Online snack company NatureBox expands to brick-and-mortar with Target launch

“Currently, only 2% of food sales occur online. Moving into physical retail allows us to reach the other 98% of Americans still shopping for food in brick-and-mortar stores,” ​said company co-founder and CEO Gautam Gupta.

But that doesn’t mean the company is giving up on e-commerce. Rather, Gupta says he sees the two avenues to the consumer as complimentary to each other. For example, consumers who discover and try NatureBox snacks at a retail store hopefully will be inspired to check out the brand’s wider selection online and sign up for a subscription.

At the same time, NatureBox plans to use data it collects from its direct-to-consumer channels to customize a wide assortment of options that are best suited for individual stores, he said.

“Based on the buying behaviors of our members in surrounding areas, we know what they’re purchasing and can use that data to drive in-store product selections. We can also harness this data to continuously evolve our assortment, based on shoppers’ wants and needs, with unique better-for-you options as a means of providing additional value to Target guests,”​ he explained.

This was how NatureBox came up with initial assortment of eight snacks for Target, which includes Mini Belgian Waffles, Cinnamon Yogurt Mini Grahams, Asiago & Cheddar Cheese Crisps, Sea Salt Pop Pops, Praline Pumpkin Seeds, Sriracha Roasted Cashews, Lemon Tea Biscuits and Big Island Pineapple.

All the snacks sell for a suggested retail price of $3.99 to $4.99 and are made with simple ingredients, according to the company. This means no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners; no high fructose corn syrup and that they have less than 200 calories per serving.

New packages for a new channel

Recognizing that selling snacks in retail stores is a different animal than online, NatureBox created new brightly colored packaging for brick-and-mortar stores that is more eye catching than the clean white design it uses for its snacks sold online.

“Our goal was to bring NatureBox products to physical retail that would win at trial. In order to accomplish that, we needed packaging that would really pop on shelf in order to break through the sea of choices shoppers are confronted with in-store,”​ Gupta said.

The in-store packages have bold orange-red backgrounds with bright jewel tone flags across the top declaring the type of each snack. Like the pouches online, the physical retail bags also have windows that let consumers see the snacks inside.

Other changes included adding more information to the packages, Gupta said.

He explained: “We leveraged consumer insights to inform our approach to retail packaging, and one of the things we heard loud and clear was that it was important to consumers to communicate product claims and benefits on the front of the bag. We also wanted to capture the story and experience we deliver on our website, on pack.”​

One thing that didn’t change was the company’s preference for a pouch instead of a pillow pack or box.

“We chose to stick to a pouch format, which is what we use for our direct-to-consumer line of products, as resealable packaging is something our members have told us is critically important to them when it comes to snacking,” ​Gupta explained. “Pouches not only deliver that functionality, but also are convenient in terms of pantry storage and on-the-go use.”​

The pouches initially will be displayed in the alternative snack aisle, but Gupta said NatureBox hopes to elevate the brand’s visibility by partnering with Target to take advantage of off-shelf opportunities.

“Our snacks lend themselves to great display opportunities and end caps and front end locations,”​ he said.

The company also plans to take advantage of its direct-to-consumer model to support in-store sales, Gupta added, explaining the company’s ecommerce website “allows us to communicate directly with our members and deliver additional value and convenience through in-store access at Target.”​

While Gupta is excited about NatureBox’s partnership with Target, he says it is only the beginning.

“Our long term vision is to build a multi-channel brand driven by consumer data and fast innovation,” ​he said, adding ultimately, “we see physical retail as a great channel to drive trial, while direct-to-consumer presents great advantage in terms of discovery, convenience and personalization.”​