Over the past few years, direct-to-consumer (D2C) has gradually increased in popularity, with consumers appreciating the ease of the experience.

Instead of going through a third party, customers had the option of buying everything from flowers to furniture directly from the retailer.

Then 2020 went and threw a bit of a spanner in the works, as shops were forced to shut their doors on an already-ailing high street – meaning that manufacturers suddenly had to rethink how they got their products to their customers.

It’s little surprise that during lockdown, D2C brands thrived. Not just millennial start-ups either, but long-standing brands that recognised it was time to switch things up and go direct to market with the web and social media as their shop window.

What is D2C?

First off, let’s get back to basics. D2C is simply when brands distribute directly to end consumers, effectively cutting out the middleman.

So, D2C e-commerce means that a manufacturer sells its products on their own site, instead of the products going through wholesalers, distributors, and retailers.

Much more straightforward, right?

What are the benefits of going D2C?

Although the need to boost their online presence was borne out of necessity for some brands, there are actually a lot of benefits for businesses to improve their eCommerce offering and go D2C.

1. More control over your brand

If your products are going through a third-party retailer, it takes the process out of your control, at least one step removed.

With D2C eCommerce, however, you’re in charge of everything from your marketing to your sales strategies – your business has full oversight.

D2C gives you a great opportunity to build up your brand, from the smallest details such as brand colours and straplines all the way up to your tone of voice and brand mission.

It gives you chance to stand out from your competition.

2. Nurturing customer relationships

As a D2C business, you’ll be having direct relationships with your customers. Imagine if someone rang a retailer with a complaint about your product, and the customer service agent was rude to them.

Who is that more likely to reflect badly on? Yes, your brand.

If you’re D2C, you’ll have control of the full customer experience, including being able to use dedicated and trained call handlers and customer service agents who will offer genuine advocacy for your brand, whether in-house or outsourced.

The same is true for your social media channels – they’re a great tool for developing stronger brand-customer relationships.

3. Access to customers and their data

Learning more about your customers is the best way to improve your business and your service offerings.

As a D2C eCommerce business, you’ll have tools at your disposal to gather customer data to get a better understanding of their behaviour, such as how they interact with your site.

You’ll also be able to leverage strategies such as retargeting, as well as email marketing once you have captured their data, in order to increase brand awareness.

This isn’t to say that brands should be pulling their products from physical stores.

However Covid-19 has shown that for many brands, being able to exercise direct control over their consumer channels has had positive effects on everything from brand operations to their bottom line.

How SmartPA can support

If your business has made the switch to D2C – or is considering taking the leap – SmartPA can offer flexible support across marketing, social media and customer service.

We have also released our article, The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Streamlining Admin Processes that discusses how you can streamline your admin processes and get back to ensuring the success and growth of your business.

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