Direct-to-consumer (D2C or DTC) marketing is quickly becoming a new and effective way for product manufacturers and consumer package good (CPG) brands to sell products without the middleman.
There are many benefits to direct-to-consumer marketing. One of them is DTC marketing eliminates the people between the product manufacturer and the consumer. This gives the manufacturer or producer more control over their products, brand, sales, tactics, and reputation. D2C also helps the company engage directly with consumers, which improves the education and feedback processes.
In 2023, there are many major brands that are using D2C marketing with great success, including office supplies manufacturer Quill and luggage company Away. Other successful D2C brands include Warby Parker, Allbirds, and Everlane.
Barriers to entering the D2C market are fairly low. But always remember that big hitters such as Amazon and Walmart are in this space and have a huge following of fans and customers.
That’s why it’s so important to set up a D2C strategy that helps you distinguish your products and brand from the crowd.
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Advantages Of D2C Marketing
Selling D2C offers benefits to both companies and customers:
- Saves time: D2C helps consumers get their products faster because they receive them directly. Consumers don’t have to wait for a large retailer to get more product before shipping them.
- More delivery choices: D2C companies have additional control over shipping, so they have more flexibility in limiting or expanding operations to various locations. They have more business flexibility and can scale up when they want.
- Better customer relationships: D2C products often sell well online because so much of the work is done remotely. This allows them to interact with customers better.
Disadvantages Of D2C Marketing
There also are some downsides to D2C, but you can overcome these with a proper D2C strategy:
- Costly to start: Most D2C brands begin their companies from nothing and manage all aspects. So, there are plenty of upfront costs.
- More work and responsibility: D2C requires you to manage every part of the company, from manufacturing to packaging to shipping. This can put a lot of strain on a few workers.
- One sales focus: E-commerce is good for D2C, but it can limit you only to people who do their shopping online. You don’t have a physical store.
Considerations When Shifting To D2C
If you are seriously considering D2C marketing, there are two things to watch out for as you make the transition:
Be Sure The Company Is Ready For D2C
Becoming a D2C company isn’t something that happens in a day. It takes a lot of effort on the company end for everything to work well.
When switching to a D2C mindset, there will be a lot of training and guidance required to employees, improving and changing current processes, and making sure the company can work with the most profitability and efficiency under the D2C marketing plan.
Also, your company needs to have a clear reason why it wants to go to D2C marketing. This reasoning should be clearly communicated to employees and clients. If you are not clear about the transition to customers and employees, your D2C effort may not work out.
Get Business Partners Ready
Some companies use a hybrid method where they sell their products wholesale to large retailers and also direct to consumers. It’s possible this could rub some retailers the wrong way that you work with.
You are selling D2C so you are competing with retailers that offer your products, too. Most consumers will buy your product direct from you over the retailer if given the choice.
It’s not good to take money from your retailers’ pockets and for their inventory to sit unsold.
So, it’s best to look more closely at your retailer partnerships and determine the most profitable way to move to D2C.
For instance, you might sell only a certain product line D2C. Or maybe you will send wholesale deliveries of the most high-selling items to your retailers.
It’s important to consider your retailer partnerships as you transition to D2C. There are ways you and your business partners can still benefit from the relationship.
Proven D2C Marketing Strategies that Aren’t SEO
Now that we’ve covered D2C basics, how do you take this knowledge and turn it into a consistent, successful marketing campaign?
Lead generation is a great way to get new sales and prospects. D2C companies can leverage lead generation to enhance their consumer base and boost sales and retention.
Lead generation means attracting and converting site visitors into sales leads. This means they have shown interest in purchasing your firm’s service or product. There are many ways to generate leads – blog posts, videos, live events, newsletters, and more.
To generate leads for your D2C business, remember these tips:
- Make a fantastic offer: Attract attention from prospects by offering an initial product discount, free bonus for signing up, downloadable white paper, etc.
- Easy signup: Make sure your signup process online is as easy as possible. It should be easy for people on digital devices to fill out in seconds.
- Follow-up: After your lead shows interest in your company, have a plan in place for follow-up, such as another offer or 20% discount for first orders.
To get your D2C strategy off the ground, email will be a critical factor. You can set up an email system to nurture relationships with customers at each stage. Nurture your contacts toward making a purchase.
Email marketing is old-school but still a powerful sales tool if done right. That’s why you should focus on the following aspects to make the campaign successful:
- Updated email list: Make sure your email lists are up to date. Old emails will increase bounce rates and there will be more unsubscribes, so opportunities are lost. Clean email lists make your campaign more targeted.
- A lot of information on prospects: The more data you have on email contacts, the better the sales messages can be customized. Customized messages appeal to contacts more effectively and result in more sales.
- Excellent design and visuals: An outstanding email design is visually appealing and will always get more attention. Think carefully about email design to attract as many eyeballs and clicks as possible.
Now that you know everything about D2C marketing, your company should have great success as it moves into this exciting, new chapter.