The time to move forward establishing a direct-to-consumer channel is now.
This statement sounds bold, but consider how COVID-19 has accelerated profound business trends- namely the massive consumer shift to digital. For example, eCommerce penetration within the United States in the first half of 2020 was equal to that of the entire last decade. Within Europe, digital adoption jumped from 81% up to 95% during the pandemic. Being able to drive these sales all while gaining better insight into your consumer is invaluable.
Talking about moving towards a direct-to-consumer (DTC) channel is one thing, but putting it into motion successfully is another. If your DTC channel isn’t going to meet targets, is it worth the headache? At Echidna, we have helped established brands and start-ups alike set their DTC channel effectively into motion. It comes with a lot of thought, forward-looking considerations, and yes- challenges.
We are dedicating our next two articles to companies seriously considering adding a DTC channel. This week’s focus will be highlighting three brands all with very different backgrounds, but one common goal- successfully growing their DTC channel. Next week we will discuss common challenges to consider before moving forward.
True D2C retailers focus ostensibly on what they’re best at.
What is meant by that? It means you (generally) won’t be selling that many products, which can seem scary at first. But what they lack in products, they make up for with their passion for innovation. They are continually working on perfecting their niche- whether it be socks, razors, lip glosses, or luggage.
And their simplified experience, from product assortment to UI, is backed by a slew of stats and evidence that states customers actually prefer to shop this way.
Selling directly to your customers isn’t just another channel to generate revenue, but key to the brand ability to survive.
If your brand has been relying heavily on in-store retail partners or dependence on outside partners for the supply chain you probably have already moved into this frame of mind.
Brands need to rethink their relationship with the consumer. It needs to be multifaceted and in order to build the brand loyalty required to succeed, it is important to craft more stages of your customer journey and own your data. Consider legacy brands like Nike, Disney, and Apple- combining traditional sales with their own DTC channels. It allows for more brand control over everything from brand message to inventory.
Our client Jelly Belly touts a large distributor network but found itself in a similar position.
Wanting to manage the brand story and customer data, they chose to expand into DTC eCommerce with Kibo Commerce and Echidna. The Kibo platform offered the flexibility to support both their B2B and B2C channels. Echidna worked with them to design and implement 40+ sites from one centralized platform - all with the ability to service their customers uniquely and continues to help guide them in their digital journey.
Bottom line, DTC offers another channel- one that comes with many benefits.
DTC gives you direct access to know what is selling best, selling first, not selling at all. The brand can use it to its advantage and make smarter decisions on everything from innovating on future products to brand positioning and messaging.
45% of online adults are interested in purchasing directly from a brand rather than retail or marketplace.
-Forrester (Report: Changing Expectations Fuel DTC Disruption)
Modern commerce platforms have made it easier than ever for brands to implement a DTC eCommerce channel. Now on a single platform, you can house your eCommerce data, one set of enterprise integrations, and one place for the business to see their entire commerce business across all channels.
This technology means it is not only easier and faster to make DTC eCommerce a reality, but you can leverage a modern commerce platform to help you scale and grow all channels. You can leverage the same platform, even the same UX template, which allows for significant operational efficiencies.
When looking for a commerce platform, you will want one that will support all types of business models and touchpoints. Even if you don’t have them in your initial roadmap. This type of foresight will allow you to grow and scale with ease.
Our client, Jessup Manufacturing, required a full DTC strategy to scale across their multiple brands. They also required comprehensive B2B functionality to support their hybrid business models through personalized experiences, account management, and streamlined purchasing. Echidna helped them in delivering an experience-driven commerce strategy that included implementing Adobe Magento Commerce to combine content + commerce. They are now able to drive growth by engaging end-users directly and fully support their distribution channels.
DTC is about individuals, not the mass market. You’ll be creating an experience for a single person, not pallets for retailers. That means you need to consider the complete customer experience, not just the time spent on your site.
Our client, Frontpoint Security, did just that. Already a digitally native brand, they saw leveraging a modern commerce platform for DTC as an outlet to further experiment with various distribution models like kiosks and pop-up shops where they wouldn’t need to rely on traditional retailers for exposure. Having a highly complex customer experience, they came to Echidna to design a simplified user experience and implement the Adobe Magento Commerce platform to give them the multi-channel capability they required for future growth.
Frontpoint Security is a perfect example of how merely implementing DTC doesn’t guarantee continued connection to consumers, but that simplicity is the key to longevity. Creating a guided selling experience, offering credit checks in real-time (which can trigger discounts), and then moving the customer into DocuSign was imperative to the success of the site because of the complex nature of their products and sales cycle.
By featuring a simple shopping experience, they are putting the customer's needs first- instead of the other way around.
Modern commerce has made it easier for companies to enter into DTC eCommerce. By engaging directly with your end-users you better understand their shopping habits, which in turn allows you to cater your messaging, products, and future innovation to them.
Your company is built for your buyers- whether businesses or end-users. With the pandemic creating a shift in shopping habits, it is important to take a real look into how DTC can impact the future of your business.
Contact us today to learn more about how to drive growth through a DTC channel.
Echidna is a leading digital commerce agency with capabilities including strategy, creative, marketing, systems integration, technology services, and managed services. Our goal continues to be to deliver top-notch quality on a predictable schedule and at an affordable rate that our clients recognize the real value in. We are dedicated to helping leaders continue with their growth and innovation well into the future.