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Can the CPG industry balance D2C strategies with a positive in-store experience?

Key points:

  • Food and beverage brands have used the pandemic to test D2C initiatives.
  • CPG, food and beverage companies need to test what will work both online and offline as more consumers use e-commerce.
  • Convenience stores and grocery stores will remain dominant channels for reaching customers.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, companies in the food industry have had to find new ways to adapt to reach consumers. One strategy that has proven useful for retailers with a good understanding of their audience is to test new products with temporary D2C initiatives. MarketScale spoke with Dr. PK Kannan, Dean’s Chair in Marketing Science at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, about how CPG brands can use D2C in marketing. part of a broader e-commerce strategy while prioritizing the in-store environment. .

Brief thoughts:

Many food and drink brands like Frito-Lay and PepsiCo have used the pandemic shock of the coronavirus to test their DTC initiatives. Many consumers who are sitting at home were not able to go to the grocery store as often as they would like, and this seemed like a very good opportunity to directly test consumer initiatives. Frito-lay and Pepsi have launched two websites, one is snacks, where they have different types of snacks and chips, et cetera. And the other is the pantry, where they sell packages of snacks and drinks and have tested different concepts of packages and snacks.

Frito-lay was able to come up with some of the snacks, which were niche snacks, which were low-share brands so that they could test and see consumer receptivity. For these brands and this pantry, they did the same with the bundles. Today, such initiatives are essential for every CPG and food and beverage business as consumers’ buying habits change rapidly. And as the shock of the coronavirus has indicated, people have largely jumped into the online channel. And so all of these companies need to test what will work online and what will work offline in retail stores. And for consumers, it’s a good way to find out what products they like, and they can actually search DTC online at DTC websites and find out more about some of the brands that are not. not readily available in stores. and for stores and for retail stores.

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