This year many brands are shifting from owning the aisles to owning the consumer relationship- creating a strong direct to consumer strategy. Earlier this year, we wrote an article about how manufacturers need to put direct to consumer strategies on their radar, including DTC e-commerce operations. Now halfway through the year and this is ringing more true than ever. With marketplace platforms and new ways to purchase, it is creating more opportunities for brands to sell to the consumer, but also means influencing the customer directly is that much more difficult unless brands work on creating a truly meaningful relationship with them by offering value beyond the product and establishing deeper connections based on shared values. Luckily, pairing the right value proposition with today’s digital tools and platforms can enable brands to develop and deepen their own direct-to-consumer channels far more quickly and cost-effectively than ever before.
Brands that typically depend on retailers or marketplaces to reach the consumer are now empowered with digital platforms and tools to open new channels and broaden their customer reach to drive increased revenue streams, profits, and financial performance. In using these tools, brands are able to open up new markets and revenue channels. However, in order to reap the rewards, brands must first work to create a meaningful relationship, which means adjusting your mind-set away from simply being a product manufacturer, but to a facilitator of direct and value adding interactions. By identifying the key connection points and understanding the value your brand offers consumers beyond the product (such as the services and experiences), you will find your place in the DTC market.
Beyond the traditional drivers (price, convenience, taste/experience), new drivers have evolved in the “digital age”. Consumers are loyal and driven to purchase brands that highlight social impact, wellness, safety and industry experience in a consistent and authentic voice throughout their entire organization. This means every action and consumer interaction taken on by the company should reflect your values- from sourcing, packaging, employee and contractor treatment, environment stances, even your external partners. Sounds lengthy, but step away from your brand and into your consumer shoes for a minute- in the always on digital age, don’t you expect this from the brands you purchase from? Having a meaningful, personal and authentic relationships with a brand makes you feel better about your purchases and where you spend your money. Many brands that get this connection with consumers right report higher rates of consideration, purchase and the willingness to pay a premium. Not to mention, brands solidify their spot in the industry, allowing them to withstand the fierce competition of private labels and smaller niche players who are hitting e-commerce hard right now. It’s easy to see that by leveraging these values in brand proposition, you will better find a common ground to connect with the consumer.
The fundamentals of what, where and how buying is taking place is evolving at a rapid pace. Digital influences surround consumers every day on their shopping journeys, and there can only be one relationship that truly counts- – the one directly between the brand and consumer. By leveraging digital channels and technologies properly (e.g. augmented reality, IoT and voice), your brand can support the delivery of your values and facilitate the collection and exchange of data with consumers. This data is the heart of understanding and creating meaningful engagements.
Which values will your brand focus on? How will you use technology to support the delivery of your brand values? Make your choices with only one aim in mind – how to become truly helpful and meaningful to the consumer. Contact our team to start a meaningful conversation about your direct to consumer strategy.