The D2C market has been steadily growing for quite a few years, but many brands experienced explosive growth during 2020. On the other hand, other businesses floundered.
In 2019, D2C sales in the U.S. reached $14.28 billion, and in 2020, they reached $17.75. By 2021, sales are forecast to reach $21.25 billion. With such steady growth, it’s clear to see that D2C commerce is here to stay. If your business wants a slice of the action, it’s vital to consider ways you can maximize your growth.
What are the key differences in growth between brands that are booming and those that went bust? Let’s look at four sure-fire ways to kill the growth of your D2C brand. If you’re looking to keep growing, make sure you don’t forget to attack these key points.
Forget To Build Relationships With Your Customers
If you and your brand have forgotten that a real person is sitting at a computer, weighing up whether you buy your product or a competitor’s, that’s a sure-fire way to halt your sales in their tracks. 57% of customers will spend more with a brand who they feel connected to. Once you’ve worked on your ideal customer avatar, you should strive to build relationships through relevant content and connection.
Consumers of a brand focused on sustainable beauty products might like to know your business donates a certain percentage of your profits to environmental charities. Other brands might decide to offer discounts for frontline workers.
Half of consumers also actively decide to visit a specific brand website rather than a retailer website because they’re looking for high-quality and comprehensive information about your product. By making sure you target your content toward providing value, you automatically increase trust with your customers.
Consider adding video guides for specific products too. 84% of consumers decide to make a purchase after watching a video on your website, so this is a crucial point to address.
If the relationship you’re building with your customers is authentic, your brand will benefit. If you’re not paying attention to this first step, there’s very little point in putting your energies into any of the steps that come after it.
Using An Outdated CMS
Your traditional Content Management System (CMS) may well have gotten the job done when your brand first launched, but it might now be struggling to keep up with changes in the way you want to distribute content and how your customers consume what you’re putting out there. A traditional CMS links the front and back-ends of your system, which offers ease of use as there are set templates you can use to set up your customer-facing theme. These usually assume that your customers are using a device like their laptop or cellphone.
The problem with this system is that more and more people are using different channels like their smartwatches, smart speakers, and apps. Many traditional CMS just aren’t set up for omni-channel content delivery to these devices. If a customer tries and fails to find your content on their device, they may just give up and head to a competitor’s site instead.
Many D2C brands are now switching to something called a decoupled or headless CMS. These allow you to separate the technical back end of your site from the customer-facing front-end. The result is extreme flexibility in how your content is displayed across all channels.
Choosing to make the move to a new CMS can feel like a huge step, but it may be one you can’t afford to make.
Ignore The Data
One of the most valuable things about your D2C business is the fact that you can gather data directly from your customers. Ignore this at your peril. Many customers are now looking for a bespoke shopping experience that’s tailored to their needs. With 74% of buyers becoming frustrated when a brand doesn’t offer them tailored content, any D2C brand looking to increase its growth needs to get comfortable with analyzing and acting on data.
Knowing which data to analyze and then use to personalize your customer’s journey plays a key role in driving repeat sales. Subscription-based models can help some D2C businesses offer value and convenience to their customers.
You may choose to run specific customer experiences through A/B testing to work out which strategies resonate best with your customer base. For some brands, using more informal and quirky language during the customer journey may be the way to go. For others, they may choose to use algorithms to customize specific steps.
Don’t Install AI Chatbots
As we’ve already mentioned, customers are looking for a relationship with your D2C brand but their shopping habits may not correspond with your regular office hours. If a customer has a query and there isn’t someone available to answer them relatively quickly, you may lose sales.
If your business hasn’t already started using AI chatbots to interact with customers no matter what time it is, then you’re missing a trick. It’s estimated that by 2022, chatbots will save businesses $8 billion annually.
Research shows that chatbots can answer up to 80% of a business’s most common questions. This helps speed up response times and save your team effort by allowing them to spend more time answering the remaining 20 % of questions. Chatbots can reduce the costs of customer service by 30%, a significant saving.
Chatbots also can collect data, which can be fed back into the systems and analysis we touched on in Step 3. This can then be used to improve customer interaction, help inform product development, and show you exactly what information your customers are searching for.
Modern chatbots aren’t clunky or unreliable either. They now utilize natural language processing (NLP) to work out the context of a message quickly. This information can then be used to select an auto-response or send complex queries to your customer care department. Chatbots also use natural language generation (NLG) to generate easy-to-read responses that help foster customer connection and let your customers know you value their time.
Chatbots can help you stay one step ahead of your competitors by improving the response times to queries as well as freeing up your staff to answer any remaining queries as quickly as possible.
Adapt To Survive
D2C is a huge market, but for every brand that succeeds, many more fail. Survival depends on implementing strategic marketing tactics to help drive growth and foster relationships with your customers. If your brand is wondering why your growth has plateaued or even nose-dived, then look at some of the key points we’ve outlined above - and then implement them! It might just make the difference between failure and success.