Autonomous Retail

DTC Fashion Brands Dive into the Physical World

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One of the most counter-intuitive trends in e-commerce and retail over the past decade has been the growth of direct-to-consumer digital-native brands and their subsequent embrace of physical stores. DTCs are widely opening physical locations to retain their digital chops while providing shoppers a brick-and-mortar experience that many apparently still crave.

But how are DTC brands moving into the physical world, and what is their online-to-offline marketing strategy like? Calla Murphy, VP of digital strategy and integrated marketing at the marketing agency Belardi Wong, checked in with Street Fight to answer those questions.

You work with DTC fashion and retail brands. How are you seeing them dive into the physical world?

As new customer acquisition costs have risen this year and brands compete with a more distracted consumer, it has been critical for fashion and retail brands to show up where their customer is. That means opening their own stores, developing stronger relationships with wholesale partners, and using offline channels such as direct mail and television.

DTCs are known for capitalizing on performance advertising on channels like search and social. How does that savvy play into multi-location advertising?

Google has introduced some new capabilities around Performance Max and Local Search from which early adopters will benefit. But with rising costs, it is not enough for DTC brands to simply be good digital marketers. 

Winning at a local store strategy also requires strong inventory planning (e.g., do you have the right products for that store specifically?) and a strategy around retention (e.g., what about the store experience brings customers back?).

What are the challenges of the omnichannel strategy required of DTCs playing in both ecommerce and brick-and-mortar? What should these brands keep in mind, and what steps are they taking to achieve success?

Brands need to shift from being great marketers to great financial planners, inventory planners, and merchandise planners while building exceptional customer service. That all becomes more complex with more distribution channels.

Anything else you’d like to share with multi-location marketers and fellow DTC brands? 

Authenticity is table stakes! Make sure your stores speak to that specific market in terms of assortment, style and seasonality.

Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Joe is an ad/martech veteran who has covered the space since 2015. You can contact him at [email protected]