with many content editors, so they needed a user-friendly headless CMS. They also needed that CMS to have Deploy Previews for QA’ing, and the previews needed to build quickly. They decided on Netlify and Contentful to meet these goals.
“Netlify has enabled us to build really fast websites thanks to Netlify’s High Performance Edge. The content editing experience has been amazing with [Netlify HP Build’s] fast build times. That’s been crucial in our workflow.” –Ralph Urmel, Senior International Digital Experience Manager, Alpro
Alpro also uses Netlify serverless functions to connect to Salesforce environments and trigger specific engagement tracking in Google Firestore.
Results: Empowered Team Members and Engaged Visitors
“The move to MACH has allowed us to grow our digital presence. We can provide experiences true to the brand while still making it relevant to local audiences.” – Ralph Urmel, Senior International Digital Experience Manager, Alpro
Alpro is now reaching 4 million visitors per year. They’ve seen a 22% increase year after in traffic, and have seen upticks in engagement metrics as well. As Ralph says, there’s “no signs of slowing down.”
Internationalizing Marketing Campaigns into 30+ Languages with Lilt and Contentful
“I can onboard new content editors within half a day because it’s so intuitive. – Ralph Urmel, Senior International Digital Experience Manager, Alpro
Internally, it’s easier for the team to use the website, in large part because internationalizing content isn’t a massive barrier to using the CMS anymore.
Alpro uses Lilt, a translation service that works with composable CMSes. Using Lilt, any marketing team member can create a web page and Lilt will translate it and repopulate it in Contentful, once it’s been approved. Netlify builds previews quickly for easy review.
The result? Local teams now use the Netlify/Contentful setup to boost their own activations, since it’s no longer cumbersome for them to use and set up different locales. As Ralph says, “This would be unimaginable in a monolithic setup.”
It’s also helped them save money, since they used to rely on agencies to do this work, which required a much higher budget.