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May 2, 2024
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Understanding why DTC Businesses are so Disruptive

Business Growth
Understanding why DTC Businesses are so Disruptive
Alex Rosenberg
Growth Marketing
Understanding why DTC Businesses are so Disruptive

In this modern, technologically-advanced era, DTC, popularly known as Direct-to-consumer businesses, are constantly on the rise. In addition, these DTC business models have further raised profitability, and it might not be wrong to say that Direct-to-consumer is one of the newest market trends transforming the eCommerce domain and enhancing user experience.

What is going on in the DTC industry?

Furthermore, the DTC business models are disrupting the online marketing world by remodeling client expectations of comfort, quality, and trust and reorienting client culture. However, have you ever wondered, even after gaining immense popularity, why do Google search engines not favor DTC brands? Well, it is not like that Google hates DTC business models, but there might be specific online algorithms that your Direct-to-consumer model might be overlooking. Keep reading below to learn more about DTC and why it hurts Silicon Valley.

So, let's get started, shall we?

What do we mean by Direct-to-consumer (DTC)?

Direct-to-customer (DTC) refers to a famous online eCommerce marketing strategy that lets manufacturers and CPG (Consumer packaged goods) brands market their products directly to the clients. It avoids the traditional negotiating process with a vendor or reseller to sell your products to the customers.


Also, in DTC marketing, businesses market straight to the client through their online platform. Under a Direct-to-customer marketing strategy, online business brands handle everything from manufacturing goods to advertising and distributing them.

In simpler terms, DTC brands curate every interaction – from the initial advertising of their goods to delivery and client fulfillment. Another significant part of DTCs is that they diversify alongside the ever-changing customer’s requirements instead of trading selected products on online websites. Businesses often leverage various tools and technologies to enhance their customer experience, including free route planners that optimize delivery routes for efficient and cost-effective logistics.

How are DTC brands changing retail reality?

Direct-to-customer brands have transformed the retail industry and have lately experienced a quick rise. Furthermore, according to a report, there are more than approximately 400 DTC brands that compete in the online market for clients' attention that does not even exist a few years back. Like other eCommerce brands, Direct-to-customer brands offer a productive foundation on social media platforms and the Google search engine.

social networks

These brands capitalize on online purchasing habits established by leading eCommerce brands like eBay and Amazon. In addition, every DTC brand remains fueled by personalization and comprehensive data that eliminate the need for middle suppliers, wholesalers, and conventional retailers. Instituted and developed online, direct-to-customers brands are now leveraging the power of experiential for ongoing success.

What do DTC brands have in common?

Even when direct-to-customer brands differ in product sizes, types, and costs, they usually have more similarities than disparities. Here are some similar attributes that DTC brands share.

DTC brands make the most of client data

In this era of technological advancements and big data, more and more customers are becoming more tech-savvy. Therefore, when DTC brands came into existence almost a decade ago, these Direct to customer brands had unparalleled access to customer data.

In addition, social media platforms such as Facebook by Meta, Instagram, etc., remained trusted platforms. Opt-outs were used as a point of choice, not of legitimacy. Moreover, with cookies that track every client's move to better assist them and understand their likes and dislikes, almost every direct-to-customer brand is now ready to take off.

DTC brands prioritize better client experience

Direct-to-customer brands understand what they like because they comprehend who they are. These online brands have endeared themselves to customers by utilizing the information they generated for their clients. In addition, with high-level personalization, automation, and targeting, Direct to customer brands deliver better content that strategically guides the client's journey toward making the final purchase.

Moreover, the primary objective of every direct-to-customer brand is to prioritize their clients and their needs. These brands make exceptional end-to-end acquisition ventures backed by trial options, clear pricing, quality products, and effortless returns.

DTC brands feature real individuals

Modern buyers own millions and billions of dollars of purchasing power. However, these purchasers usually do not prefer conventional brand promotions and advertisements.

Therefore, to attract these clients, direct-to-customer brands ditched hiring supermodels for advertising and began prioritizing user-generated content. Also, from honest client reviews to attractive images, to characterize themselves as client-focused, genuine, inclusive, and dependable.


Why are Direct-to-Customers brands turning experiential?

Direct-to-consumer brands in recent times have gained immense popularity. They are now reaching millions and billions of people and investors to get a higher market share. Moreover, DTC brands are now moving towards the much-awaited path of being experiential. While in the initial days, the digital advertisement landscape for the direct-to-customer brand was far less saturated, the modern-day Google, Facebook, and Instagram now overpower advertisement placement and also prices.

Why do many DTC brands fail?

Even when direct-to-customer brands are on the rise, many brands fail miserably soon after coming into existence. So if you are planning to launch a DTC brand, you must understand some prevalent reasons DTC brands fail, so you never repeat such mistakes.

1. Scaling the brand too quickly

Every new direct-to-customer brand owner aspires for their business to grow manifolds quickly. While quick expansion and growth are good indications, scaling your business excessively fast on purpose can be detrimental to long-term growth.

scaling business

Instead, being financially efficient and identifying profitability is a more promising way of guaranteeing you understand when and how fast to scale your DTC brand to allow it to fail. Also, if you are unsure, here are some signs you are scaling your business soon.

  • Your fund outflow and your returns margins are not connected and off-balance
  • You’re not being able to focus on matching your costs
  • Your business development is determined not by repeated clients but by first-time users

2. Establishing benchmarks based on conversion rate

Let's face it: Any DTC brand can never determine conversion rate by themselves when setting benchmarks and predictability for the coming times. Instead, it is better to evaluate the conversion rate alongside factors that assist in examining whether the conversion rate was inconclusive or contains a standard formula that can get duplicated.

Therefore, when you establish your expenses, take out an average conversion rate cost rather than estimations on your most satisfactory performance to get the best assessment. Ultimately, it is best to segregate your conversion rate by splitting up different client sets, differentiating between stock-keeping units, and even interaction and advertising initiatives to stand out from the competitors.

Moreover, you can leverage your benefit of being a newcomer in the industry with these comprehensive assessments that help you chalk out efforts that are causing more damage than good to your DTC brand.

3. Delaying your packaging & positioning

Another significant reason why many direct-to-customer brands fail is that they do not focus on or delay packaging and positioning. Since clients cannot physically touch the products sold by DTC brands online, they usually rely on packaging to make a buying decision. However, if the packaging is not up to the mark, the direct-to-customer brand cannot attract potential clients and fail miserably.

4. Creating a standalone DTC website

Creating a standalone direct-to-customer website without any possibility of splitting sales is another prominent reason DTC brands fail online. Therefore, it is essential to segregate your sales avenues across platforms. While this might increase your expenses a bit, it would help you attract more online users that would turn into potential customers and compensate for your higher expenses.

In addition, over the months, you can facilitate your sales diverging towards a more extensive sales percentage on your website over marketplaces. Likewise, the most reasonable way to evaluate which platforms to sell on is by witnessing how your equivalent brands serve there and determining if you can afford the profit margins and targeted advertising for such platforms to better your online visibility.

5. Marketing your products as it is

Nothing overpowers a well-said, exhilarating tale that taps into human's innate feelings. Therefore, if any direct-to-customer brand does not convey a compelling story, it might not perform well online.

Furthermore, in recent times, social media platforms and technological advancements allow brands to create and convey a raw, genuine story behind any small or forthcoming product or company that reverberates with online users. In addition, when you are considering how to share your story and message, start by asking the following questions regarding your DTC brand.

  • Is the brand a need or a want for the customers?
  • Why would they return to your brand?
  • If the brand's product wasn’t available, would they miss the brand?

6. Poor management and lack of leadership

Direct-to-customer brands hold a market position – guiding the path toward creative and sometimes novel industry techniques. They operate with diverse aptitudes, associates, and personality types.

leadership team

Nevertheless, DTC brand leaders who fail to employ the expertise and aptitudes needed to guarantee that the most significant threats are suitably controlled or that the potential clients are followed are bound for failure.

Likewise, if direct-to-customer brands guide the industry by trial and error techniques imposed by flawed administration usually face a lack of online visibility and diminishing returns. A motivated DTC administrator who can entrust their team to function at their highest potential is bound to create a successful business.

7. Ambiguous objectives

A principal reason a majority of new direct-to-customer brands fail to perform better or thrive online is a lack of vision or objectives. Therefore, to ensure that the DTC brand thrives online, it must need a precise set of procedures and structure.

High-quality systems and strategies allow a company to succeed in something beyond the power of one or two people. For those intelligent direct-to-consumer business owners who understand how to create structure, their businesses will not only endure; they will flourish.

In addition, maintaining a thorough and actionable approach allows DTC brands to build attention, alignment, and ownership within their company. All this comes down to the client as long as they have an evident roadmap that identifies them in the direction of the beneficial goods the business is offering.

8. Lack of resources or poor fund management

Without strong leadership, direct-to-customer brands usually spend considerable funds on early development resources and materials. In addition, numerous direct-to-customer brands do not succeed online because they fail to understand and estimate essential financial records like basic earnings statements and economic projections.

economic projections

Furthermore, DTC brands that do not have a solid understanding of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), Average Order Value (AOV), and Lifetime Value (LTV) are also bound to fail.

How can DTC brands thrive online?

With the advent of the global pandemic, the growth possibilities for new and existing direct-to-customer brands are skyrocketing. However, given the massive shift of brands online, more and more DTC brands emerged, leading to a neck to neck competition amongst them. Therefore, to thrive and improve online visibility, your direct-to-customer brand must stand out from the competitors.

To help you build a successful direct-to-customer brand, we've compiled some effective tips you can follow:

Comprehending consumer requirements

The direct-to-customer business model offers better authority over customer data, which you can evaluate further to comprehend customer behavior, deal with client requirements and develop user acquisition techniques. In addition, while expanding a DTC (direct-to-customer) brand, client requirements always become a problem that is challenging to handle.

Nevertheless, with the improved communication with consumers via emails, chats, SMS, reviews, etc., it occasionally might get demanding for a DTC brand to allot and handle resources to organize, design, and process all the valuable insights acquired from the information.

Furthermore, exercising proactive measures and handling client pain points are crucial while expanding your business. Apart from that, with the right tools, it becomes crucial for brands to comprehend the requirements of the consumers they wish to cater to and ways to deliver to the anticipated means.

DTC ecommerce

Regularly track client's community.

Clients usually communicate with their friends or family community before buying a product online, particularly if they are buying from a direct-to-customer brand for the initial time. In addition, DTC brands principally depend on their dedicated client bases to boost earnings by delivering satisfactory feedback to new clients and developing trust.

Also, with the expansion in client requirements ending in supply chain deficits during the busy vacation season, new clients merely require validation from existing clients in the community before making the ultimate buying decision.

They attempt to locate these in the feedback and reviews of your DTC business and products. Therefore, to ensure that clients always think highly of them, direct-to-customer brands can select the best client experiences and place them prominently on the website in the form of client reviews and testimonials. With that, emphasizing your client's online content on your marketing platforms can make them feel more valued and relate better with your direct-to-customer brand.

In addition, client shoutouts usually act as a powerful word-of-mouth advertising approach as eager consumers may even reshare their limelight with family or friends, indirectly assisting you in advertising your product. Apart from that, Instagram Influencer marketing accomplished accurately can assist you immensely in expanding your client base with improved brand commitment for more revenue generation.

instagram influencing

Building personalized client experiences

Personalization can quickly evolve as a fundamental metric for thriving customer-brand communications that can assist in increasing bottom-line development. In addition, with the diverse clients' needs in terms of DTC products and seasonal and geographical ground, the clients must remain segregated and then be served accordingly for better interaction and strengthened relationships.

Moreover, for a quickly growing direct-to-customer brand, targeting new and diverse client classes with the help of its advertising campaigns and techniques assists in navigating market penetration as well.

Facilitate your order fulfillment process

Over the past few years, clients' focus shifted entirely from traditionally established businesses to smaller and newly emerging direct-to-customer companies. The expansion of online shopping trends, a reduction in physical shopping, turmoil in brand adherence, and the effects of the global pandemic paved the way for the development of DTC brands.

Scaling or diversifying a direct-to-customer brand indicates better order fulfillment to facilitate client satisfaction.  In addition, With agility being directly proportionate to customer delight and retention, associating with the correct partners for order fulfillment can assist in cost reduction and client service advancement possibilities ahead of your contenders.

Engage clients with data-powered messaging

The information clients share with the direct-to-customer brand is rapidly becoming vital for businesses today. Direct-to-business companies are employing this customer data to gain valuable insights by examining online consumer behavior associated with the information shared. By analyzing what language caused a scan, sale, or repurchase, companies can make the most out of their consumer relationships.

repurchasing and learning more

They employ diverse avenues like SMS or email marketing, website registrations, and even telecommunication to gather appropriate client data. It assists them in comprehending their clients better and offering tailored client experiences in terms of store pickups and offers. Likewise, this can also inspire clients to repeat acquisitions across all customer personas that help boost brand loyalty.

Perform a competitor analysis

With the modern eCommerce landscape quickly evolving, more and more DTC brands are now shifting towards online platforms. In addition, a majority of these direct-to-customer brands are now expanding themselves with high-quality client acquisition and retention techniques.

Therefore, competitor analysis becomes crucial for direct-to-customer brands that are planning to diversify or scale up. In addition, with the help of valuable insights gained from the competitor analysis, brands can comprehend their strengths and weaknesses. Apart from that, they can further perform a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat) analysis regarding conventional and non-traditional rivals out there in the industry.

The Bottom Line

To summarize, we can say that with the gradual expansion of eCommerce platforms, online brands are now shifting towards embracing the direct-to-customer approach. While this would initially pose some challenges during market penetration, you can use the above pointers and the right tools to scale your DTC brands better.

Also, if you are looking for modern tools for your direct-to-customer brands like QR on TV or other platforms, Flowcode is here to assist you. Flowcode is one of the leading free QR generator platforms that help you scale your DTC business operations to make a seamless market entry and better survive and thrive in the online domain.

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Alex Rosenberg
Growth Marketing

Alex lives in Brooklyn, NY, and has worked at Flowcode for over 2 years. When he's not scanning Flowcodes in the wild, or launching features and products, he's usually running in Prospect Park.

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