The Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) strategy is fast becoming a popular route for manufacturers and CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) brands to enter the market directly — instead of through a middle-man entity.
The benefits of going direct to consumer are many, but to name a few, going D2C eliminates the barrier between the producer and the consumer, giving the producer greater control over its brand, reputation, marketing, and sales tactics. Plus, it helps the producer directly engage, and therefore learn from, their customers.
Big name brands such as luggage manufacturer Away and office supplies manufacturer Quill have already taken the leap with D2C marketing and D2C selling campaigns, and we’re anticipating that more manufacturers will do the same in 2021 and beyond.
While the barriers to enter the fray as a startup D2C brand are relatively low, you have to remember that you are competing against retail giants like Amazon and Walmart who have already established a massive customer following.
This is why it is crucial for you to have a strategy in place that will help you become a distinguished brand and disrupt the status quo.
Here are our direct-to-consumer (D2C) tips:
How to take your business direct to consumer in 2021: The ultimate guide
Strategies, insights, and tips on how to start and scale a direct-to-consumer business.
What is direct-to-consumer (D2C)?
D2C, or Direct to Customer, is a low barrier-to-entry eCommerce strategy that allows manufacturers and CPG brands to sell directly to the consumer. It bypasses the conventional method of negotiating with a retailer or reseller to get your product on the market. In D2C, brands sell directly to the consumer through an online medium.
Going D2C has many advantages, with competitive pricing being a major benefactor for consumers. Other advantages include having direct contact with consumers to get a better understanding of them, and being able to freely experiment with new product releases and test them with a segment of your consumer-based to gain their feedback.
But going D2C is not easy. It is imperative that you have a D2C-specific strategy in place to be heard and noticed by your target market.
(Traditional retailer vs direct-to-consumer)
Direct-to-consumer vs. Wholesale
So, we’ve established that the direct-to-consumer business model disrupts the traditional model entirely, with manufacturers “cutting out” the retail middleman and selling straight to the end-consumer.
Now, we put “cutting out” in quotes for a reason, here:
Yes, direct-to-consumer companies by nature don’t involve third-party retail companies in their business models.
But that’s not to say the retail side of the equation doesn’t exist at all.
In other words, going D2C means the manufacturer takes responsibility for all things retail-related within the business in addition to their original manufacturing and fulfillment responsibilities.
You might be asking yourself:
“Why would a manufacturer take on this added responsibility when they could just as easily keep selling their products to retailers wholesale?”
The answer to that question involves two facets — both of which revolve around the evolving needs, expectations, and behaviors of the modern customer.
First, today’s consumers expect to be able to go directly to the source when researching a variety of products or brands, or when making a purchase from a specific brand. Case in point, Astound Commerce found that 59% of consumers prefer to do research directly on the manufacturer’s website, with 55% preferring to make purchases the same way.
(59% of consumers prefer to do research directly on the manufacturer’s website, with 55% preferring to make purchases the same way)
For example, a customer looking for a new set of golf clubs is more likely to check out Callaway’s actual website than they are to go to Dick’s Sporting Goods’ site for more information or to make a purchase.
For the sake of argument, imagine if Callaway didn’t provide the information this customer is looking for on its website. Needless to say, this customer will likely be a bit aggravated and may end up choosing another brand of clubs altogether.
So, in terms of giving the end-user what they expect, it makes sense for manufacturers to at least consider going D2C in the near future.
It’s also worth mentioning that because many consumers are going directly to the source, this means they aren’t doing business with retailers at all. Going back to our golf club example, this means Callaway can no longer count on Dick’s Sporting Goods to sell their products and will simply have to take matters into their own hands.
(Quick note: That was a completely hypothetical scenario we created for this article. We have no idea how Callaway or Dick’s is doing in terms of sales.)
Okay, so what about wholesale?
The wholesale business model involves selling your products to retailers in bulk. Manufacturers of all kinds have traditionally used this method to sell their stock—which is precisely why most manufacturing companies aren’t D2C by default.
If you’re considering sticking with, or scaling your wholesale business model, here’s what you need to consider.
Wholesale marketing strategies: 3 ways wholesale distributors can scale
Whether a company is sticking to their wholesale methods or blending the wholesale model with a direct-to-consumer model (and thus adopting a hybrid model, which we will touch on later), there are some strategies worth noting.
1. Use cutting-edge eCommerce technology to drive B2B sales
Like D2C manufacturers, wholesale distributors can also use new technology to improve the experience for B2B partners and retailers. This may include a better corporate website and an extranet.
2. Gamify your B2B processes
Speaking of extranets, this is one way for a wholesale brand to gamify their B2B sales and nurturing processes. The company can offer sales leaderboards, product-focused quizzes, and competitions.
3. Leverage B2B pricing strategies
Rather than shaving a flat amount off the retail price, wholesale companies can leverage demand-based pricing, loss leader pricing, cost-plus pricing, dynamic pricing, and other B2B pricing strategies.
However, as previously mentioned, going D2C has unique benefits that manufacturers are missing out on. Namely, detaching themselves from the consumer’s natural research and buying process.
2 things to consider when going D2C
If going D2C sounds more appealing to you, or if you’re looking to leverage the aforementioned “hybrid” model, here are two common pitfalls to watch out for when considering going direct-to-consumer:
1. Make sure your company is 100% ready to shift from wholesale to D2C
Needless to say, going D2C isn’t something that just “happens”; it’s going to take a fair amount of effort on your end, to say the least.
For companies looking to switch to a D2C model, this will involve investing in training and enabling your employees, evolving your current processes (and developing new ones), and overall ensuring that your company is able to operate efficiently and profitably under the D2C model.
Taking this a bit further, you also need to have a clear rationale as to why you’ve decided to switch to D2C in the first place. Moreover, you need to be prepared to communicate this rationale to your team, and to your customers, in ways that matter to each party. Without this clarity and transparency in place, there’s little chance of your D2C endeavors being successful.
But, by communicating openly with your team and your customers, you ensure everyone involved in and impacted by the switch is 100% prepared for it.
2. Prepare your partners
And, for companies that decide to use a “hybrid” model, whereby they sell wholesale to retailers and directly to individual consumers, there’s a risk of alienating your retail partners in making this switch.
Think about it:
The fact that you’re selling D2C essentially makes you a competitor to your retail partners who are selling your products. As we just talked about, when given the choice between purchasing your products through a retailer or directly from you, the customer will more than likely choose the latter.
While you don’t want to steal business from your retail partners, you also don’t want to see your products collecting dust on your retail partners’ shelves, either.
Rather than completely severing ties with your retailers, dig deeper into your partnership to figure out a profitable way to move forward. This may involve selling only specific items D2C, or delivering wholesale shipments of high-performing products to specific retailers; or, it might involve having your partner retailers take a more active role in promoting your products.
Whatever the case may be, look for a way that both you and your partner companies can both win out.
How do direct-to-consumer companies approach marketing?
The most obvious difference between the way a “traditional” manufacturer and a D2C company operates is that D2C companies take full control and ownership of the end-to-end customer experience.
(Of course, this isn’t a task to be taken lightly by any stretch of the imagination.)
The upside to this added responsibility is manufacturers that go D2C are free to market their own products (and overall brand) as they see fit — or, rather, as they know will most effectively engage their audience.
Breaking this down a bit further, D2C companies have full control over:
- How they build relationships with their customers,
- Who their customers actually are,
- How they deliver value to this end-user customer.
As we said earlier, one of the key reasons to go D2C in the first place is because the traditional retail experience is failing the modern customer. So, it wouldn’t make sense for D2C companies to merely replicate the played-out customer experience of days past, right?
On the contrary, you’ll want to do something different in terms of the marketing strategies you use, and the channels you use to implement them.
A few examples:
- Away develops content related to the traveler’s lifestyle, distributing it via digital and physical channels
- Tivoli partners with a variety of partner companies to co-create unique products
- Stanley-PMI’s approach to content marketing and social media marketing destroys the competition.
The point is, going D2C frees you from the constraints of the traditional business model, and allows you to cater to your target customers the way you know they want to be treated.
Whether this means providing them with top-quality, engaging content, treating them to more personalized services, or doing something else entirely, going D2C can allow you to become more connected and engaged with your end-users than ever before.
Is D2C here to stay, or a passing fad?
So far, we’ve talked a good amount about the level of investment that going D2C entails, which leads us to a few questions:
- Will consumers continue to flock to D2C companies as they have in recent years?
- Will retail companies evolve and regain their footing?
- As some retailers do evolve, can manufacturers continue to operate D2C or, at the very least, using a hybrid approach?
All in all, the main question is:
Is going D2C actually worth it for your company in the long run, or is it just a passing fad?
Look, there’s no denying that D2C companies are in the limelight right now. Between the success experienced by companies like Warby Parker, Casper, and Away, it seems like everywhere you turn a new D2C company is popping up.
But that doesn’t mean D2C is a fad as if it’s a clothing style and will soon go out of fashion. Really, the explosion of D2C companies as of late is anything but arbitrary.
The reason D2C companies have experienced such success in recent years is that they’re better able to cater to the evolving needs of today’s customer—such as providing more personalized and authentic service.
(In this same vein, the decline of brick-and-mortar retail stores was also anything but arbitrary. Rather, it was caused by the companies’ inability to keep up with their customers’ expectations.)
This desire, on the consumer’s part, for more personalized and authentic engagements with the brands they do business with definitely isn’t a fad that is going to fade away soon enough. The reality is, customer experience is becoming more and more important as time goes on — to the point that it will soon overtake price and product as the key factor that differentiates your brand from another.
So, it really isn’t a question of whether or not D2C as a business model will fall “out of style”; it’s more a question of whether or not your company can continue to use the D2C approach effectively and profitably well into the future.
Will the D2C approach that worked for startups in 2015 work in 2020, 2025, and 2050? Probably not.
Just as many retail companies have failed to evolve — and have since shuttered their doors — using today’s D2C approach tomorrow probably isn’t going to be good for your business.
But does that mean that D2C companies will just “die out” after the current frenzy has calmed down?
In fact, given that going D2C is the “hot new thing” in the world of commerce, we’re bound to see even more innovation from these companies as new competitors enter the fray, so to speak. In turn, the massively-successful companies that have come to represent the D2C model will likely give the model even more of a platform.
Here’s the main point:
“Your company can thrive using the D2C model now, tomorrow, and ten years from now — as long as you use the model to optimize the service you provide your customers and the processes that allow you to do so.”
Should big brands sell directly to consumers (instead of through retailers)?
Piggybacking off of the idea that going D2C is a hot new trend, it’s also worth noting that many established companies that have long operated in the traditional manner are jumping on the D2C bandwagon, so to speak.
For example, in 2017 Gillette introduced a brand new on-demand shaving supply service in response to the massive success experienced by Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club.
(Going back a bit further, Dollar Shave Club was actually purchased by Unilever in 2016 for $1 billion — an example of a big brand going D2C by simply merging with an established D2C company.)
But, as we alluded to in the last section, it shouldn’t be a question of whether just any big brand company should start using the D2C model. While going D2C certainly may work for some big brands, others might not experience the same level of success in making the switch.
Before making the jump, big brands need to answer the following questions:
- Does your company have the means to implement a hybrid business model and ensure both sides of the business run effectively and efficiently?
- Does your company have a profitable and mutually-beneficial agreement with your retail partners, as well as a plan for how to put the agreement into action?
- Is the company prepared to take full control and ownership of their customer experience?
Again, going D2C isn’t some “magic bullet” that will automatically spur any business to greatness. In fact, implementing the D2C model without really knowing what that all entails is a sure recipe for disaster.
But, as long as you know exactly what you intend to provide your customers—and you’ve determined that using the D2C model is the best way to give it to them—then you should start planning to make the shift as soon as you possibly can.
Ready to go direct-to-customer? Here are 21 ways to get started
To make a mark in your industry, you need to stand out right from the very moment you launch your D2C brand. Here are 21 ways to help you get started.
1. Identify an everyday item, and make it affordable
Before you even decide to create a D2C brand, have a reason on why you should enter the market in the first place. The reason why both Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s emerged was that the men’s cartridge razor market, which was dominated by Gillette, was far too expensive, averaging around $6 a blade.
The two D2C brands saw this as an opportunity to disrupt this market and offer a more affordable solution. Harry’s sell their cartridge blades at $1.87 a piece and customer have the option to either go for a standard $8 rubber handle or the $20 metal finish one.
2. Focus your product and marketing efforts on your customer’s pain point(s)
In addition to affordability, focus your product and branding messages to resolve a common consumer pain points.
Bonobos, founded in 2007, is one of the oldest D2C brands. When they launched, they set out to achieve a very simple objective: to make better pants for men.
Prior to launching Bonobos, they discovered two things:
- Men don’t like to physically go out and shop around for pants
- A majority of men experience difficulty in finding a good pair of pants
Further research led to findings that European manufactured pants were often too high-rise and were tight around the thigh area, and American manufactured pants were quite baggy.
Bonobos developed a pair of pants that fit in between the two extremes. When they initially promoted their item, the early adopters of the product shared extremely positive reviews, spurring the growth of the company. Bonobos would go on to expand their range to include formal wear, swimwear, shirts, and other accessories.
3. Develop a subscription-based model
Many successful D2C brands like Dollar Shave Club, Honest Company, and Harry’s offer their customers a cancel-any-time subscription package.
The subscription model helps to save your consumers time, effort, and money. And it also helps you achieve a better customer retention rate.
On reviewing Dollar Shave Club’s retention number, we can see that after 12 months, approximately 50 percent of customers still use the service. And after 2 years, they had retained 25 percent of all signups.
The recurring revenue along with high customer retention led to rapid exponential growth.
4. Simplify choice
When bed-in-a-box D2C brand Casper launched in 2014, they observed that the process of buying a mattress was an “awful consumer experience”. The prices were too high, sales staff were extremely pushy, and the different options that were available to them led to a lot of confusion.
Casper’s approach to the mattress industry was unique. They only offered one model of mattress, at an affordable price, and the product was delivered straight to your door.
By eliminating all the unnecessary choices, Casper went on to achieve $1 million in sales after the first month, and $100 million within the first two years.
During their research, Casper found the majority of customers preferred either a foam mattress or a latex mattress. When combined, Casper produced a solid all-round mattress. Although some of their consumers did prefer to have air or innerspring, losing out on those potential customers meant focusing their efforts on selling a single mattress which was preferred by the majority.
5. Take a content-first approach
Emily Weiss started her blog Into the Gloss back in 2010 while she was interning at Vogue. She wanted to engage with celebrities and moguls to talk about their make up rituals. As the blog grew in popularity, hitting 15 million unique views every month, Weiss decided to take the leap and launch her own brand, Glossier, in 2014.
On launching Glossier, Weiss’s blog has proven to become an invaluable asset in helping Glossier grow its year-on-year revenue by 600 percent.
The blog also provided a platform to engage with Glossier’s target market to gain new product ideas and consumer insights. When Glossier posted “What’s your dream face wash?”, it garnered over 400+ comments, which was then categorized by ingredients and concepts.
Another example of the content-first approach is Tiege Hanley, created by Vlogger Aaron Marino, founder of the Alpha M Youtube channel. In promoting his product, he created a series of lifestyle and fashion videos to demonstrate (and promote) how the product can be utilized daily.
6. Offer easy, no-fee returns
Adopted by brands like Casper and Bonobos, having a free returns policy provides consumers with reassurance and confidence to purchase from you. Many D2C brands operate and interact with their consumers online, and some consumers will hesitate to buy a product from a brand they are not familiar with — that’s why having this kind of policy helps.
Learn more about how to make your returns policy to the next level.
How to take your business direct to consumer in 2021: The ultimate guide
Strategies, insights, and tips on how to start and scale a direct-to-consumer business.
7. Make use of celebrity influencers
Actress Jessica Alba used her 11 million followers on Instagram to launch household brand The Honest Company back in 2011. In the space of a year of launching, the company hit $10 million in revenue, and by 2014, it reached $150 million.
While acknowledging the fact that not everyone is a celebrity entrepreneur — though it would help — you can certainly make use of celebrity influencers to help promote your product.
In promoting Casper’s mattress, they reached out to various Instagram and Twitter influencers, as well as leveraging Hollywood connections. Indeed utilizing influencers does involve a cost, but it certainly does pay dividend when the influencer is authentically active on social media.
When Kylie Jenner shared a picture of her new Casper mattress in March 2015, it generated more than 800,000+ likes and it immediately doubled Casper’s sales.
(You don’t have to hire Kylie Jenner-level influencers, of course)
8. Incentivize your customers to spread the word
Prior to launching to Harry’s, they were able to get 100,000 email addresses of potential customers in just one week. How did they manage to achieve that? By encouraging those customers who signed up to get their friends and family to sign up, and the more people they could invite, the more prizes they could get:
- 5 friends: win free shaving cream
- 10 friends: win a free handle with blade
- 25 friends: win a Winston shave set
- 50 friends: win a year’s supply of free blades
The incentive-driven scheme was extremely powerful. Referrals accounted for 65,000 sign-ups.
9. Create a viral video
The Dollar Shave Club created a notoriously famous viral video that has been viewed over 25 million times. If you haven’t seen it, then I highly recommend that you do (see it below)!
The above video cost $4,500 to make and features CEO Michael Dubin delivering a speech in a sarcastic and nonchalant manner. When the video was published on March 6, 2012, at 6.30 am, Dollar Shave Club’s website had crashed, but when the site finally came back online, there were 12,000 orders waiting to be processed.
Even though the success of the video was sudden, a lot of deliberate steps were taken to ensure the video did go viral:
- The company contacted several publications and offered them early access to the video
- They spent over $10,000 promoting the video on social media
- They created a shorter version of the video for late-night TV
- They approached sites and blogs that were considered tastemakers for the male demographic
- They paid to get mentions on shows like Howard Stern
All of these steps helped to amplify the video’s reach. Plus, the video is hilarious.
10. Create a virtualize experience
Optical eyewear D2C brand Warby Parker set out to disrupt the $5 billion eye exam market.
When they were founded in 2010, they shipped 5 pairs of glasses directly to their consumers for them to try. They then went on to develop an augmented reality app for virtual try-on, in an effort to make the home try-on business model redundant.
But it wasn’t until 2017 when Warby Parker made their biggest move to disrupt the optical eyewear market. The company saw that customers typically spent $50 for an eye test at an optician, and at that same optician, they bought a pair of glasses as well. According to the Fast Company, optometrist get 59 percent of their revenue from selling Luxxotica-made frames.
To disrupt this widely accepted trend, Warby Parker knew they couldn’t ask their consumers to ask their opticians for a prescription and then walk out so that they can upload their details to a startup’s website since it is unnatural and quite rude.
That’s why they developed the Prescription Check app that enabled consumers to examine their prescription and pupillary distance via the app. The data from the app is sent to a contracted optometrist who assesses the results. It is a fast, convenient, and easy way to get your prescription without having to go the opticians.
Read this next: What is a Progressive Web App? PWA vs Native App vs Responsive Website
11. Use micro influencers
If you don’t have the budget to use celebrity influencer, then you can reach out to micro influencers in your niche. Glossier engaged with their 800,000 strong community on Instagram to promote their brand.
They achieved this by allowing customers to create their own customizable product that encouraged them to create content around and share.
Those who produced high-quality and consistent Glossier-related content were invited to become brand ambassadors.
12. Ask customers to make content
While viral videos can be quite powerful, achieving viral status is not necessarily guaranteed. But Warby Parker took a different approach. They asked their consumers to make content by posting pictures and videos on social media of them trialing their home try-on kit.
The company found that those who shared content were 50 percent more likely to make a purchase, so this strategy was focused on those who had an inherent desire to share photos. but rather than asking feedback from friends and family, Warby Parker asked their consumers to go a step further and share with the wider world.
As a result, there are over 56,500 YouTube videos that appear under the search term “Warby Parker Try On”. Of course, the top results are influencers who have been sponsored by Warby Parker.
(Warby Parker Try-On campaign is very unique)
13. Implement an aggressive SEO campaign
Search Engine Optimization is – still – a sure fire way of getting widespread recognition and generating web traffic.
In dominating the search engine rankings in the mattress industry, Casper created multiple landing pages for every conceivable search term that people will use to buy a mattress. They also pumped a lot of money into Adwords to rise above their competitors to achieve a massive chunk of the 550,000+ monthly Google searches for mattresses.
While this may be an expensive way of building traffic, it has undoubtedly been a powerful trump card for Casper.
14. Disrupt social media with infographics and memes
Never underestimate the power of visual content like memes and infographics. If it is able to strike a chord with your audience, then you will establish a strong brand following.
Clothing brand, Everlane, prior to their launch, produced a single infographic that laid out the actual total cost to make a shirt, along with the markup added by the wholesaler and retailer. The infographic gained nearly 20,000 notes on Tumblr and some controversial comments from individuals in the fashion and beauty sector.
(Everlane’s pre-launch infographic)
Everlane followed this up by posting the infographic and reaction on Facebook. Business Insiders reports that by combining all the social media campaigns to promote infographic helped Everlane gain 200,000 organic users.
(The pre-launch infographic worked like a magic for Everlane)
When Everlane eventually launched after their viral infographic campaign, they sold out their first product — a $15 t-shirt.
15. Deliver on end-to-end customer experience
In addition to customer acquisition, it is also essential to maintain strong customer relationships throughout the customer journey, this includes after sales.
In observing the growth of Zappos, Bonobos founder Andy Dunn realized that their growth had very little to do with the products they sold, and more with delivering an excellent service.
Bonobos developed a culture of ultra-responsive customer support that delivered:
- 90 percent success rate of responding to calls within 30 minutes
- 90 percent success rate of “great” email ratings
- Sub-24 hour average response time for email
Bonobos saw their direct traffic rate increase by 53.5 percent — which is an industry best, and the company also won the Multichannel Merchant’s Customer Experience Leader award in 2015 and 2016.
16. Start or join a community
Meal replacement brand Soylent became actively involved in a Reddit forum that emerged soon after the product was launched.
Soylent was born after founder and CEO Rob Rhinehart posted a blog entitled “How I Stopped Eating Food” where he shared a meal replacement program that he had developed. In this post, he listed all the ingredients and the method. When the Soylent subreddit emerged, it became a community for experience Soylent mentors to discuss ingredients, recipes, and dosages. The Soylent brand itself became heavily involved in the community by joining discussions and conducting AMAs (Ask Me Anything).
Soylent became more than a product, it became an idea. The community became so big that it attracted a $20 million investment from Reddit user a16z.
17. Facebook marketing
In addition to their SEO campaign, Casper also utilized Facebook Ads as part of their digital marketing strategy. Facebook ads have the ability to target and retarget a specific demographic. And similar to Casper’s SEO campaign, they also ran multiple campaigns to target as many demographics as possible.
Plus, with over 30 million Facebook Business pages, many brands have taken advantage of Facebook’s eCommerce feature, with Shopify stating that 85 percent of orders from social media comes directly from Facebook.
A case study by Facebook showed how ASOS saw their orders triple and they also saw their outreach increase by 35 percent.
18. Instagram ads
Over a billion people use Instagram, along with that, there are also more than 25 million business profiles.
In the last year or so, Instagram has developed a variety of paid advertising formats, from the “Shop Now” button introduced in 2015 to the “Swipe Up” feature found in stories and IGTV that directs the consumer straight to the site.
19. YouTube ads
According to Global Media Insight, 60 percent of people prefer watching a video rather than reading text. Furthermore, most people tend to remember a video ads more than textual ads — 50 percent of viewers say they can recall an ad, so if even they don’t engage with the ad, they’ll still remember.
There is a number of options for delivering YouTube ads, there’s skippable ads that allows a user to skip the ad after 5 seconds, non-skippable ads which are videos less than 30 seconds or bumper ads which are non-skippable and are up to 6 seconds in length.
Plus, YouTube lets you control your spending and allow you to stick to a budget.
20. Utilize fulfillment companies
Last year, Amazon invited CPG brands to a three-day event in Seattle to promote their Amazon fulfillment center. Selling D2C requires logistics, storage, and fulfillment capabilities.
For most D2C brands, this will involve having to incur a high capital cost. But by utilizing a fulfillment company such as Amazon, you gain access to their logistics and distribution facilities in exchange for the percentage of your sale or for a fixed monthly price.
Plus, since Amazon has a huge number of monthly visitors, placing your product on their platform will give your brand excellent exposure.
21. Go headless and reach consumers everywhere
The way consumers are making their purchases online is changing. With the advent of voice assistant devices, OC&C Strategy Consultants have predicted that voice shopping will grow to more than $40 billion in the year 2022, which is up from the $2 billion expenditure that we see today.
By investing in a headless CMS — like Core dna — you will have the capabilities of reaching out and engage with your consumers on various devices and channels as well as taking payments from them as well. Headless commerce holds many advantages over traditional commerce platforms like Magento.
Headless commerce is more flexible and adaptable to the ever-changing consumer trends of the IoT-era and is able to provide a better and more personalized experience for your consumers.
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It is all about maximizing the digital channels
A vast majority of the strategies listed above will not work without a ship-shape digital experience. Core dna has helped D2C brands like Tivoli turn into a global company with sales and distribution in more than 50 countries.
Tivoli’s D2C site was originally built on Magento and required a dedicated team to manage and maintain their site. Their Magento site relied on a lot of plugins and heavy customization, and the solution was both unstable and unscalable.
On moving to Core dna, they saw their conversion rate increase to over 30%, and they also freed up their resources to concentrate on marketing and running campaigns.
Want to see how high-growth Direct-to-Consumer companies use Core dna’s commerce platform? Let’s chat.
Read this next: Magento 2 vs Shopify Plus vs Core dna: The Enterprise eCommerce Standoff
D2C – Content Upgrade
The race to meet changing consumer expectations is on. D2C channels offer instant access to ownable consumer data like buyer habits and behaviors. Use this D2C checklist to unite teams behind a common goal, and deliver excellent shopper experiences.
Planning is a major part of any direct-to-consumer strategy. Selling products directly to consumers can take several forms, and there are a few steps to consider when preparing to switch to a D2C channel.
Planning can involve a variety of tactics.
Persona Development – A “Persona” is a fictional portrayal of your actual users. Personas can offer a shared understanding of your users regarding time spent online, what resources they trust and what pain points they’re facing.
Specific Persona Journeys – User journeys offer a deeper understanding of your users. Once you know your core personas, you can map out their current experience using your product or service.
Persona Motivation and Profile – Personas based on user motivations focus more on their behaviors to recognize what drives them to act, buy or engage rather than how they are (age, location, etc.) Understanding the motivation behind an action can help you make better business decisions. You may also want to consider creating a hypothetical profile of a target customer.
Data Mapping – Data mapping is where source data is directed to the targeted database. It shows the connections and relationships between data sources, making any potential problems clearly visible when looking at the map.
Organizational Impact – So many companies that are launching D2C channels forget the impacts on the organization. What happens to the support desk if the calls stop and people self-serve? How will sales teams handle taking D2C orders if they’re accustomed to handling B2B? Think about the impact D2C will have within your business and make the appropriate changes in roles and communication to meet new needs.
Organizational Structure – Switching to a D2C channel may mean new staff members. Think about how your company will orient itself to work with the latest B2B digital world. Organizational changes may be needed, like hiring new talent.
Use compelling and engaging content for the hard sell. The best practices for D2C utilize the best marketing strategies. Here’s what you need to check off on your list when it comes to your content plan.
Content Architecture – Content architecture is how your content is organized, structured, labeled, and connected. Content architecture is essential for your editors to manage content and better the experience for the visitor.
SEO Strategy – Your SEO strategy is a plan to improve your site’s search engine rankings. There are hundreds, nay thousands of companies touting their ability to get your site ranking higher. Whoever you choose to handle your SEO, a good SEO strategy will position your site and content high on SERPs to attract the attention of prospective customers.
Conversion Strategy – The majority of visitors will still leave without converting. A solid conversion strategy improves eCommerce conversion rates. Techniques can involve SEO, marketing tactics, quality content, and more that encourage visitors to take a specific action, like buying your product or service.
Content Strategy – Your content strategy will look at your specific business goals and use the content as a source to help achieve them. A good content strategy involves creating content that drives critical business objectives while staying organized and ensuring your efforts reap tangible results.
Content Layout Planning – What’s first the content or the layout? Without layout planning, awkward and difficult page layouts are almost inevitable. One doesn’t necessarily have to come before the other, but you should have an idea of the physical layout of the page and the content that will go on it.
Components Planning – Content components make up the various segments of a site. They’re bits of content that can be added to multiple pages. It’s beneficial to you to plan ahead to help save you time when you’re ready to go live.
Email Templates and Content – Another big part of your content strategy will likely be sending out marketing emails and content to potential and current customers. If you’re not much of a writer, use an email template to help you create compelling, well-written marketing emails.
Brands with direct customer access means more agile tactics like launching new products, promotions, better marketing strategies, and more. To get the most out of your efforts, be sure to utilize the following.
SEM – Search engine marketing (SEM) increases your visibility in SERPs. SEM is often a paid-for promotion, and with it, you can instantly reach your clients, build brand awareness, create and manage ads, increase traffic, and target specific audiences.
PPC – Pay-per-click is one of the most powerful traffic-generating approaches. With PPC, you (the advertiser) pays a publisher only when your ad is clicked. PPC is a popular tactic to generate instant traffic, drive warm leads, increase ROI, help with SEO strategies, and reach audiences cost-effectively.
Social Media – Social media marketing uses various social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat) to connect with your target audience, build your brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic. Social media networks are open to all. To create a better marketing strategy, marketers can follow consumers’ activities or potential buyers to gain information about a target audience, including likes, dislikes, and interests.
Influencer – Influencers do a great job of promoting existing products and services. The public sees influencers (people with a dedicated social following) as experts within their niche. Endorsements and product mentions from influencers work because of the trust they already have with their following. Recommendations from influencers often act as a type of proof that your product or service is reputable.
- Channel strategy
- Content marketing
- Affiliate marketing
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- Products – Include types of products, bundling
- Client portal
- Backend systems
- External 3rd party systems (ie pricing platforms, commodities etc. When the product varies based on an index)
- Datawarehouse/reporting systems
- Internal Communications
- IT involvement
- Change champion
- Team structure
- Sales integration
- Commissioning system
- Client service/Support
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