Table of Contents:
- What is D2C Marketing?
- Why is D2C Marketing Getting Popular?
- D2C Marketing For Sellers
- D2C Marketing For Consumers
- Pros and Cons of D2C Marketing
- D2C Marketing Techniques
D2C marketing. It seems like we hear that term everywhere nowadays. But what does that term even mean? There’s a number in there to make things even more confusing! Marketing and advertising to customers has shifted with the rise of the internet. D2C Marketing techniques are the tools of the current age. It’s a new and developing branch of marketing that takes advantage of consumers being more online than ever. D2C Marketing is more direct and personal than what online businesses have been doing previously. So let’s dive into the specifics of these powerful new tools!
What is D2C Marketing?
Let’s get the definition out of the way first. D2C is a shortened way of saying “Direct To Consumer” marketing. When someone has a product to sell and a market of potential buyers, they choose to sell to customers. No middlemen are needed with Direct To Consumer Marketing.
This isn’t exactly a novel form of buying and marketing a product, but it is new to online shopping. Think about how consumers went about buying products for decades. First, you would go to a shop, like a tailor or a food stall, and browse for products produced by the vendor. Then, if you saw something you liked, you could buy it right there from the vendor.
But new avenues of shopping soon presented themselves. With the inventions of catalogs like Sears and megastores like Walmart, one could now browse an extensive list of items sold by a single seller. Moreover, this single seller bought their goods from smaller third-party vendors. In essence, they became a middle man. One who could bring products to the consumer from sellers who otherwise might not be able to market to such a mass audience. For a cut, of course.
With the rise of the internet came the giants like Amazon, more efficient versions of the catalog. You could access these with a few clicks. But these are still middlemen. They take their part of the pie for the work they do. The list, advertise and ship a smaller vendor’s product.
Enter the newest facet of online shopping and selling: D2C marketing. Sellers realized that they could advertise their products to interested consumers. They could also sell and ship that product with a wide array of new tools that made things more accessible. No middleman is necessary.
Why Is D2C Marketing Getting Popular?
D2C marketing has worked out great for both the buyer and the seller. Let’s take a look at why that is for both cases.
D2C Marketing For Sellers
The biggest bonus for new online sellers is that they now keep control over the entire process of their business. Business owners now control a customer’s entire experience when shopping for their product. In addition, perfect marketing techniques can make their website appear at or near the top of the search list. They can even pass big name-brand sellers.
A seller can now interact with their existing and potential customers through D2C marketing. For example, they can answer questions about shipping locations or costs, promotional discounts, free trials, or subscriptions. With a new website, you can respond right then and there. Or at the very least, provide contact information to the customer. Before, consumers needed to go through Amazon as an intermediary. Instead, they would message back and forth. And this could result in communication getting lost: angry buyers and unaware sellers.
Sellers can use D2C marketing to ensure everything goes smoothly. A good strategy can lead to positive word-of-mouth recommendations! Getting to know your customers helps to build trust and a working relationship. This will keep satisfied buyers returning to shop.
Knowing about your customer and selling directly to them gives the vendor many data. This data is about their current and potential consumer base. It can help to make the website experience better for existing customers. It can help show them deals and products they may like but be unaware of. It is also helpful in understanding the type of person who might buy your product. Or it may show their different shopping habits. Understanding this via D2C marketing will help a vendor better choose whom they market to and how they do it.
D2C Marketing For Consumers
The advantages listed in the section above you can apply here. But look from the opposite perspective. Think about how much easier things can be as a consumer with D2C marketing—the ability to talk with store owners and their employees rather than an automated help bot. Shipping comes directly to you, and you don’t have to search for the brands you like at a big store like Walmart or Target.
It’s now easier to find unique and personalized brands online than ever. Before, you needed to go to a big store like Walmart. Although they might have the same three name brands, that might not be the best option. And even if an item was available at an online store, it might have been difficult to tell if it’s what you needed.
Having a seller engaging with you helps make the experience more accessible. It also reinforces the idea that this vendor commits to helping you as best they can with their product. Plus, special offers, discounts, and new product alerts will all be positive features.
Pros and Cons of D2C Marketing
Let’s recap all the positives we learned about D2C marketing. Then, we can summarize the list and discuss a few downsides of this new and direct way of engaging.
More Control Over Process
- Vendors can control when and how they ship.
- Answer customer questions easier.
- Engage with an audience more.
- Control an image with unique branding and advertisement.
Sellers using D2C Marketing have a more precise and fuller picture. This picture shows who is buying their product and how they’re doing it. Using this information can help with providing a better user-end experience. In addition, you can learn more about a potential audience.
More Robust Relationships With Clients
Speaking directly with buyers through D2C marketing helps business owners build a loyal customer base. They do this by better understanding their customer’s needs (if they take the time to listen and apply feedback!). Beyond helping current clients, this can often be a more significant advantage. It ensures customers will return to your brand. Entice with incentives like special deals and promotions. They will get notifications via email or other.
Now let’s go through a few of the difficulties with D2C marketing.
Sellers Responsible For Shipping and Inventory
It can be as easy as slapping a shipping label on a box and dropping off the product at a shipping center. But there’s a lot for a seller to coordinate with D2C marketing. If anything goes wrong with the shipping, it’s your responsibility. You need to look into it and make sure things get corrected or replaced. Also, vendors are now responsible for ensuring they have enough products available. They need to meet the demand and deal with any unexpected external supply chain issues that might pop up.
With the advent of D2C marketing, it’s simple for anyone to open up an e-commerce website. This means more sellers are advertising online than ever before. It’s up to the individual business to brand themselves well enough to stand out. This is no small task! And the big-name brands haven’t gone away either. They have the scale to make their products cheaper than small businesses. Besides, many companies offer discounts or free promotions to first-time buyers. While this draws in the customer at first, the more challenging part is keeping them around. It would be best if you made sure getting that discount was worthwhile.
A Balancing Act
Engaging with customers means you need to manage a lot of different things. It would help if you were the customer-facing business owner acting cordial and answering questions. You also are responsible for supply chain logistics and managing the product itself. Having a few employees to spread the responsibility out can ease things. But it’s still a tough act to keep up for one or even several people.
D2C Marketing Techniques
There are many methods those using D2C marketing can use to help their businesses grow. Let’s explore two such techniques.
Engaging With a Paying Online Audience
It’s a fact that Millennials and Gen Z do the majority of their shopping online. Convenience and a wide product array are the main reasons for this. The online marketplace is easy to use. It offers quick comparisons between similar products. Take into account being able to browse anywhere on the phone. Now you’ve got a recipe for a consumer class looking to buy about everything online.
But it goes a bit deeper than that. Surveys have shown more than half of Millennial consumers like to make purchases that better “express” who they are. That’s great news for smaller, unique brands using D2C marketing. Learning from user data helps you see what kind of person is expressing themselves through your brand. Then you can see if similar people might want to buy.
Additionally, almost three-quarters of Millennial shoppers say that brand values are essential. Having personalized customer experiences online helps this. Using savvy branding lets customers better understand your values and your brand. Talking with customers will give them more trust in your brand, which younger generations value.
Today, it’s easier than ever to get your product to specific people. Social media influencers with high visibility profiles can expand your brand. By offering these social media stars money or complimentary products, they can help to market your business for you. Today younger people spend a lot of time online. They engage with social media and see influencers using and talking about your product. As a result, they might be more inclined to buy. Also, influencers can make people aware of potential deals or discounts. You can offer these to that influencer’s followers.
Having influencers advertise and speak about a product is good. It gives you a potential audience you might never otherwise reach. These brand ambassadors will not only show potential clients what your product is and how it’s used. They can use the trust already established with their audience so that you don’t have to.
For example, suppose social media users like and enjoy the content of a particular influencer. In that case, they might trust that person’s opinion—this aspect of D2C marketing assists in building trust. There’s a difficult task of establishing a trusting relationship between client and seller. It’s a powerful and personal tool for those using D2C marketing. And it’s only become available to a wide array of vendors in the last few years.