“More than just talking about omnichannel, we're actually trying to do it, and so I think it gives us the ability to kind of sit on the other side of the table with our customers and kind of speak from a position of strength in terms of the challenges that everybody has to deal with, with marketing communicating to consumers when it comes to trying to sell them something."
Exploring new avenues for DTC, using it to understand the consumer better
Though many smaller brands are questioning DTC's role in their e-commerce strategies, large CPG brands like Mondelēz and Perdue are using digital offerings to better understand and serve their customers. And Perdue has made a “sizable investment in the direct-to-consumer model,” including new digital avenues and partnerships with technology companies, Zucker added.
“It's definitely not the major source of revenue or profit for Perdue. The way we look at it is developing information about what the consumers are doing, so it's more of a kind of developing insights about what and how consumers are interacting.”
In addition to its brand website, Perdue Farms has worked with its retail partners like Sam’s Club to allow consumers to place a DTC offering directly with Perdue from Sam’s Club’s product search pages. Unlike traditional e-commerce and DTC offerings, this allows retailers “to add a SKU without having to take any inventory risk, which is fantastic for them,” he added.
Perdue Farms also expanded its omnichannel capabilities with a partnership with Samsung, where consumers can order its DTC offering directly through a Samsung appliance, Zucker said. "To be able to get consumers through new digital avenues like smart devices with a really high end-technology company, that's really exciting,” he added.
“In terms of where we think we are going to be going forward, we do believe there's a lot of opportunity to expand and exploit a typical direct-to-consumer model to something else,” Zucker said. “We're never going to be a primary direct-to-consumer company; we are a wholesaler of really high-quality chicken that has a big animal welfare component.”
Getting the word out more on animal welfare programs
In addition to his e-commerce responsibilities, Zucker supports Perdue’s sustainability and animal welfare initiatives — something on which he admitted Perdue can do a better.
“We have full chain of custody of our product for our Perdue brand all the way to the seed we produce for our chicken feed, all the way up to the time that sits within a retailer, so that's what we do. We don't communicate that really well, which is actually a big problem.”
Ultimately, consumers want to make sure that Perdue takes “great care of [its] chicken,” and it’s up to the marketing department to take all the information around its sustainability and welfare initiatives and convey it to consumers, Zucker said.
“As the marketing person for Purdue, it's a challenge I have to deal with converting all that great information into something that a consumer... can digest and understand how it is helpful for them,” Zucker said. “It's important to us, and that the food provenance type of information, we can translate and communicate, so we're very ... focused on doing that because it is a big differentiator for Purdue versus our competitors.”