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D2C D2C eCommerce D2C marketing eCommerce

D2C Strategy For eCommerce: Best Practices Of Direct-To-Consumer Marketing

8 min read
May 29, 2020

D2C strategy (direct-to-consumers) is now as important for eCommerce players as ever. Covid-19 accelerated the rise of direct-to-consumer (D2C) businesses and companies that previously haven’t even thought of going online. 

We recommend you to check out the first article Direct-to-consumer business model: top-performing strategies. In this article, we will give you an insight into practical cases of D2C marketing. 

What Is D2C Strategy?

D2C (direct-to-consumer) is an eCommerce strategy that implies that the brand sells the product directly to the customer, without the help of traders or middlemen. According to D2C strategy,  manufacturers fully control the processes of production, distribution, and marketing of their goods.

What Is D2C Marketing?

Direct-to-consumer marketing model means that businesses enter the market directly, without the help of intermediaries. Basically, the retailer is being cut out of the process, and manufacturers promote and sell products directly to the buyers. It helps to build stronger relationships with the customers and grow brand loyalty.

Top D2C Strategy Tactics from Market A-players 

Comfortable customer journey, smooth communication with clients, personalized customer experience, and sustainable brand messaging are at the core of leading D2C eCommerce players. 

For example, the Glossier beauty brand that started as a blog, offers a seamless customer journey, when it’s easy to get from a social media post to the website check out button. The brand stakeholders explain that it’s crucial to set up a strong connection between different marketing and sales touchpoints. Blog posts, vlogs, YouTube channels, Instagram, product pages, and website content should be interconnected to bring more purchases and grow brand awareness. 

Dollar Shave Club, a popular D2C grooming brand, focused on the combination of D2C business model with the subscription revenue marketing model. It helped them to develop one of the top subscription businesses. The brand also pays attention to customer feedback, which is an important tactic to analyze customers’ needs and learn how to grow clients’ satisfaction. 

Top 5 D2C Brands Successful Cases

Let’s analyze successful direct-to-consumer cases of some of the leading brands. We will go through the brands’ D2C strategy examples across different industries. Let’s analyze practical examples of successful strategies by popular brands in the following categories:

  1. Fashion
  2. Healthcare (CBD industry)
  3. Technology
  4. Beauty/Cosmetics
  5. Food/Groceries 

1. Direct-to-Consumer Marketing in Fashion

Warby Parker, an eyewear D2C brand and one of the pioneers in the D2C model, knows how challenging it is to make people buy eyeglasses without trying on a number of choices before finding the right one. The company found its answer to the issue. On their website they are making a great deal for customers: try 5 frames at home for free.

Warby Parker D2C Business StrategyWarby came up with a solution for customers who need to choose the right contact lenses: a mobile app, which tests your vision, and then the in-house doctor will review results.

They are keeping it maximum close to the buyers with their tone of voice through eCommerce websites, mobile apps, and social media platforms. They are quirky and bold. And that’s what attracts the buyers. 

The company also appeals to Gen Z and Millenials by being socially conscious. For every purchased pair of glasses, they would donate one pair to a person in need.

2. D2C Healthcare Market Case

Kannaway,  the first company to begin research on the potential benefits of the cannabis Sativa plant. The company sells CBD-based products as health supplements mainly. 

In this specific field, it is especially important to set a transparent direct-to-consumer communication. There is still research going on, and people are not yet ready to fully accept the product — simply because of the lack of knowledge or being misinformed. 

Kannaway D2C company was the first to address the United Nations & World Health Organization about CBD and in 2018 was the first direct sales company to offer CBD products to European markets.

The company provides extensive product information with product image, product description, class of a healthcare product, storage, drug interaction, food and herb interactions, mechanism of action, common brand names, how it is supplied, ingredients and supplements facts, dose recommendations with dosing considerations and much more.

Kannaway Healthcare D2C Business StrategyBy giving direct situations where people can benefit from the product, the company manages to make its D2C marketing personalized and humane and lets people visualize the results. 

Kannaway’s website also provides a great customer journey by allowing each shopper to make their own accessibility adjustments, like font size, content scaling, color, mute sounds, hide images, and so on. A big + for the company for the UX.

3. Direct-to-Consumer Companies in Technology Industry

Pioneers in D2C, Dyson Ltd. is a tech company, specializing mainly in vacuum cleaners, heaters, bladeless fans, hand dryers, etc. In 1993, a Japanese company licensed Dyson’s vacuum cleaner design and used it to build the G-force. It was a peculiar product for those years: a vacuum cleaner that could turn into a table. Pretty handy, as it could save space in the small Japanese houses.

Thanks to TV advertising campaigns, Dyson made its appearance on the UK market as a direct-to-consumer company. The success of a product itself was unique. They had the first vacuum cleaner that didn’t require regular purchases of replacement bags. In 2014, Dyson launched a new invention: a “360-eye” robotic vacuum cleaner. Quite a tech: it features 360 degrees mapping and scanning for navigation, and can be controlled through the user interface through Android or iOS app.

Dyson D2C Business MarketingNow, it is a successful DTC company, selling both from their website and Amazon. Learn more about top DTC strategies in our article. Being a direct-to-consumer company, they also benefited from selling both at Amazon and their website. But the situation turned upside down. “You can’t tell the brand story the way you want … regardless of what brand you own,” said Hellberg, a regional creative director for Dyson in Europe, about their experience on Amazon. So this year 2020 the brand actually started pulling itself out of the marketplace. Dyson realized that they no longer want to depend on the infrastructure provided on big marketplaces like Amazon. 

4. Direct-to-Consumer Brands in Beauty Retail

Glossier cosmetics company. Their slogan is: “Glossier is a people-powered beauty ecosystem”. Its founder Emily Weiss says that around 90% of their customers come to them through word of mouth on social media.

How does the Glossier brand interact with its customers/followers? First, its Instagram account doesn’t even look as if they are to sell you something. They offer makeup routine advice, video tips on skincare, and general wellbeing. 

Bet you’ve realized already, that they are using influencers marketing and quite intensely. And it’s just a casual conversation between girlfriends or the personal cosmetologist you trust. Here also goes gift ideas, horoscopes — everything that works for the target audience. 

Glossier Beauty Brand D2C Business StrategyThe company also isn’t afraid to reveal some touching info from the inside: posting a picture of their communications manager and her mom posted on a Mom’s day, as an example. Sharing family values makes the brand tone of voice welcoming and something that feels so close. It’s a personal touch and ability to relate and sympathize what draws customers to DTC brands like this, and not to Amazon or eBay.

Do not forget about the marketing value of blogging as well. After all, Glossier Inc. started with a basic beauty routine tips blog by a 29 y.o. New Yorker, who later found a multimillion-dollar direct-to-consumer company. What’s the success story? She has been genuinely putting up advice for those who needed and eventually formed the whole buying audience, or kind of a community, and voila. Do not ever think that blogging doesn’t work. It just takes time and a personal touch to grow (with) your audience. 

5. Direct-to-Consumer Marketing of  Food Brands

This month, May 2020, PepsiCo launched direct-to-consumer websites for its brands. PantryShop.com and Snacks.com appeared on the radars of DTC world to let shoppers order some of the company’s brands online and have them shipped directly to their homes. And again, it’s not just selling snacks: they are giving out a mission, and aiming to take care of people who found themselves locked down at homes.

Pantry Shop Pepsico D2C Business StrategyPepsiCo arranged some of its products in kits, which come in standard ($29.95) and family packs volumes ($49.95), which were created based on affinity research aimed to meet the needs of Americans staying at home during the lockdown. The company made a free-of-charge delivery as well, while they are not compromising on speed (packs are promised to come within 2 business days). 

Now the PepsiCo devoted customers, who didn’t find its product in stores or supermarkets someday, would easily go to their D2C website and get all stuff delivered right to their doorstep. If you fail at setting the right infrastructure and logistics for direct selling, you risk blowing your brand’s equity.

Direct-to-consumer companies should make an emphasis on education, transparency, and the quality of product data, and easy access to information. And a story, the “we feel you” and “we are here to make life easier for you” mode and real value. 

D2C FAQ

Here are the answers to the most often asked questions about direct-to-consumer marketing, such as D2C meaning, its basic KPIs (key performance indicators), and its difference from B2C eCommerce.

What’s the Difference Between B2C and D2C?

The main difference between B2C and D2C is that the B2C (business to consumer) businesses use middlemen services, such as traders or retailers, to deliver goods to the customers, while the D2C model leaves off the help of intermediaries. 

How D2C Marketing Differs from B2C Marketing?

For B2C marketing, where the sales are happening through the merchant, it’s important to push business to the checkout happening not on the manufacturer’s direct website, but on the retail platforms. 

The B2C marketing model focuses on advertising and on traffic to these sales platforms. D2C brands marketing focuses on website’s SEO & traffic and creating an excellent buyer experience to retain customers. This model puts emphasis on branding and building customer loyalty.

What are Basic D2C KPIs?

The key D2C KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are monthly website and social media traffic, organic search traffic, shopping abandonment rate, the number of new and returning customers, website conversion rate, customer engagement rate, paid advertisement conversion rate, and customer retention rate. 

How to Build a Successful D2C Strategy?

The analysis of all the above-mentioned metrics can help businesses work on effective business strategies, experiment with more marketing ideas to see which of them bring more measurable results. 

It’s important to be proactive, constantly optimize communication with customers, improve various customer journeys, understand what motivates your clients to make a purchase, focus on customer retention and create reward programs for loyal clients.

D2C Marketing: Get Closer to Your Customers With Gepard

D2C strategy allows brands to get full control over the user experience, and customer contact information, and then use it to gain return buyers, enhance brand loyalty, and grow a community that shares the same vision. 

Efficient product information management is a key to creating a successful D2C business model and strategy. Here’s where Gepard PIM solution comes to the rescue.

Optimize and automate your product data processes – book your free personalized demo now. 

 

Automate Your Product Content Delivery

Content Marketing Manager at Gepard

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