The Importance of Direct-to-Consumer Marketing
Written by Courtney Raguso, Social Media Content Creator
As we adapt to a post-pandemic world, direct-to-consumer e-commerce brands have been taking over the retail industry by storm. Individual’s behaviors and attitudes were largely affected, so it’s important for brands to adapt to the change as well, which many did. A lot has happened in the past few months both socially and economically, and your brand’s response needs to be handled carefully. Direct-to-consumer marketing is when a company markets its product or service directly to their consumers. When building a direct-to-consumer model, or DTC, your business won’t have to rely on the middle-man to showcase your products to the right people. For consumers, the easy buying process is typically the distinguishing factor when choosing DTC over a traditional shop. Price, assortment and merchandising are all out of your control when dealing with retailers. Your business can also run the risk of retailers opting to end contracts and selling similar products to yours for a cheaper price. However, there are many opportunities that can result from pursuing a direct-to-consumer relationship.
Having a DTC model gives you more control over your brand. It also makes it easier to create a unified experience across your brand. The key to a successful online business is knowing your customers and focusing on how you can deliver the most value to them. So, you’ll have to make sure you do your homework and get to know your audience in order to get it right. Selling and interacting directly with consumers online presents more opportunities than working with a retailer. A direct-to-consumer marketing strategy allows your business to have more control over personalization in advertising and communication. To start, it makes it possible to track customer interactions with the use of online data, including the number of touch-points necessary to drive a purchase. This makes it easier to cultivate relationships and build brand loyalty, helping you get to know your customers and offer better service. Also, by having data that’s backed up by sales, you will save more money on market research and eventually even turn a profit. When taking a retail-only approach, your brand is missing out on control over pricing and transactions as well! By working directly with the customer, you can streamline the buying process. You get to present your product how you want to and influence the customer journey when visiting your site. You set the rules. If you want to re-sell, up-sell or cross-sell a product, it won’t be possible with a retailer. Your website is your storefront, and your social media is your advertising platform which should lead consumers to your site. Thanks to social media, you can build a community and start a conversation around your brand; and with the use of a direct-to-consumer model, you can get instant feedback from customers on products and even have them test products before deciding to invest in a mass-production. For instance, hiring influencers is a great way to increase brand awareness while having them test your product and give feedback. You can also use your customers to help advocate for your brand, just look at BarkBox. They built camaraderie among their customers by staying true to their narrative and catering to their audience by offering more value and building a community around their brand. They created an outdoor dog park and expanded their e-commerce site, giving their customers more options. They also turned to social media and created more of a sense of community by encouraging their audience to use the hashtag #dogsofBARK, which generated over 300,000 customers to post. Direct-to-consumer brands should be focused on building connections with people who align with their brand’s mission and values. According to recent data, 64% of consumers want brands to connect with their customers. By not interacting and selling directly to the customer, you are losing on opportunities to interact and make those important connections.
Build out your brand before engaging with retailers. Although it takes more time, it is more cost-effective to work directly with the consumer in the long run. People are still going to be visiting stores, but not to the degree compared to how much they’re online. When building a direct-to-consumer brand, creating an authentic story is key. Remember, consumers will catch on if you are only focused on sale. Be sure to study your audience and engage with them as much as possible. Doing this will strengthen your relationships and help gain brand trust. Another way to gain trust is through customer service, so make sure your logistics are in proper working order. According to ShipCompliant, DTC shipments in March 2020 rose +18% on dollars vs. the year prior. March 2020 shipment levels were in the range of what would be typically sold during the highest-selling months which are October and November. It’s incredible just how fast change can happen. Traditional marketing was already evolving rapidly, even before the pandemic arose. Now fast-forward several months, we are seeing record-breaking numbers in online activity.
At MSM DesignZ, we will always keep your brand a step ahead of its competitors. We leverage technology to deliver deep consumer insight. Want to become a direct-to-consumer brand? Are you feeling lost in the process? We are here to help streamline the process so you can take full advantage of the amazing opportunities available. We will always continue to place our clients’ needs at the heart of our operations. From web development to social media management, we’ll work directly with you to build a personalized strategy to not only retain but also gain business. We are assisting in all areas for our clients. Visit our contact page at https://www.msmdesignz.com/contact/, and we’ll work with you to devise a custom plan that will keep your brand alive and well. We look forward to working with you!