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According to some experts, brands are seeing anywhere from 30% to 75%-plus growth in direct-to-consumer (D2C) traffic over the past few months.
It can be tempting to view these gaudy numbers as a temporary blip on the radar screen due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. But the fact is that — like many other areas of ecommerce — D2C adoption has experienced step function growth and is likely to be a regular part of the consumer experience going forward.
Many brand manufacturers are now asking the question: Is this enough to justify a long-term D2C strategy?
Brent Bellm, CEO of software-as-a-service (SaaS) ecommerce platform BigCommerce, shared his insights on the real benefits of "going D2C" on the latest Digital Shelf Virtual Summit session.
Without the middleman of retail sites, brands can better connect with end-users, argues Bellm. A D2C model allows brand manufacturers to access 100% of the data in terms of how consumers interact and engage with both the brand and its products.
This connection provides tremendous insight into what marketing campaigns and strategies are working, which shopping experiences consumers prefer, and how to prioritize and merchandise different products.
Bellm also points out that one of the significant advantages digitally native vertical brands (DNVBs) have created for themselves is the ability to create customer communities through their D2C experiences successfully. There is no reason why all brand manufacturers can’t do the same, argues Bellm, regardless of how “legacy” the brand might be.
Unencumbered by the annual purchasing cycles of retailers, D2C brands can quickly test messaging and marketing campaigns for their products. This speed allows them to gather more data on the effectiveness of said campaigns and double-down on what’s working across more product lines — or stop campaigns that may be ineffective before they do more damage.
Bellm offers the example of headphone maker Skullcandy as a brand leaning into its new marketing agility after implementing a D2C site. With its D2C site, they can roll out new marketing and merchandising campaigns multiple times per month.
Not only does this guarantee that messaging remains fresh and relevant, but it also ensures that future campaigns become even more relevant and effective as additional consumer data rolls in.
Two notable success stories among DNVBs over the last few years have been Harry’s Razors and Dollar Shave Club. Both were able to capture market share by offering subscription services in a product category (i.e., shaving) that many believed to defy subscription offerings.
Bellm notes that since then, market incumbent Gillette has also found success in offering subscriptions through its D2C site. With subscription services being much easier to oversee and manage using D2C, it’s an area more brands should explore, argues Bellm.
A D2C model also offers personalization and customized product experiences that are nearly impossible to replicate through retailers.
For example, Bellm notes that baseball equipment manufacturer Marucci Sports allows consumers to customize baseball bats on its website — down to the color of the handles and whether customers want a phrase inscribed on the wood. Marucci has recently become the number one provider of baseball bats to Major League Baseball players, overtaking the Louisville Slugger brand.
For brands looking to offer an exceptional online experience that facilitates acquiring more customers and greater brand loyalty, a D2C model opens up a new world of possibilities.
Watch the full session, “From Bricks to Clicks: How Brand Manufacturers Can Future-Proof Business With D2C,” to gain additional insights on how a D2C model could help your brand.
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