The traditional ways of taking a product or brand to market have changed. Gone are the tired tactics of trade shows or market appointments to get buyers to notice you, with the goal of getting your product on brick and mortar retail shelves. As a direct-to-consumer brand, you have many options at your fingertips to successfully scale your brand in 2020.
As a direct-to-consumer brand, you have what many brands envy- full control. You control the price, you have the final say over the brand aesthetic and you also have direct access to your consumers. There is no retail middle man. It’s an amazing asset that also comes with the necessity to possess a very diverse skill set. Your company must master or outsource everything from marketing to logistics in order to stay ahead of your competition.
You must have a consistent, cost-efficient, and scalable way of sourcing your products in order to grow your business. Having product to sell is Retail 101. If you are out of stock, then your other tactics fall on their face. Your customers will be disappointed and you will leave revenue on the table. With the current pandemic, many supply chains are breaking down. From top to bottom, COVID-19 is hitting manufacturers at all angles. From production issues happening overseas to staffing issues stateside, there is little that is left intact. You must have strong communication with your manufacturing partners and understand what you can do to mitigate risk as you move forward. That could be better forecasting, costing changes, more upfront ordering, and potentially changing sourcing strategies. Be adaptable but also always think with your customers and the future of your brand at the forefront.
Acquiring and converting customers is key to any retail operation. As a direct-to-consumer brand, you don’t have the luxury of organic traffic on your website- you will need to get your shopper’s attention elsewhere. Paid advertising coupled with email marketing is typically the tip of the spear to get your website traffic booming. With paid advertising, you must decide which platforms to spend on with likely choices being Google or Facebook. Then, research which keywords you should bid on. These should be likely keywords your customers are searching for when looking to buy your products or services. Competition is heavy in many categories so you must establish goals and a budget if you want to responsibly scale your brand. If you have a high budget to build awareness (typically high traffic, low conversion) that works as well. Even with this approach, though, having goals to guide you will be imperative as you move forward.
Once you have customers on your website gathering their email address is key for future engagements. This is where email marketing comes in. This keeps customers engaged with your brand- you can highlight new products, best sellers, flash sales, and cart abandonment. The cadence should be often but not daily as users will get inbox fatigue as well.
Once you have customers on your site converting them to purchase is the name of the game. You must make it as easy as possible to purchase. Detailed product descriptions, a complete set of photos, and competitive pricing are keys to conversion. Also, the fewer clicks from product selection to end of the sale the better. Once a customer has purchased the continued engagement from the shipping process through the actual use of the purchase is also key. Make it easy to ask questions. Answer them quickly and in a friendly manner. Because you are engaging directly with them gather as much information as you can about why they purchased and if they would repeat the purchase. These are your customers, take care of them and your lifetime value (LTV) will increase.
All relevant brands must have a strong logistics solution. Customers expect speedy and safe delivery. Many direct-to-consumer brands choose to partner with a Third Party Logistics (3PL) fulfillment partner. These partners store your product, systematically pull down your orders and ship each order directly to your customers on your behalf. Trust and experience are major factors to consider when vetting a 3PL partner. These companies will be an extension of your brand and you must prioritize accuracy and experience above all else. Lessgistics is a solution many direct-to-consumer brands have chosen. They offer not only speed and accuracy but also over 20 years of logistics experience. They are a partner you can trust to uphold your high expectations when servicing your customers.
Build a Community
Highlighting a clear, consistent brand philosophy will drive your brand story. Having a community of customers that are like-minded and discuss not only your products but other like products is key to launching new product lines, brand extension, and overall building a buzz about your brand. All channels of marketing and distribution should reflect the same brand voice and aesthetic. Social media will be key here in engaging your customers and driving excitement for your brand. Frequent and fun posts will not only brighten your customer’s day but also keep your brand top of mind. As participation grows so will your bottom line.
As a direct-to-consumer company, you should enjoy the experience of building your brand! Your audience and customers are yours- keep them happy, engaged, and coming back for more in every step of your offering. Always challenge yourself and the status quo. Shoppers are moving faster than ever in this digital world; it’s your job to keep up with them.