Mark, a small manufacturer of traditional home decor items, beautifully handcrafted earthenware, and intricately designed ceramics, had to find an influential wholesaler who would take his products to an established retailer so that they get some space on the market shelves. Even though his product did reach the shops and supermarkets, they fell prey to the cutthroat competition, which, in turn, did not let Mark receive profitable returns. Following this long chain of sales, hopping from one wholesaler to another and trying hard to put his products on display in retail stores where they will be seen and sold took a chunk of his earnings that left him sailing around break-even only, once in a while going above it. This is how small businesses, like that Mark, used to work traditionally, and their earnings were the bare minimum.
Now imagine Mark selling his products in the age of e-commerce! How different the selling process will be for him with the likelihood of his business achieving the potential it is worthy of being high? The world of e-commerce is magical. Mark just has to get his product listed on an e-commerce site, upload the optimized product content, and his product is ready to roll out.
Talking of the present day, there is no e-commerce seller as big as Amazon. Mark can create an Amazon Seller Central account, list his product on the website and start selling there. Believe it or not, there are only nominal charges involved in selling products online. According to Jungle Scout study 2018, a new seller on Amazon, be it individual, small scale or large scale business, earns between $26000-$810000. Given these figures, Mark can make a reasonably large amount of profit from his sales and later spend it on getting his own e-commerce website, where he can sell directly to his customers.
Shoppers, these days, want to go through an organized purchase process, ease of shopping, and want to experience a direct connection with the brand. Some of them visit the brand website, but they purchase from a third-party channel and vice versa. With more and more buyers becoming explicit about these preferences, many brands today have followed an Omni Channel Approach. To some extent, this is diminishing the role of intermediaries. Several brands have also started selling products from their own website and, therefore, are dedicated towards launching a sober, orderly, and efficient webstore. The behavior of the brand is termed as D2C selling.
This blog is a complete guide for D2C marketers. So, let us start by understanding the meaning of D2C.
What is D2C Selling?
D2C means Direct-to-Consumer selling. Manufacturers and brands follow this concept to cut the need for intermediaries. They promote and sell their products directly to their consumers. It has replaced the age-old tradition of developing a synchronization among manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers to efficiently market the product to the end-user. Now manufacturers independently promote, sell, package, and ship their inventory to their consumers.
D2C selling model is quickly overpowering traditional selling with changing customer behavior. Presently, most of them prefer visiting straight to the website of a brand to research about the product and make the purchase. Astound Commerce found out that 59% of buyers today prefer visiting the manufacturer’s website to see product details, with 55% are interested in making purchases through the brand website.
In D2C selling, there are no roadblocks between manufacturers and buyers, and therefore, there is an open interaction between them, leading the manufacturers to better understand the buyer’s expectations. In addition to this, producers can exercise greater control over the brand reputation, marketing strategies, sales tactics, and pricing policies. The whole idea of D2C selling is to wipe out all barriers so that the manufacturers could engage more and more with the target audience and entirely own the profit they earn; no cuts for wholesalers, distributors, etc.
Here are a few ways to get started with your D2C brand
1. Tap the Niche
Say, for instance, that you are planning to enter the market for sports shoes. Conducting intense research and exploration, you got to know that your competitors are offering running shoes, shoes for people with flat feet, and regular wear shoes with soft soles. You also found that there are no brands selling shoes supportive enough while heavy weight lifting. You have found your niche. Among other types, you can produce athletic footwear that is gripping and keeps a person balanced during intense workouts. To find a niche in the market, you must identify the gaps in the market, and exploit those gaps to launch a unique segment. Even without advertising, this draws greater numbers of customers.
2. Pick the right eCommerce website builder
For building a website, you should know what you need in your website. So, before you start working on it, list down the critical functionalities and features that will enhance the user experience. On the basis of your list of priorities, you choose an e-commerce website builder which has features and extensions that fulfill the requirement of your site. Considering the attributes you need to build a user-friendly website, you can choose between open-source, SaaS, and headless commerce. Some of the popular e-commerce website builders are BigCommerce, Shopify, Magento, nopcommerce, and WooCommerce.
3. Unique domain name
Domain name is the reflection of your brand. It should be easily identifiable on the search engines for which it should be unique as well as keyword induced. Thinking of the long-term, your domain name will represent your business and, therefore, should be crisp and concise. It should be short with not more than 12 characters and include words that can be easily pronounced. Don’t use unfamiliar words. You can mesh two words, use descriptive words or foreign terms. However, avoid using hyphens, numbers, misspelled words, and combos that are difficult to pronounce.
4. Easily navigable and captivative website
When consumers directly connect with your brand, it is your responsibility to furnish customer satisfaction and an excellent buying experience. This is possible only with the help of an easily navigable, mobile-friendly, informative, and visually appealing website. A very important aspect of a customer-friendly website is a systematic and properly aligned user interface where all the elements are apparent and easy to locate. Product details and images should be prominent so that they bridge the gap of not being able to touch or feel the product. Use banners and creatives that would want customers to stay. Make searching the product easy and the payment process smooth-sailing. Build the website with an intention to encourage your customers to visit again.
5. Aesthetically displayed product
Plain and simple images with a dull white background will not impress your customers. You need to put something extra in your product image set to keep customers hooked. Think from a buyers’ perspective and make a list of things they would like to know about your product. They might want to know the features that set your product apart from the similar kinds, or they want to know the reviews and ratings it has received. Answering your buyers’ queries in the imagery form will make them explore your site in and out. Give them a clear visual message that your product is the best.
6. Strategic shipping policy
Devise a clear and understandable shipping policy and upload it on your website for your customers to go through it before they place the order. Another important thing to include here is to notify the number of days it will take for the product to reach the customer. When it comes to the delivery of the product, the earlier the product reaches the customers, the higher is the customer satisfaction. Integrate with a shipping service provider who has the reputation of providing the best services.
7. Test your website before launch
Run a quick test drive for your website before you launch. Test all the functionalities and make sure that they are working properly and that your site is mobile optimized. From signup to checkout, the process should be smooth-sailing. Some things that you should ensure are the call-to-actions are working properly, product descriptions are complete, high definition images and videos are used, the speed of the website, and the checkout process should be quick and easy. Along with this, focus on consistency of font, theme, and colors across website pages and add testimonials as they talk about customers’ authentic experience with the organization giving an upper edge to the website.
8. Aggressive marketing
Your outreach to your target audience will expand dramatically once you have an exhaustive Marketing campaign ready beforehand. Use it to showcase your product previews, promos, coupons, discounts, number of satisfied customers, and their testimonials. In addition to this, implement influencer marketing (depends on the type of product/service) as it is a real-time experience shared by the user of your product. Also, don’t ignore the application of SEO, SEM, email marketing, and other digital marketing methods. All these combined together is an effective marketing approach that can help your website in ranking higher on the search engine results pages.
9. Privacy and Return policy
Privacy and return policies influence the buying decisions of your customers to a very large extent. This is one thing that buyers definitely go through before making online purchases. When it comes to disclosing critical information like address and card details, buyers want a high level of discreteness. Talking of the return policies, they should be liberal enough to allow buyers to establish the product’s suitability along with offering free returns, home pickup, and quick refunds. With all this conveyed clearly to the purchasers, the chances of conversion become high.
10. Customer support
The buyers always appreciate quick redressal of complaints. Therefore, have a robust customer support system. This involves having a team of customer support executives who provide a prompt resolution against the issue raised. Quick answering of calls, raising the case instantly, diving into the details of the issue your buyer is facing; all are the responsibilities of a reliable customer support team. A good to know fact is, having a Q&A section on the website is also a part of customer support.
D2C eCommerce has been proliferating over the past few years. But if we talk about the present, the rise is steeper than it was earlier. With the growth of D2C selling, customer behavior has changed a lot as they are enjoying a personalized shopping experience. 57% of the customers are influenced by brands communicating directly with them to establish customer loyalty. The pandemic triggered the rise in D2C selling, with nearly 84% of the consumers shopping online during the lockdown. Given the exponential rise at the beginning of the pandemic, 19.2% further growth was projected in 2021, according to scalefast. The whole point here is that D2C is here to stay. Their intent of Personal engagement with the buyers and giving memorable shopping experience will only lead them to grow and expand.
The Role of Paxcom
Paxcom supports sellers at every stage of their growth journey, from developing a website from scratch, handling its monthly management to supporting them from backend with their Order & Inventory management tools. For more information, connect with our experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.