When Covid shut down the world, it wasn’t just traditional retailers that were hit. DTC brands were, too. Shifts in consumer shopping habits during the pandemic forced DTC brands to alter the ways they think and they still came up on top. As the world continues to navigate our new normal, we hope that others can learn from the strategies DTCs are implementing.
Allbirds and Fabletics aren’t the first DTC brands to open up for in-store shopping, of course. Brands like Warby Parker and Bonobos pioneered the approach years ago. But the latest class of trendy DTC brands is doing things a little differently. Rather than focusing on urban centers, like New York and Los Angeles, DTC brands are using local data to target new, smaller locations in states like Arizona, Florida, and Texas.
We are anticipating monumental online sales volume for brands with the approaching holiday season. To capitalize on this transition to online shopping, DTC (direct-to-consumer) brands must take back control of their sales channels. DTC brands can’t control whether big-box retailers open their storefronts or the number of consumers they allow inside. They also can’t manage the customer experience with the brand, especially given the many variables Covid-19 has thrown at brick-and-mortar retail.
The one thing brands can control is their online sales channel.
The trend toward brand in-housing of media operations has been a growing challenge for agencies for more than a decade now. As of this time last year, 91% of brands reported having moved at least a part of their digital marketing operations in-house. Many agencies have had to address the question: How do we stay relevant in an age of direct-to-consumer strategies and increasing automation of media execution?
As we enter the next era of audience intelligence, today’s agencies have a new opportunity to refine their value proposition to clients and reclaim their roles as strategic advisors, all by leveraging the same strengths and tools that once defined their roles as invaluable media partners. Let’s look at how agencies can help brands extend the promise of audience intelligence beyond optimizing their media plans.
In addition to the opportunities and challenges that come with an omni-channel commercial ecosystem, 2020 brings to businesses the challenge of mobile search, which leads people on the go to search for “X near me” and pick the closest possible option. The new year also brought, as hardly anyone would’ve predicted months ago, an impending recession as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
I caught up with Nicole Amsler, vice president of marketing at loyalty tech firm Formation.ai, to garner her insights on loyalty strategy this year.
According to new research conducted by Braze, a company that specializes in growth marketing automation, direct-to-consumer brands beat non-direct-to-consumer brands with 58.6% higher messaging open rates across channels.
One reason for the higher open rates is because direct-to-consumer brands show greater willingness to use automation and iteration to personalize messages and speak to customers at a point in the journey when it makes sense for them.
Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands have forced legacy CPG brands into a major strategy shift. The rumblings of the digital transformation signaled change was coming, and the rise of DTC brands has led CPGs to rethink consumer engagement and the marketing tactics necessary to achieve that goal. And, in today’s digital-first marketplace, CPG margins are tightening because of the competition from DTCs as well as Amazon’s white-label product lines.
The result of these challenges sees the CPG playbook evolving to meet the digital-first ecosystem through tactics including investing in acquisitions, moving advertising budgets into digital, and including emerging marketing channels such as experiential marketing to create brand awareness and make direct consumer connections.
DTCs are notoriously effective in courting young shoppers, including millennials and emerging Gen-Z consumers. This is likely because younger shoppers, growing up in the digital age and native to its conventions, gravitate toward convenience and are less tied to the longstanding preferences that legacy brands carefully crafted through decades of advertising. Mobile, which is tied to identity and location and offers quick digital purchasing options, is the platform where these trends are most exaggerated.
Amazon already uses its most valuable weapon — its own internal data — to compete with its own suppliers. It analyzes customer behavior around noted CPG brands, key market sectors, and private-label offerings from brands that sell on its platform to make decisions about where to launch its own private labels.
What can CPGs do to make it a win-win?
As the millennial generation settles down and moves into its 30s, retailers are looking at a new group of consumers as the most coveted demographic. Generation Z—born between 1994 and 2002—is forming its own identity and seeking out different shopping experiences than its older counterparts.
A new report, released by the location intelligence platform Ubimo, finds that Generation Z shows a surprising preference for physical stores, although members of this group aren’t interested in shopping so much as experiencing new products in-store.
DTC brands are emerging across dozens of categories. Early and best-known examples of DTC brands include Casper, Brooklinen, Warby Parker, and Tesla. Most DTC brands not only bypass the typical retail sales and distribution model but also act in other nontraditional ways. This has earned them a label as disruptors.
Advertising intelligence and sales enablement platform MediaRadar took a close look at DTC brand trends to find what’s fueling DTC advertising and to gain an understanding of how DTC companies make ad buying decisions. MediaRadar surveyed our own DTC clients and analyzed our data for deeper insights.