Protecting your business against future crises, such as the global pandemic, is just one of the many benefits that your business can enjoy when you sell directly to consumers. However, there are many other ways that direct selling can benefit your brand.
Selling directly gives companies more control over their customer relationships and customer data. Companies can use customer insights to tailor the brand to each person's needs and provide unique shopping experiences for customers.
Compared to the traditional manufacturer-to-retail partner model, a direct to consumer (DTC) approach has a potentially unlimited customer reach while enabling a more personalised real-time customer experience. It also allows companies complete control of their pricing models.
DTC also helps ensure your brand remains strong and competitive as more people are choosing to go online to buy goods and services.
There are other reasons too, why businesses might consider a DTC approach….
Provide Insights and Innovation
During the pandemic, a number of manufacturers had to come up with solutions for reaching consumers who could not physically go to traditional retail stores. Heinz U.K. used this opportunity to launch a DTC campaign that made its products more accessible to those affected by the lockdown, particularly the vulnerable populations and frontline workers, who otherwise did not have the time to shop for their groceries personally.
Jean Philippe Nier, Head of Commerce at Kraft Heinz UK&I, says about the DTC initiative:
“This platform was created in the context of COVID-19 with a purpose to support consumers that could not access our brands. In the future, this channel will be incredibly powerful to get closer to our consumers, get insight, and take learnings to the rest of our business.”
Just seven days after signing up with Shopify Plus, Heinz to Home was launched. The added customer feedback and insights on the site can drive further innovation, eventually leading to an increase in sales.
Control the User Experience
A positive user experience is one in which users find value in the service that you are providing. Besides providing a positive user experience, what your brand offers should set you apart and differentiate you from other competitors in the market. Since integrating technology into its stores through RFID and smart mirrors, global fashion brand Rebecca Minkoff has seen annual sales increase by 200%. The company extends this futuristic approach to its online stores as well. Online shoppers have the option to view a catalogue in 3D and through augmented reality (AR).
“3D media makes for a much more interactive shopping experience.” Says Yuri Minkoff, Co-Founder and CEO of Rebecca Minkoff. “Customers can examine our products from every angle, including the option to view products in augmented reality, which helps them get a better sense of quality, size, and other details that matter.”
By controlling the user experience using AR and 3D renditions, the company has seen a significant increase in sales:
- Shoppers are 44% more likely to add an item to their cart after interacting with it in 3D
- Customers are 27% more likely to place an order after interacting with a product in 3D
- Visitors are 65% more likely to place an order after interacting with a product in AR
Create Widespread Availability
Employing an omnichannel marketing strategy does not require your brand to be everywhere. But it means that your brand should be available to your customers wherever they are. This can be done by seamlessly integrating the user experience in both the physical (brick and mortar stores) and the digital shopping environment. As one of the pioneering workwear brands in the USA, Carhartt has been in the apparel retail business since 1889. The brand’s Work in Progress (WIP) has now transitioned to a DTC approach using an omnichannel marketing strategy.
The brand has an interactive radio show and seasonal lookbooks for consumers to browse online. Carhartt also has over 80 physical stores worldwide, which can be located through their store locator on their webpage.
The persistence of the global pandemic has forced many consumer goods companies to transition to a DTC approach to reach their customers. Selling directly to consumers means that you can drive your sales yourself, instead of relying heavily on conventional retail partners. With most people working from home during the pandemic, a DTC model can reach those who would otherwise have found it challenging to purchase through a physical store. Swiss chocolate manufacturer Lindt & Sprüngli has recently transitioned to a DTC approach in response to the pandemic. With the closure of its shops in Canada, the company had to innovate to reach its target market in time for Easter –one of the biggest shopping holidays for the brand. Since the launch of its first-ever online store, Lindt has been able to sell its chocolates to consumers worldwide directly.
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