When the COVID-19 pandemic first started, we saw more consumers than ever before turn to online shopping, leading to unprecedented growth for online shopping channels.
With D2C businesses seeing the most acceleration, it’s crucial for new brands to understand the benefits of owned and self-operated D2C (direct-to-consumer) sales channels.
When brick-and-mortar stores were suffering, D2C sales were booming. In 2020 alone, D2C sales reached $111.54 billion. According to eMarketer, the D2C model is expected to continue throughout 2023, with ecommerce sales reaching $174.98 billion.
If you’re looking to boost your online presence, the time is now. Whether you specialize in D2C, B2B, B2C, or a bit of each, your channels are only as good as the marketing strategy you use.
Keep reading to learn how working with a team of expert digital marketers can help you streamline your ecommerce marketing strategy to increase your revenue, make data-driven decisions, convert—and keep—high-value customers.
What is D2C Ecommerce?
D2C ecommerce cuts out the middleman and sells directly to the consumer. The brand produces, advertises, and delivers its own products.
Unlike traditional retailers, who typically have a wide variety of products, D2C’s strategy offers a smaller product range with a subscription-style distribution model.
In direct-to-consumer ecommerce, a brand can reduce its costs by:
- Cutting out third and fourth parties
- Engaging directly with consumers
- Delivering seamless experiences
When using a customer-first strategy, businesses generate conversions directly through social channels and get promoted by influencers and through word of mouth.
A smaller product range means the brand can hyper-focus on important details like the product and sales journey and then perfect the consumer experience through invaluable data-driven feedback. The data allows businesses to target the right demographic and find the best solution for driving consumers through conversions. Since audience awareness is already high, there’s no need for long-drawn-out product descriptions, which often leads to abandoned carts.
Directly interacting with a brand through an engaging digital experience builds trust and genuine loyalty in the consumer and provides a more personalized shopping experience.
What Are the Benefits of D2C Marketing?
With the brand in control using the RACE framework (Reach, Act, Convert, Engage), online shopping has never been easier or more satisfying. The RACE framework allows D2C ecommerce brands to create direct relationships with consumers at all stages of the browsing journey. When businesses generate first-party data at every touchpoint, they have an easier time leveraging growth, making improvements, and learning more about their consumer.
Here are the benefits of using the RACE Framework in D2C ecommerce marketing:
- Reach: Use data-driven strategies to reach a specific or more relevant audience to target their behavior and demographics.
- Act: D2C businesses use their collected data to speak directly to consumers and address their wants and needs and use that information to generate more leads.
- Convert: Brand messaging focuses on conversion rate optimization (CRO) as D2C strategies control consumers’ entire journey.
- Engage: Data-driven loyalty and retention programs increase conversion rates, LTV (lifetime value), lower costs, and better margins.
What Are Some of the Challenges of D2C Marketing?
It’s easy to see why D2C brands are so popular these days. Having a direct relationship with your consumer is a great way to customize your marketing strategy and significantly reduce costs. But, D2C marketing doesn’t come without hurdles.
Challenge #1: Beginner D2C Vs. Established Brand Names
D2C brands enter the market with a different strategy in mind but are still going up against some established names in the business—just look at Dollar Shave Club vs. Gillette.
Dollar Shave Club started its business in 2011, going up against Gillette, who’s been around for over 100 years. Dollar Shave Club had to find a way to incentivize their customers to switch from a product they’ve known and trusted for years—and they did! Consumers love being “part of an exclusive club” that offers both convenience and discounts, with products being shipped directly to their homes. This kind of service isn’t something you can find in stores.
Dollar Shave Club made the shopping experience more personal and easier for their consumers by cutting steps from the buying journey (not having to go to the store). Targeted marketing enticed consumers with the many benefits of having a subscription-based D2C service, and social media took care of the rest by leveraging the engaged audience.
Challenge #2: Personalization Demands
D2C businesses build relationships with consumers through direct digital engagement. This allows businesses to capture important data about the consumer and the buying journey. Consumers expect you to use that data to speak directly to them. 61% of online shoppers would be more willing to share information with brands if it meant an improved shopping experience.
Personalization marketing technology builds loyalty, creates trust, and is a great advocate in an omnichannel world. When searching for a digital marketing company, be sure their personalization marketing strategies align with your needs so it can strengthen your marketing at each stage of the consumers’ decision-making journey.
Challenge #3: Providing a Great D2C Customer Experience
Giving your consumer a fantastic D2C experience relies heavily on how you use your data. D2C businesses don’t have the opportunity to make memorable face-to-face experiences as traditional retail stores do, so it’s essential to partner with a D2C marketing team to create a fully-optimized data-driven personalization strategy for you.
With the right strategy, you can expect:
- More repeat orders
- Increased market share
- Maximized sales opportunities
- Increased LTV and recommended products
- Better customer service
- An unparalleled D2C customer experience
What Are Some of the Most Popular D2C Marketing Techniques?
Your D2C marketing partner will work with you to focus on three specific marketing techniques to WOW your customers: influencer marketing, content marketing, and personalizing the customer experience.
Technique #1: Influencer Marketing
The goal for D2C businesses with little to no customer database is to have rapid growth. And there’s no faster way to spread the word about your brand than to have influencers boost its popularity. Influencers add a personalized touch to your brand by putting a trusted face to your brand’s name. Since followers are loyal to their influencers and opinions, your content will have immediate reach and cut through.
For D2C businesses that have smaller budgets, it may be more cost-efficient to work with nano- or micro-influencers (meaning they usually have less than 50,000 followers) rather than big-name personalities. Influencers can drive higher engagement rates if they’re adequately aligned with your brand positioning and D2C audience.
Technique #2: Content Marketing
The right ecommerce marketing partner will incorporate content marketing into your SEO strategy to help consumers easily find your website. A good content marketing strategy will create trust, address questions, engage with consumers, and often include a mix of UGC (user-generated content) and influencer assets.
Technique #3: Personalizing the Customer Experience
The entire consumer journey requires businesses first to understand what drives their shoppers to take action (the emotions and sentiments) and, second, to respond to them. When D2C brands create a personalized experience at every RACE stage, they collect invaluable data at every touchpoint.
That data can then be used in personalization techniques, like data-driven cross-selling/upselling, creating product bundles based on prior purchases, and sending offers relevant to the consumers’ online behavior. Remember to personalize the customer experience across all devices as part of your omnichannel strategy.
Leverage Your Data to Offer the Best Consumer Experience Possible
At Emarketed, we understand the D2C ecommerce experience from start to finish. That’s why we only track success one way—have we increased your revenue? And for the countless businesses we’ve worked with, the answer is always the same—YES.
Ramp up your marketing with an ultra-personalized ecommerce experience that makes your D2C business stand apart from your competitors. If you’re looking to partner with an ecom marketing agency that can provide you with growth strategy, marketing automation, branding, page speed optimization, email and SMS marketing, native advertising, paid ads, or Shopify development—look no further.
Your consumer will never have a reason to consider a competitor again.