Direct-to-consumer brands have been growing in publicity, and for good reason. Here’s how to scale the challenges and scale your DTC brand effectively.
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Many of the established beliefs regarding e-commerce and the retail space have broken down in recent times. One of the biggest has been the idea that to have a successful retail business, the key was to get on the biggest platforms possible and leverage visibility and logistics to access the market. But now, many direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands have shown that’s not necessary.
In fact, being in charge of the entire product journey to the customer is even better in many cases. It enables you to put a solid logistics system in place, independent of a platform that might not prioritize you, especially in disruptive times like these. Building a profitable DTC brand requires more upfront work, however, in order to reap the benefits down the road. Here are some tips to help you establish and scale your DTC business efficiently:
1. Targeted email marketing
Knowing your ideal customer persona and tailoring your marketing content appropriately is important for every business. But it is particularly important for a DTC business because you’ll need a higher conversion rate to ensure you’re not spending too much on customer acquisition, working as you are without a platform that generates organic traffic. Email is still the highest-converting marketing channel, and you should take advantage of that. However, refine your email list by segmenting them extensively so you can send each customer emails that are specific to their point in your sales funnel, as well as their interests.
2. Customer service
Customer Service is also crucial because if done properly, it can help you transform your customers to evangelists who will help spread the word about your brand. The customer service process begins when people are enquiring about your products and it extends to long after they complete a purchase. At every one of those touchpoints, there should be a highly trained member of staff who will deliver a great experience to the customer and help build their customer loyalty that way. It’s important to select people with great temperaments and who have the requisite experience, to make sure that even when interactions go sour (and they will), you are able to handle the situation effectively to calm the situation and reach a positive outcome.
3. Fix your logistics
One of the ways that larger, more established brands are able to maintain their market share is by assuring customers that they will get their products delivered to them quickly and in good condition. As a DTC brand, you might not have a logistics system as extensive as those established companies but being smaller can actually mean that you’ll be more nimble and able to adapt to new situations.
4. Streamline the buying process
The process of purchasing from your website needs to be as frictionless as possible. Several studies have shown that the fewer hurdles a person has to taking an action, the more likely they will be to do it. Warby Parker is a good example of this. Instead of making customers get an eye exam, selecting a pair of glasses in a store and waiting weeks to get it delivered, they streamlin the process with their system of “home try-on” packages that allow them to receive five pairs in the mail for free before making a final purchase. That made a massive difference in the customer experience and drove their growth up exponentially. It might not be equally applicable depending on what you’re selling but spending some time to come up with a similarly innovative buying approach would be great for your business.
5. Build a community
The best brands are those that have a story that customers can easily recognize and connect with, and also have a community of like-minded people driving the conversation about the products. Building a community takes time, but you can start by making sure that you have a clear, consistent brand philosophy which reflects across all your marketing channels and in all customer interactions. You’ll find that more people who share those values will be attracted to your brand (by following you on social media for instance) and you can then begin to facilitate communication using things like social media challenges, customer-generated-content, and aggressive content marketing. As outlined in this Harvard Business Review article, while ensuring that the engagement leads back to your business, focus on allowing the conversations happen organically. As participation grows, your brand and bottom line will be boosted too.