They say, “Every cloud has its silver lining”. Well, that certainly stood true for direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies, who saw a surge in demand and activity after the pandemic struck. In the last decade, more than 630 million people in India today have access to the internet, 130 million of which are actively contributing to online shopping. To further sweeten this scenario, online spending is likely to grow at a CAGR of 35%+ from US$39 billion today to US$200 billion over the next 5 years. And all of these developments are being backed by innovation in internet and payment infrastructure models.
So, with all these elements coming together, you might wonder where the problem lies. Well e commerce is no longer a novelty for us; it’s simply a part of our everyday lives. As consumers, we’re surrounded by information about products, services and countless ads, coming from a rapidly growing number of online businesses.
Thus, there already is a challenge in setting up a DTC company, but making it stand out in a cluttered environment is the true test of strength. But that’s where your marketing strategy shines. It is the finest way to build brand awareness and promote loyalty among consumers.
Some of the elements that you should focus on are as follows:
Marketing is far broader than just advertising
The problem with many entrepreneurs is believing marketing and advertising to be one and the same. While promotion is undoubtedly crucial to scaling up a brand, you need to go beyond this to create a monumental impact. Marketing involves careful consideration at every touchpoint; whether it’s the delivery, price, choice of platform and methods of promotion.
While your social media post will help to a certain extent, the way you’re packaging your offering and interacting with your consumer will bring you to the top. You already have an advantage from campaigns like ‘Vocal For Local’ that support the consumption of homegrown brands. All you need to do, is refine your marketing strategy, so this perception sticks for a long, long time.
Your best bet is to craft a marketing strategy that is unique to your brand, and to do that...
Listen to your customers. They know what they want
Consumers today are better informed about the brands, products and services they wish to opt for. They carry out research before purchasing anything online, and have set ideas about what they expect from brands. DTC marketing will excel when you put the customer first, and center your marketing strategies and activities around them.
As a DTC company, you have the advantage of collecting customer data on your own. This means purchasing history, social media insights, demographic data, feedback forms and more.
You can use this data to augment marketing efforts at various customer touchpoints. Some of these include:
Birthday celebration offers
Abandoned cart emails
The data you collect also lets you know where the customer is facing issues. The best way to tackle this is by addressing the problems and marketing the hell out of the solutions you formulate. This will help you meet their increased demand for authenticity and strengthen their relationship with the brand.
Your UI/UX matters more than you think
With almost a decade of ecommerce experience, digital-first shopping has become the norm for many consumers across the country, spanning over multiple demographics. This isn’t just limited to the desktop experience; mobile usage has increased significantly, and consumers expect brands to keep up with every new technological innovation. DTC brand Lenskart has made its mark in this regard, offering customers means to virtually try every product in their store, on their mobile and desktop platforms.
User experience has thus become a dealbreaker for many, who have a number of replacement brands at their fingertips and little patience to deal with lags and complicated user journeys. Easy navigation, clean design and fast loading of pages has become a crucial aspect for consumers, which makes it even more important for you to focus on.
Scope for success in the DTC sphere is expanding with each day. If done right, it can promise you all the treasures in the world, but even the smallest elements can wreak havoc in your operations. Remember, as a DTC entrepreneur, while you have maximum control over your products on one hand, you also have to bear all costs. That's why you need to market smarter. You have many avenues for advancement at your disposal. Choose wisely, so you can make millions, not lose them.
The author is co-founder 1702 Digital