How to sell direct-to-consumer and find the right tech to do it
Today’s consumers expect shopping experiences that feel tailor-made, even from retailers whose customers number in the millions. Competition is fierce — the possibilities for shopping moments literally at everyone’s fingertips, and there are a limitless number of retailers to choose from.
That’s why many companies start selling direct-to-consumer (DTC). No matter the size of retail company, a DTC sales channel makes way for a personalised customer experience, which becomes a competitive advantage that can help attract and keep customers. When it’s done well, exceptional customer experiences create individual brand advocates, whose influence hold significant weight in a socially-connected world.
Using DTC for personalisation
Selling DTC means taking a product and selling it directly to end consumers without any third-party retailers, wholesalers, marketplaces and other intermediaries.
Owning this relationship with consumers allows DTC brands to collect large amounts of behavioural and demographic data about their customers, information which may be lost when sales go via third parties.
This is likely the most compelling reason why brands choose to start selling DTC. The greater flow of information allows brands to create personalised shopping experiences, and build authentic connections with their customers.
It also lets companies take back creative control over their brand story and own the end-to-end experience instead of having to follow the rules and restrictions of third-party sellers.
This is precisely what consumers today want: direct interactions, and genuine relationships with their brands. And they’re more willing to splurge on products from brands they can relate to.
Personalisation in the DTC channel opens up a wealth of possibilities to create unique and special customer-retailer relationships. For example, by using customer data to serve better product recommendations to shoppers, your store can increase conversions and average order value (AOV).
But selling DTC has possibilities for offline shopping, too. The world can be your storefront as brands use the latest technologies to create shopping opportunities at every turn. With virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), customers can visualise items in store or at home. For organisations considering DTC, such features may seem a long way off, but customers may soon expect them “as standard.”
Don’t cut out the middleman
With the wealth of data DTC offers, it might seem tempting to stop using third-party channels and retail partners altogether. But experimenting with DTC doesn’t mean cutting off those valuable relationships. Even better, going DTC may also strengthen the bond between brands and retail partners — it’s just about finding the right balance.
Companies can share the insights gathered from their DTC channel with their retail partners, thus improving the customer experience in every channel, and creating the same stellar experience whichever way the consumer chooses to shop.
Direct-to-consumer can also be used to test new products and campaigns in a smaller, safer environment before they are scaled out to retail partners — that keeps costs down and avoids costly mistakes, but also promotes an innovative and agile approach to retail.
In addition to new products (which might be trialled under a sub-brand), companies can leverage DTC to explore new markets, adopt trial payments like subscriptions, or target specific demographics that haven’t been tested before. Then, this information can be shared with retail partners to help sell more.
DTC isn’t, therefore, an exclusive channel, it’s entirely complementary to continuing (and improving) relationships with retail partners like wholesalers or resellers.
As businesses grow quickly and explore new possibilities, customer data can even help companies decide where they should open up their first brick-and-mortar store, or when they should plan a pop-up store, or host a special, promotional event.
Find a platform that allows you to do it
Choosing to go down the DTC route may seem like a no brainer, but where do you find the right tech to do it? Enter Shopify Plus. The platform that powers more than a million businesses right across the globe, Shopify Plus is designed for companies of any size that are looking for large sales volume and fast growth.
Shopify Plus is the commerce platform that has helped usher in the rise of DTC brands and powers all those capabilities and options above — from marketing and selling products in innovative ways, to building life-long relationships with customers. Built for high-growth, high-volume businesses, Shopify Plus couples the speed and reliability that companies need to grow bigger, and get to where they want to be faster.
Start selling direct-to-consumer
If you’re ready to start selling DTC, reach out to your local Shopify Plus representative who can help you explore the ways technology can take your DTC channel to the next level.
If you want to learn more, Find out how to start selling direct (and even take on Amazon) in this practical guide.