Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands have made a name for themselves in recent years.
Gone are the days when DTC brands relied on late-night infomercials or other tactics to win over potential customers. Given the current strength of e-commerce and its influence on the world, more brands than ever are finding success in the direct-to-consumer market.
Heading into the new year, your brand could be one of the next to find success with this business model as well.
What Is Direct-to-Consumer Sales?
As the name implies, direct-to-consumer sales involves taking a product or service and selling it directly to consumers without a retail store or other outlet serving as a middleman.
This means that instead of competing with other brands for shelf space and consumer attention, your product will have the consumer’s full attention and will live or die under its own appeal. This means that you have to engage the consumer more directly to earn their trust (and their business), but that added work often translates to increased brand loyalty and repeated sales as well.
In the past, DTC brands filled a niche market. The current reality is quite a bit different, though, with a wide range of products and even some major brands going DTC. Everything from razors and clothing to electronics and even food items are going direct to consumer these days and the market for DTC brands is only growing moving into the future.
Does DTC Really Work?
Direct-to-consumer advertising has come into its own in recent years and is now a fully workable option for brand management and product sales.
While there is obviously still a market for traditional advertising and sales channels, the always-connected world gives consumers unprecedented access to brands and products over the internet. By taking advantage of this access, companies can connect with their target audience more directly and make a strong showing in the sales market without having to place a single product on store shelves.
DTC sales rely heavily on e-commerce and digital advertising, though there is still room for more traditional types of advertising as well. Regardless of the advertising model used, the concept remains the same: Connecting with potential customers and convincing them that the product or service being sold is a viable option compared to the products that they’re used to.
The main difference here is that instead of going to a store to find the product among other competitors, the consumer now goes to a website or app where you control the shopping experience. The benefits of this are obvious.
Why You Should Go DTC
While not all brands are ready for a direct-to-consumer sales model, a good number of brands can adapt to DTC fairly easily.
The direct-to-consumer model offers several advantages, including the benefit of having no on-the-shelf competition to draw away the consumer’s attention and being able to create a stronger bond with the consumer prior to purchase. You control the entire shopping experience from the moment a consumer arrives on your website or launches your app, and because of this you never have to worry about stock issues leading a consumer to some competing product that isn’t sold out.
More importantly, though, you have greater control over the value proposition surrounding your product. You can use targeted marketing and online engagement to build the value proposition over time, and since your online experience is only a click or tap away you can take full advantage of impulse buying at any time of the day or night.
Your marketing strategy sets up the consumer to want the product and then they can make the purchase before they have time to decide that they’d rather go with some other option. It’s a powerful thing.
Mastering Direct-to-Consumer Advertising
While moving into DTC might seem like a big move involving major changes to your company branding, the switch is surprisingly easy.
You almost certainly use at least some digital advertising and social engagement for your products anyway, so you already have a presence that you can leverage for the direct-to-consumer experience. Instead of driving consumers toward retail outlets, shift the focus of your advertising to your dedicated e-commerce experience instead.
Making gradual shifts in your sales funnel, search advertising and social media engagement can move you and your brands toward DTC sales over time, prepping consumers for exclusive DTC sales and other options in the future.