Direct-to-consumer brands: Brands rethinking customer relations in the digital age

direct-to-consumer, marketing, social media
Source: Photo by from Pexels

In recent years, a number of so-called direct-to-consumer startups have emerged that want to rethink and improve customer relations. They focus on four milestones that are particularly relevant for smart consumers: Community, trust, experimentation, and independence. The latter refers to the courage to renounce all sorts of intermediaries.

In addition, such direct-to-consumer brands draw on the advantages of the digital market and its ongoing dynamism. Another brand that has joined this coveted group is the natural cosmetics brand LUSH.

But what’s behind this refurbished direct-to-consumer (D2C) approach and why is it trendy?

Direct-to-consumer brands are trendy

The model is exciting because brands that focus on avoiding overpricing from middlemen can offer products cheaper than their competitors without sacrificing quality. At the same time, they always have full insight into their customers’ behaviour and the perception of the brand. Therefore, product development, delivery, and customer relationship can be completely rethought.

A good example of this is the luxury retailer Threads, which sells its products only through WhatsApp and WeChat. Threads always offers its customers a highly customised and convenient shopping experience no matter where they live. Shopping is completed through mobile messenger platforms and shipped all over the world. So it’s more about the user experience and less about the channels.

In addition, the monetisation of these business models is a big topic. To achieve this, many direct-to-consumer brands often rely on subscriptions such as the baby products start-up Lillydoo, which has become a tough competition for Pampers, by the way.

People to people approach: LUSH

direct-to-consumer, marketing, social media
Source: Lush UK

But LUSH is taking a more radical approach. The British brand bravely is bravely closing the door to social media platforms in the UK and is going back to more classic marketing channels The brand has recently announced that it is discontinuing its UK social media profiles despite its tremendous popularity and successful product promotion.

In fact, LUSH has already built a strong and committed community. Their follower count ranges from 200,000 on Twitter and 400,000 on Facebook to 570,000 on Instagram. Also, or even more so because it’s such a drastic and shocking decision, it’s appreciated and praised by the community.

LUSH is sending a clear signal with this action:

We are tired of fighting with algorithms, and we do not want to pay to appear in your newsfeed. So we’ve decided it’s time to bid farewell to some of our social channels and open up the conversation between you and us instead.

LUSH will promote its own channels as a result of its decision against social media marketing. UK customers can still communicate with the brand through live chat, email, or the online store.

Despite this announcement, LUSH will not completely disappear from the social media universe. The strategic focus on people-to-people marketing rather than brand-to-people will be reflected in collaborations with selected influencers. In addition, LUSH stated that both posts and successful hashtags such as #lushcommunity remain enabled.

Digital business is people business

Companies like LUSH are striving to make digital customer relations better and connect more closely and personally with their customers without dependencies or intermediaries. And that’s a trend, which is generally felt more and more clearly. Wholesalers too, increasingly want to become retailers.

It’s paradoxical and at the same time enormously valuable that in an increasingly digital world the human, direct and closest contact is constantly being sought. Because in the end, digital business is about people and not just about entities and machines. We’re returning to the elementary (social) principles. The emergence of D2C and people-to-people approaches are proving this.

In fact, Forrester is devoting itself to this exciting development in two new reports: “Changing Expectations Fuel Direct-To-Consumer Disruption” and “To Adapt To Direct-To-Consumer Trends, Use A Direct-To-Value Strategy“.

Our 5 reading tips of the week

Brand is more than meets the eye [Techcrunch]

Instagram Checkout, die maximale Shopping-Offensive [Wuv]

Meet Colugo: A Direct-To-Consumer Baby Gear Brand Taking On Big Box Retail [Forbes]

How to create deeper customer connections by going ‘direct to user [Retail Customer Experience]

Direct-to-consumer brands are redefining marketing in the age of authenticity [The Drum]

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