For brands Kraft Heinz and Methodical Coffee the pandemic accelerated a move to direct to consumer. In this session, Marco Suarez and Jean-Philippe Nier explain how they managed the B2B to DTC change.
“A large part of focusing on DTC was owning the land we were building our house on,” said Marco Suarez, Head of Customer Experience at Methodical Coffee. By moving online he said the brand was able to have a similar relationship with its customers as it does instore. “Thankfully it’s turning into the most successful part of our business,” he said.
But Suarez admits he had been sceptical as to the value of DTC until he decided to test it at the beginning of 2020 to see if it had any promise. “Then the pandemic hit, and our ecommerce sales went through the roof. It was ironically good timing,” he says.
At Kraft Heinz, the pandemic also offered opportunities for change. “Heinz to Home was born in the context of the pandemic,” said Jean-Philippe Nier, Ecommerce Director at Kraft Heinz. He explained that for a brand like Kraft Heinz DTC can be difficult since the right customer proposition is needed to avoid fragmenting existing markets.
“The pandemic changed a lot of things,” he said. “In March 2020 a lot of consumers in the UK market were struggling to access all brands.” This led to the creation of the DTC channel with an initial offering of a bundle of essential products that customers could get delivered to the door and with free delivery for key workers. “We wanted it to be very simple in the beginning,” said Nier.
The two companies also outlined how they had adjusted their fulfilment and logistics to cope with the change to their business as well as the learnings they had gained. Both said they had gained valuable insight thanks to the D2C move. “Long term we see our direct-to-consumer platform as an insight data platform, sometimes more than a sales channel to be fair,” said Kraft Heinz’s Neir.
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