The digital economy continues to reshape how consumers interact with brands at a rapid pace- 2019 will be no exception. This is creating an opportunity that most did not see coming for the brand manufactures willing to evolve their business and operations to be digitally mature. Just as e-commerce opens more doors, the brands that aren’t digitally maturing will eventually be left behind and in many cases it is happening quicker than imagined. Many direct to consumer brands are popping up and making a big impact, pushing out the well-known industry giants in verticals like mattresses, shoes and even men’s grooming.
It is easy enough to Google and check the stats about the massive growth of DTC online. For example, you will probably see that in 2017, DTC sales increased by 34% and represented 13% of all e-commerce sales. So why is DTC e-commerce becoming such a big space to make waves? Mainly because it is satisfying the greater need of the consumer. Let’s explore where the gaps are currently, so when you begin to strategize your DTC roadmap you will able to recognize key areas for your brand to explore expanding into or improving upon.
Starting with a customer-centric approach and making your experiences data-driven are both key puzzle pieces to direct-to-consumer digital maturity. By changing your mindset to start thinking as if you were a retailer and aligning your marketing engagements with DTC methods to help provide meaningful engagements with your customers you will be able to open a world of opportunities. At the end of the day it is truly all about the experience for customers and that emotional tie between your brand and them. By going direct, you will become closer to the customer and have the opportunity to gather valuable data and insights that will further help you improve your customer experience, product offerings, operations and marketing.
Amazon can’t be ignored as your team creates their DTC strategy. Several options exist, from fully embracing Amazon as a first-party seller to choosing to be a third-party seller, or refusing to list on the marketplace at all. No matter what you choose, consider the future of your brand and carefully decide what option is best for your strategy now and in the short and long-term future.
Going direct to consumer has many advantages, but can pose complex challenges. On the positive, brand manufactures will be able to create new revenue streams, increase margin, brand loyalty and gaining more control of the brand itself. On the flip side, challenges like channel conflict, lack of expertise and back-end operations that need to be addressed before reaping those benefits. By first implementing a digital commerce strategy you can largely help tame these challenges. In the coming weeks and months we will continue to explore the challenges direct to consumer e-commerce experiences and how to address them firsthand.