Shoppers Turn to D2C Channels for of-the-Moment Seasonal Offers

woman shopping online

With the agility and flexibility of direct-to-consumer (D2C) eCommerce stores, shoppers are turning to the channel to funnel their enthusiasm for seasonal moments into buying.

In an interview with PYMNTS, Jim Munson, CEO of coffee brand Brooklyn Roasting Company (which operates across D2C and third-party eCommerce channels as well as a handful of New York City stores), noted that seasonal product launches have been key to building the company’s D2C eCommerce following.

“I think consumers appreciate and respond to things like seasonal offers — alignment with their real-life calendar and fun products that [play into that],” he said. “We might have a new roast for the springtime or for the holidays. Communicating that clearly to customers online is an important element of developing that [following].”

Overall, D2C is on the rise, with younger consumers disproportionately likely to turn to the channel, according to the PYMNTS Intelligence report “The Online Features Driving Consumers to Shop With Brands, Retailers or Marketplaces” created in collaboration with Adobe. The study, which drew from a survey of more than 3,500 U.S. consumers, found that Gen Z online shoppers were the most likely to want to buy directly from a brand and the least likely to prefer shopping via merchants’ online stores.

Specifically, 43% of Gen Z consumers said they definitely or probably prefer a brand’s own online store — above the 28% of the population as a whole that said the same. Plus, 24% of consumers turn to D2C channels for groceries, the study revealed, and 12% of D2C shoppers cite brands’ selection of products as their No. 1 reason for choosing the channel.

Keep It Simple

Increasingly, Munson said, consumers expect high-quality coffee to be quick and convenient.

“In the last four or five years, over the course of COVID and afterward, I think more people who know what good coffee is don’t want it to be too difficult to make,” he said.

Earlier this month, the company announced a partnership with Keurig Dr Pepper on K-Cup pods. The move comes, Munson said, as coffee enthusiasts are shifting away from focusing on the gear with which they brew their morning cup and toward thinking more about the beans themselves.

He argues that these shoppers “have a little bit of fatigue” around all the niche devices that are supposed to make their java better — a “reaction to hyper-fussy coffee” giving rise to this “willingness for people to trust their own senses” and brew their coffee in a “simpler way.”

But First, Coffee

Even as consumers cut back on purchases amid inflation, Brooklyn Roasting Company is not seeing them reduce their coffee spending.

This commitment bucks grocery-wide trends. Supplemental research from PYMNTS Intelligence’s study “Consumer Inflation Sentiment: Consumers Cautiously Spend More Amid Lower Inflation,” which drew from a survey of nearly 5,000 U.S. consumers, revealed that 86% of grocery customers have made changes to their purchasing behavior in response to price increases. The most common shift is cutting back on nonessential purchases, with 58% of grocery shoppers having done so.

“Coffee is basically a psychoactive drug. People rely on it,” Munson said. “We haven’t seen people push back to the point where they’re quitting drinking coffee, and I’d be surprised if we did.”