D2C: How to Secure Competitive Advantages with a Direct-to-Consumer Approach [5 Reading Tips]

D2C Customer Relationships Reading Tips
Source: Unsplash/Jacqueline Munguía

There is no such thing as »can’t«. Those who think that close customer relationships are not possible in e-commerce are mistaken. Successful direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands like STABILO, Fissler and Britax Römer show how close interaction with customers can turn the purchase of pens, pans and child car seats into an experience.

Although D2C sales in Germany still only account for 3 per cent of e-commerce sales, it is the channel that grew the most last year, with sales up 15 per cent. For online retailers, building and maintaining strong customer relationships digitally is just as much of a must-have for brand success as a powerful online shop.

D2C: Advantages Through Close Customer Relationships

In order to be able to interact directly with consumers, more and more manufacturers are taking the retail initiative themselves and increasingly focusing their marketing, sales and service activities on customers. Like any strategic reorientation, the transition to D2C business involves a lot of effort. However, independence from intermediaries comes with significant advantages that allow your company to stand out from the competition.

Manufacturers that opt for a D2C strategy have access to relevant data, can analyse user activities of potential customers and use this information to optimise their products and services. This also makes it much easier to address customers in a personalised manner, for example through individual product recommendations, and improves the overall customer experience.

Advantages of D2C Brands

They can

  • directly influence customer interactions and strengthen customer loyalty
  • centrally access customer data
  • highlight their image more strongly in communication
  • reduce resource use and costs because processes do not need to be outsourced
  • analyse and redesign processes more easily
  • benefit from high cross-selling and upselling potential and expect higher margins

D2C: Close Customer Relationships Do Not Just Happen on Their Own

Those who want to successfully implement a D2C model must know their target audience very well and understand how their needs can be met. In addition, a comprehensive e-commerce strategy is required. In order to keep investment costs and personnel expenses as low as possible, selling products on marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay is a suitable option for getting started with D2C. On third-party channels like Zalando and OTTO, however, D2C relationships are not possible because products are sold through intermediaries.

Companies that have their own online shop and a suitable system landscape benefit from even more independence and closeness to customers. They must then establish close relationships with potential customers. This can be achieved with creative content marketing via Instagram live streams, WhatsApp messages or e-mails.

Astrid Reintjes, founder of the DIY brand MissPompadour, for example, succeeds in entering into dialogue with the brand’s community and retaining the loyalty of its members by doing so. Direct exchange with her as well as within the community is a crucial aspect that turns customers into fans and wall paint into an e-commerce success.

Our 5 Reading Tips of the Week

Direct-to-Consumer: Digitalisation of the Consumer Goods Industry [dotSource]

What Is D2C & How Can You Shift to the Model? [Reward]

How to Build the Foundation of Your Direct-to-Consumer Marketing Strategy [ThoughtShift]

How These 8 Direct-to-Consumer Brands Are Changing E-Commerce Forever [HubSpot]

The Benefits of Adopting a D2C Model [Access]

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