The rise and growth of DTC brands within the retail industry in recent years cannot be overstated. The DTC market is growing rapidly, having enjoyed double-digit growth for several years, and with 19.2% growth predicted to be maintained in 2021.
What’s the secret to DTC’s popularity and success as a retail model? This article will explore some of the practices that see DTCs thriving, and outline three ways that retailers of any kind can mirror them to reap similar rewards.
One of the signature features of a DTC brand is its highly specialized product focus. Typically, a DTC will sell a limited range of very specific, closely aligned products. One of the offshoots of this practice is the ability to convey a sense of deep knowledge and expertise with regard to all items offered.
Why is this strategy so well received by the average customer? In terms of the psychology behind the practice, the sense that you are buying “from the experts” provides a significant boost to purchase confidence. Customer experience is greatly enhanced when presented with a sales experience that offers a complete overview of the item being considered, with no need to go looking elsewhere for answers or information.
DTC brands are also highly skilled at storytelling when it comes to the way that they present and sell their products, deploying a wide variety of rich supporting content and varied digital assets.
How can this be replicated by brands and retailers operating outside of the DTC model? Typically, a larger product range might need to be accommodated, so to provide a truly immersive and specialized feel to each product’s presentation, the additional control and insight of a digital content experience platform is required.
By obtaining more control over your product content, consistency and accuracy can be obtained over every sales channel. The clear quality scores provided by ECP can flag products which are falling below the necessary threshold of associated content and at risk of eroding the sense of expertise and specialism that the retailer or brand is seeking.
Another area that DTC brands tend to excel within is the provision of exceptional customer experience. With such a direct connection to those that they’re selling to, they’re able to foster a real sense of intimacy and connection that is applied directly to every interaction and touch point.
Unparalleled access to customers means a more nuanced understanding of their typical drivers, blockers and purchasing patterns. This understanding is actively applied to the sales process, ensuring that every stage of the customer journey is optimized.
As DTC brands will typically be selling a select range of products, this in turn means a more select and tightly defined audience. The combination of this targeted focus and deep customer knowledge means the stage is set for show-stopping customer experience.
How can this be replicated? Brands and retailers operating outside of this model may be catering to less clearly defined audiences, but they can still ensure an amazing customer experience is delivered by leaning on AI to make sure that every product page is performing at an optimal level.
By including informative digital assets that help reduce the need for customer support in the first instance, brands and retailers can rely upon a digital content experience platform to provide a frustration-free and satisfying experience for their customers, no matter who they are or what they’re searching for.
Much of the success of the DTC model can be attributed to the masterclass in branding that so many of these enterprises represent. Specialist DTC brands invest significant resources into creating branding that represents a truly perfect fit for the target audience.
Not only is this branding specialized and specific, with total control over the distribution of their products, DTCs ensure that their brand presentation remains consistent across all platforms and interactions.
How can this be replicated – especially when you stock and promote a wider range of brands to a more diverse audience? Retailers and distributors should lean on the efforts that brands have already invested into their product’s merchandising. By working hard to ensure that there’s no degradation of available digital assets and product information that come directly from the brand, the most faithful, engaging and accurately branded experience can be provided, on a product by product basis.
A digital content experience platform can help achieve this, via dual syndication (whereby digital assets and information can be pulled directly from the brand’s own catalog, for perfect accuracy) and smoother, more efficient onboarding flows, that enable products to be presented in the best possible light from the very first day of sale.
DTC is not the only model to enjoy success in the modern marketplace, but its stratospheric rise cannot be ignored. For brands, retailers and distributors alike, there are many best practices and learnings waiting to be transferred from the DTC mode of operation.
As this article has shown, working with a digital content experience platform can be key in implementing some of the biggest benefits offered by the DTC model, taking niche, specialist focus and applying it at scale for a more consistent, informed and satisfying customer experience.