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Building a Direct To Consumer Strategy: A Case Study

The market leader in a fast-growing food category sought out Clarkston’s experience to help them develop a path to a closer relationship with end consumers and a direct to consumer strategy. Clarkston was retained to help the company build a strategy to capitalize on the direct to consumer opportunity and to create a new operating model that could be stood up within the year. The team set up out to design the strategy and business model for the new business, built on the strengths of the company and considering the nuances of winning in e-commerce. The project delivered a multi-year strategy and plan to launch and scale an e-commerce business that was well-received and immediately greenlighted by the CEO and executive team for implementation. As a result, the business was positioned to create deeper relationships with consumers, learn from them, gather data to help grow their total product offering, and guide them to become a market leader in the long-term.

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Founded in the early 90’s, our client had quickly grown from a niche food provider to the market leader in a $5 billion-dollar category. After decades of success and growth selling to retailers, the client was looking for new ways to engage with and learn from their consumers, all while growing the top line and maintaining their status as Category Captain.

Clarkston was selected to continue the partnership as the initiative transitioned from strategy to implementation. While the client had deep experience in building a profitable business with retailer customers, their experience in selling directly to consumers was limited. Clarkston was retained to help the company build a strategy to capitalize on the direct to consumer opportunity and to create a new operating model that could be stood up within the year.

The primary objectives of the project were to create opportunities to engage with consumers, establish a closer relationship, and gain data-driven insights throughout the full consumer journey. In addition the goal was to create a scalable business model that capitalized on existing strengths and incorporated the unique nuances of selling and engaging online. The Business Model components included storefront, payment, tax, supply chain and 3PLs, customer service, IT enablement, portfolio and pricing, processes and roles & responsibilities. The ultimate resolution consisted of rapid assessment of organization’s current state strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities through more than 50 interviews and deep data analysis as well as the development of a multi-year strategy and operating model that would deliver on the organization’s goals. This would also create opportunity for profitable scaling.

As a result of this project, the client’s CEO and executive team greenlighted an actionable strategy to rapidly build a direct to consumer e-commerce business that created new opportunities to engage with consumers, to test and learn with products, and to collect data. This also established a clear path for the organization to follow in order to stand up a new business model that will deliver on goals of improved consumer engagement and data collection.

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Tags: Case Study, Sales and Marketing Technology, Strategic Advisory
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