Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) has been the big eCommerce story of the last year, with some forward-thinking brands riding the wave of the success it brings including Bloom & Wild, BrewDog and Beauty Pie. Circumventing wholesalers and retailers to sell straight to the end consumer means D2C brands have greater control over their brand, marketing and sales, and greater insight into their customer’s behavior.
If you’re looking to venture into the world of D2C, here are my 7 top tips for you to follow.
1) Get to know your market
Research, identify and understand your customers. This starts with gathering relevant information on demographics, purchasing behaviors, social media traits, marketing preferences and more. If you’re already selling to a B2B market you’ll have an advantage by knowing the distributors, retail outlets, and other channels that sell your products. Ask yourself, who are their customers? How do they market? Are they taking an omnichannel approach? These types of questions and answers can help to form a baseline for your research.
2) Identify key differentiators
Take what you’ve learnt from your market research and expand upon it. When you start looking for key differentiators, start from within. Ask yourself why your brand exists and why it began. What do you offer that the competition doesn’t? You cannot simply create a D2C channel and expect your customers to come to you. How will you drive traffic to your website over your competitors and third-party sites such as Amazon? It’s important to establish your brand as a D2C offering, letting your audience know the benefits that buying directly brings.
3) Customer-centric strategy
In 2021 consumers expect more of an intimate experience from the brands they’re buying from. You should already be putting your customers first and in the case of D2C it will be at the heart of everything that you do, with your products being the beating heart of the relationship. You should look to cut processes and friction throughout the purchase cycle, as well as improving it with new digital functionalities.
Choosing the right technology and developing an experience that offers the very best shopping journey possible is key, along with getting to know your customers and establishing a strategy that allows you to connect on a one-to-one level.
4) Sustainability and the modern shopper
We are more environmentally aware than ever and so are looking to commit to brands that are not only greener and more sustainable but are also socially aware. Brands that lift the cloud on how they conduct business from sourcing of products to their environmental and social impact will inherently generate more support. Develop a clear brand purpose to give your D2C marketing an edge, offering customers something they can buy into beyond just products. After all, transparency breeds trust, and customers are quick to buy from brands they trust.
5) Personalize your shopping experience
To be successful, open up your treasure trove of customer data, starting with first-party data captured directly from your customer and that you own. You can then use this to drive personalized customer experiences.
One approach to personalization is AI-powered recommendations based on customers’ interests and website behavior. Collecting and using customer data wisely can help make up for a lack of in-person contact common for many brands.
Using the data you can collect about your customers, start to build a one-to-one relationship at every touch point in your customer journey - pre and post purchase. From personalized offers, recommendations, special discounts to simply using first name personalization, all of these will contribute to an increase in conversion and customer retention.
6) Reward and reward again
Many successful D2C brands have invested in rolling out a customer loyalty program, building loyalty through value-added interactions across multiple channels. You should analyze your data closely, consider who buys from you multiple times, who only buys once, who engages on social media platforms and a host of other metrics. From here you can work out the value of each customer segment to your business and build your strategy around the incentives required to retain these customers. Proven strategies include earned points, membership programs, cash back, and special discounts. You can also use rewards to lure in new customers.
7) Implement a subscription model
Subscription services are a win for both the customer and the retailer. Your customers can expect the goods they want to be delivered in regular, predictable intervals. Equally, by prioritizing subscription and membership packages, you are investing in a long-term, steady outlook with your customers. The subscription model offers something that customers desire; value for money, convenience, and exclusive benefits, like free delivery, discounts, and loyalty points. This trend will continue to grow, as merchants search for ways to strengthen customer relationships and encourage recurring purchases and a steady revenue stream.
Going D2C is one of the biggest changes you can make to your business. It isn’t as simple as creating a website but with the right considerations, it can open your brand up to limitless opportunities. Remember, your D2C offering doesn’t have to be a replacement for your existing retail partners. Instead it can be an opportunity to diversify your channels which could become a major part of your growth strategy.
How can PushON and Fresh Relevance help?
If you'd like more information about how to build a truly customer-centric comprehensive sales strategy supported by Adobe Commerce - a market leading eCommerce platform, check out our whitepaper on developing a direct-to-consumer relationship.
And of course to help get those improved conversions, customer value and retention, look no further than Fresh Relevance. Experience true omnichannel personalization at its best by booking a demo.