Direct to consumer helps brands break through the noise. Brands like Caspar, Harry’s and Bonobos use data, storytelling, and crowdsourcing to connect with their consumer. D2C also makes it easier for brands to expand (or contract) product lines, so they can innovate quickly and outcompete traditional retailers. Here are five reasons why Talkoot thinks D2C is here to stay in the modern marketing playbook.
One - Direct Connection to Customers:
Consumers, especially Millennials, want to buy from brands that align with their values. Care about the rainforest? Buy from Patagonia. Direct to consumer brands form direct relationships with these principled customers, and it turns consumers into active participants, instead of passive target markets. It’s a company win-customer win situation. D2C helps build strong bonds with happy and loyal consumers.
“GenX is known for being a skeptical generation. Can they be loyal customers? Yes, nearly half of GenX internet users polled by CrowdTwist characterized themselves as extremely or quite loyal to favorite brands” … “Additional research by AdAge reveals that Millennials are spending an average of 25 hours per week online and turn to content-driven media for shopping guidance.”
V12Data: “Retail for the Generations: How to Market to Baby Boomers, Gen X and the Millennials”
How does a digital-savvy brand build loyalty with adventurous customers? Direct to consumer. Don’t give consumers a reason to click through to an alternate site or another channel.
“Consumers are not inclined to be loyal as generational experiences have shaped them. By remaining loyal it means not exploring alternatives and thus missing out.”
Forbes: “The Death of Brand Loyalty: Cultural Shifts Mean It’s Gone Forever”
Two - Storytelling Ownership:
A direct to consumer brand tells its own story. Warby Parker delivers its glasses, and its story, directly to customers without an inarticulate middleman. Retailers like Amazon try to use technology to improve story consistency and build relationship with brands, but the damage is done.
Story ownership means brands create stronger and more agile stories. Granted brands should keep a consistent brand message, but they should also quickly adapt to shifts in the market and insights from data.
“Brand identity signals important messages about your products, such as its value, usefulness, and credibility. It also helps create consistent brand experiences, which help convert shoppers into buyers and loyal customers. Coherent messaging simply feels more confident and trustworthy.”
content26: “Maintaining Brand Identity on Retail Sites”
Three - Data, Data, Data:
Yeah, data is so 2017. But big data has only just begun. Marketers are getting better at gathering data, understanding data, and using data to sell directly to consumers. One of the big perks of D2C is direct access to and control over consumer data. Smart use of data means smarter marketing campaigns that lead to and reward loyal followers.
“65% of customers were happy to share their information in exchange for more targeted marketing. Almost 67% were willing to share their data if they receive some form of benefit, such as discounts. When customers are willing to provide personal data for marketing purposes, why not collect it and use it for more targeted, strategic marketing?”
Leighton Interactive: “Why Customer Data Collection is Crucial”
Four - Product Crowdsource Evolution:
While e-commerce online product reviews have given power back to the people, they’ve also become a source of innovation for smart direct to consumer companies. When consumers rave about how much they love the product, it generates free publicity for the company. When they leave scathing reviews about bad experiences, it provides invaluable feedback. Nimble D2C brands turn post-product reviews into pre-product crowdsource feedback. They treat feedback as market research about specific products written by consumers in real time. Brands get the information they need to improve and expand products that want to buy.
“Although now a tried and tested measure, crowdsourcing as a general practice continues to act as an effective revenue generator for many different companies. Online retailers can take advantage of the potential of crowdsourcing, too, by modernizing their testing practices and increasing conversions through providing an exceptional user experience.”
The Drum: “How ecommerce companies can use crowdsourcing to thrive”
Five - Potential Product Expansion:
Without the offline limitations of physical shelf space, online brands using direct to consumer have the power to expand (or reduce) their product line at the drop of a hat. A few of D2C’s success stories have started out with a small line of limited products. Bonobos, a men’s clothing brand, is a great example of how product crowdsource evolution lead to product expansion.
Bonobos’ marketing centers around the idea that buying pants for men is an all-around painful experience, whether it’s finding a comfortable fit or having time to shop at all. To get feedback on their products, Bonobos gave free returns on merchandise and requested customers order several pairs of pants to try and find the perfect fit
“Six months after the company launched, it was doing a million dollars a year in annual run rate. Eventually, Bonobos would expand to sell formalwear, swimwear, shirts and many other accessories, focusing on pieces where men traditionally had problems with fit.”
CBInsights: “We Analyzed 9 of the Biggest Direct-to-Consumer Success Stories To Figure Out The Secrets to Their Growth - Here’s What We Learned”
Direct to consumer is here to stay. By creating genuine connections, telling stories, and resourcefully applying data, direct to consumer brands stay ahead in the e-commerce game. Unlike physical retailers, direct to consumer brands have unlimited virtual shelf space. Direct to consumer brands control the transaction and reward customers, who are active participants in a two-way relationship.