Creating sweet, lasting memories.
Barilla’s first-ever D2C brand drives profitability and builds customer loyalty with Adobe Commerce.
Increase the bonding between people and brand
Satisfy consumer demand for personalized brand experiences
Provide a testbed for D2C marketing
Increased sales of Mulino Bianco biscuits by 86%
Generated positive sentiment with 94% of customers likely to repurchase from Dedicato a te
Shaped Barilla’s future e-commerce strategy
Expressing love through food
When Italians want to show their affection for others, they often do so by cooking, whether for an intimate dinner, family gathering, big celebration, or just an indulgent snack. For generations, cooks throughout Italy have turned to Barilla products to create meals made from the heart.
Best known for its pastas and sauces, the Parma-based manufacturer also produces high-quality breads, cereals, cookies, and cakes that can be found in most Italian pantries.
Communicating directly with consumers
Although Barilla enjoys a strong, loyal following, seasonality, holidays, festivals, and special occasions drive the performance of some of its product lines. The company wanted create demand for these products throughout the year and form a more personal connection with customers.
To achieve this goal, Barilla decided to create a digital startup within the company to allow consumers to express their affection or acknowledge birthdays, anniversaries, or milestone events with personalized products. The startup was christened Dedicato a te (‘Dedicated to You’).
Not only was the concept unprecedented within the company, but its business model was too: Whereas Barilla traditionally sold through supermarkets and retailers, Dedicato a te would be its first direct-to-consumer channel. Moreover, it was a timely response to increasing consumer demand for bespoke experiences.
“Dedicato a te is a strategic testbed for us,” explains Laura Pezzotta, head of Barilla’s Personalization Unit. “It is a way to gain experience in e-commerce, become more relevant to consumers, improve our velocity and agility and increase the emotional relationship among our brands and people.”
“Adobe is a brand I trust. Plus, it’s known for keeping its platforms updated with the latest features and functionalities, which will in turn keep our offering fresh and relevant.”
Head of Personalization Unit, Barilla
Getting the right infrastructure in place
Laura and her team liked the fact that Commerce provided easy system integration and was customizable. It also offered the flexibility and scalability to meet in the future various market demands.
“I felt comfortable with Adobe immediately,” recalls Laura. “It is a brand I trust, and the depth and breadth of Adobe Commerce matched our requirements. Plus, Adobe is known for keeping its platforms updated with the latest features and functionalities, which will in turn keep our offering fresh and relevant.”
With the e-commerce platform chosen, the Alpenite team got to work building a technology stack to orchestrate the funneling process. This involved integrating Barilla’s CRM, Identity Management, and WMS systems, plus the systems of six suppliers involved in the production chain. The team also used Page Builder to develop storytelling and content pages to target diverse audiences as they moved through the site.
Alpenite used out-of-the-box Adobe tools to design a configurator that enables consumers to visualize and personalize their product selections in 3D. Laura Pezzotta says: “We were building one of the first applications of hyper-personalization in the food industry. But we had to get our approach right – we had to show customers the value of buying a more expensive customized offering rather than a more standard product off-the-shelf.”
Barilla launched a limited edition of its most iconic product, designed a brand-new snack tin to keep products fresh, and converted customer feedback into actionable insights and exclusive packaging.
Celebrating life’s special moments
Launched in tandem with a national marketing campaign and promoted around Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Friendship Day, Christmas, and other annual milestones, Dedicato a te immediately impressed the Italian public with its innovative and immersive 3D buying experience.
Using the configurator, customers browse and select from a range of customizable product options including Mulino Bianco cakes, cookies, and snacks as well as Pan di Stelle cocoa biscuits. Customers can personalize the recyclable tin packaging with names, messages, and even photos to create a gift that is both delicious and a thoughtful, memorable keepsake.
After confirming payment and shipping details, customers typically wait 10 days to receive their order. During that time, they are kept up to date on progress via email. Laura explains: “After the satisfaction of designing their own gift, it was important to maintain a customer’s joy until their order arrives.”
Net Promoter Score surveys validate that approach, with 94% of respondents saying they are likely to re-purchase, while 92% report being satisfied with their products and an equal amount would recommend the site to others.
In 2021, Barilla created specific communication campaigns to lift brand awareness, launched new products, developed new packages, and partnered with brands for merchandising opportunities.
Increasing the profitability of seasonal products
In its first year, customers embraced the opportunity to create personalized gifts through the site, with the majority of orders placed by 25- to 44-year-olds, a lucrative market segment. Recipients sharing the joy of receiving their gifts over social media channels generated tens of thousands of additional leads.
he site’s success has also sparked innovation in the form of products designed from the outset for customization, such as Mulino Bianco Biscolettere lettered breakfast biscuits and a vintage limited edition, the famous minicake Soldino popular during 80s.
Commerce data helps Laura Pezzotta and her team fine-tune the site and optimize operations, too. She says: “Through the data, we can see the direct consequences of our actions, from adding a new site feature to a one-off marketing campaign. The data is also useful for engaging and educating internal stakeholders.”
“Through this project and the use of Adobe Commerce, we amassed valuable knowledge and best practices that will shape the future direction of Barilla D2C streams.”
Head of Personalization Unit, Barilla
Applying lessons learned
Dedicato a te was able to manage limited edition iconic vintage products, collaborations with renowned artists and brands, and new customizable packaging formats and materials.
Reflecting on the success of Dedicato a te, Laura Pezzotta says: “Through this project and the use of Adobe Commerce, we amassed valuable knowledge and best practices that will shape the future direction of Barilla D2C streams.”