By 2023, Google intends to phase out third-party cookies on its popular Chrome browser. Large companies are now pondering how to mitigate the blow this will have to their advertising business, and one solution that’s arisen, according to Adweek, is to launch direct-to-consumer platforms to engage customers with special items, merchandise, and more – all while collecting valuable first-party data on shoppers.
Kellogg’s Cheez-It brand is the latest to pursue the direct-to-consumer strategy, having recently launched the “Cheez-It HQ” website, which offers new and exclusive flavors, custom merch, and free shipping on purchases over $25. The new website follows in the footsteps of similar ones from PepsiCo: PantryShop.com and Snacks.com. Pepsi has noted that its online customers like to purchase a variety of products in ways not typically possible at retail stores.
For Kellogg’s, the direct-to-consumer method is much more about collecting new insights on customers than it is additional revenues, explained Jordan Narducci, director of global direct-to-consumer ecommerce at Kellogg’s. “If you think about direct-to-consumer as a channel, it can really de-risk innovation for companies. The best focus group you could ever get is people actually going out and paying for something,” he said, adding that “data is gold” and Kellogg’s intends to invest more to capture it.
Cheez-It is crucially important to the Kellogg’s empire, as it brings in $1 billion in annual sales. Thanks in part to the pandemic, ecommerce doubled for Kellogg’s in 2020 and now represents 8.5% of total retail sales.
Cheez-It has become a key part of that ecommerce growth, as Interpret’s New Media Measure® finds that 40% of Cheez-It buyers in the US have purchased snacks online in the past three months. Moreover, these consumers enjoy spending their leisure time shopping, ranking ahead of Doritos, Ritz, Cheetos, and Pringles consumers.