Direct-to-Consumer Marketplace: A Playbook for Retail


Synopsis: With the ongoing scenario of the covid-19, the need for the “direct to consumer” has suddenly been in the hype. It has forced the model to be brought further to the internet. Certainly, technology via the internet has played a vital role to chop off the middlemen and open the doors in favour of products & services. In this piece of feature, we’ll perceive the idea of success direct to consumers, its failure, and secret weapon to crack a better business.

What made consumer brands switch over to the DTC market?

Is it favorable for your business or will it act negatively?

What makes it different from another model?

D2C, DTC, or “direct to consumer” sales is a trading model that sells the manufacturer’s commodity directly to the customers without any mediator’s interpretation.

Traditionally, a retailer sells the product to the customers. This was beneficial for those buyers visiting the shop and buying the pieces of stuff. Although, there are so many intermediaries involved in the process like distributors, wholesalers, and many for the sales chain.

In e-commerce, many popular brands take the support of the retailers and therefore showcase samples from inventories. But in the recent coronavirus factor, many manufacturers felt the importance of ‘direct to consumer activity and started practicing the exercise.

“In the direct-to-consumer channel, we continue to look at the entire world as an extension opportunity for all of our brands.”

Richard Hayne


Formation of direct-to-consumer brand

Key Insights from successful DTC brands across the globe

Causes of merchandises converting into direct to consumer

Required modification of DTC brand: Beyond the current normal

Formation of direct-to-consumer brand

Formation of direct-to-consumer brand

The D2C brand is running successfully yet trendy as a customer can buy the product directly to the company’s website. This has resulted in the weakening of the third party store’s trust, skipping the middlemen, and practical interaction between the seller and the buyer. But below we’ll have a look at how it has been built and got its major role in businesses:

  • Technology’ is the first retail business to go with the flow: there are big brands like Apple or mobile companies that felt the problems of loss in business. They understood that there is less communication involved through the retailers. They then started their business via D2C sales and launched the products accordingly. Giant Technology companies like Apple have taken one step further and opened their retail store.

This has eased them in contacting directly to the client and telling them about their features elaborately. This has also helped the organization against the extra heavy amount of a mediator.

  • Time to spring up: With the establishment of the D2C model in business, the startups founded their path to success. Firms like Warby Parker sell their glasses directly to customers. Other corporations like Casper, Everlane, beauty brands groups joined the gang in the same formulas. Their motive is to generate digitally native companies to start the markets.

  • The eagle-eyed retailers: after the formulation of the big brands owned stores of Apple or others, and their huge investment; mediators and retailers have begun to notice the procedure. Recently, Nike joined the race to embrace their footwear alongside the competing mode. Likewise, many others joined hands to complete their process and compete with their competitors.

  • Profit in the process: Popular e-commerce entities like Flipkart, Amazon, etc. made an option to place an order on their actual shelves. Many companies can even handle their shipping process. This might bring the intermediaries but also has a surplus against the excess cost, keep the control and still get the profit of their products for whatever they want.

Key Insights from successful DTC brands across the globe

DTC brands across the globe

When there is a name for success, there are so many pointers coming into our minds. The idea is to plan the goal, take bold moves and be an achiever. Hence, with the analysis and depth research, below are some essential tutorials to drill on:

# Tutorial 1: ‘Simplicity’ as a winning formula– Sometimes a simple strategy can turn the complicated condition into zero. This is right for the majority of consumers to choose and get the best quality product within cost. To save time and cost, the audience tends to have simple, clean and clear options.

A mattress startup Casper has launched multiple beds in 2014. They consist of 5 co-founders and all of them observed that buying a mattress is a tricky decision for people. They left with aggressive mediators, high prices and uncertain options.

So they decided to focus on a single objective. To produce the best type of one bed at an affordable rate. On that, they had also given a delivery option. Within the duration of 2 years and earned millions.

The American Razor Harry’s owner had the same kind of struggle for business initially. He then noticed the ongoing process running in the departmental store for people buying razors. From hunting a specific section to self service and later end up paying more for just less blades.

Post which, he decided to launch his own razor model with his friend and ex co-founder of Warby Jeff Raider. They discovered a simple and cheap model with a straight door delivery option. In the span of a few days of 2013, they had distributed a sample of 10,000.

After two years, the company had earned across $750 million. They believed in the idea that consumers do not want much of a choice at times and to keep it simple and accurate.

# Tutorial 2: Growth Hack Brand Community- Initially in the process of the DTC startup brand, nobody is interested in your item. Because there are so many competitors and negativity to pull off your shoes.

Thus, it is vital to throw a launch event and be ready with the playact pretend storytelling. This is trending in the DTC industry and brands are following the path according to their best budget. This is also relevant for survival and attention in the market.

In the commencement, the american mattress fame ‘Casper’ decided to create an idea of  ‘first digital brand for sleep’. To fabricate that sort of brand rapidly, the company chose to cut off the mindshare cycle obtained by going straight for american tastemaking throat. They then focused on only 2 cities i.e New York and L.A. The main motive is to achieve online and the influencers at board. After its high level howl, the company got the maximum reactions online and achieved its target.

Similarly,Glossier originator Emily Weiss began her blog into the gleam in 2010 while still an understudy at Vogue. The thought was to converse with famous people and different tycoons about their cosmetics customs, attempting to expound on them in a more relaxed, legitimate way. The blog got mainstream, developed, and in the long run hit 1.5M novel perspectives consistently. This is the turning point for her to start the brand ‘Glossier’.

For instance, the online advertisement of has crossed 25M views on youtube. It is just not the ad, these eye-catching taglines, grabbing punching dialogues pulled over the business. Their motto of making video viral quickly and meeting their target audience planned thoroughly. The hit was sudden but not accidental. With the help of a tool like a video editor, you can create an eye-catching and engaging video with predefined templates, stickers, memes, emojis and many more.

# Tutorial 3: Focus on customer experience- Along with the quality and cost, it is also important to know the customer’s end-to-end interests. Sometimes providing too many quantities can bore the users. It is very crucial to take smart and bold steps for further procedure.

A product that requires more or fewer options needs to have good selective filters. Without knowing the mood of the market can be harmful to business. To achieve the target audience, one should follow the right set of rules from the beginning.

Similarly, companies like Bonobos strategized the new trend of online shopping in 2004 and noticed client’s reactions. E.g. responding to all calls, emails, and customer support 24*7. And within months they have achieved their goals. 

# Tutorial 4: Omnipresence is critical for actual items to take off- Utilizing the web as a benefit can be quite challenging while managing actual items for business. This is the reason why traditional retail stores have failed. However, when it’s done well, it may be an enormous help to development.

For instance, the online advertisement of has crossed 25M views on youtube. It is just not the ad, these eye-catching taglines, grabbing punching dialogues pulled over the business. Their motto of making video viral quickly and meeting their target audience planned thoroughly. The hit was sudden but not accidental.

In 2012, Tumblr posted a statement that “Everlane put out an infographic specifying the “genuine expense of delivering an architect shirt”. The detailing went viral speedily and Everlane brand sold out the sale of its first ever product instantly.

Above are the best given examples for any sort of marketing strategies for launching a brand. It helps in reaching, creating conversations, and referrals.

Causes of merchandises converting into direct to consumer

Causes of merchandises converting into direct to consumer

Anybody said very rightly that ‘every coin has two sides. This has proved right in the case of business. Each company planning to have a retail-free product shop has its reason. But overall, seeing the condition; there are major 3 changes:

  • Many big online outlets like Amazon are still used by the DTC method. This results in shrinking the business, stores become pickier and less marginal on those who decided to carry.

  • In online shopping, people use to click on the purchase button and tend to buy from third-party retailers. But nowadays, the audience wants more and demands products from the original website. People not only buy from the official site but also sometimes ignore the website selling other new products. They want the product to be authentic, good looking, and worth its price. This has caused a high command from both consumer and seller digitally.

  • There is no doubt that internet technology has crucial participation in the DTC method. Sourcing products, taking orders, and fulfilling requirements at just one click under your comfort roof. It becomes easy for enterprises to create their own DTC stores, launch startups and make a profit out of it. Existing businesses can promote their old stuff and new outcomes as well.

Direct to consumer is a method of playing solo with the company’s care as input and product as an output. Sometimes to launch a product or for the promotion purpose, they conduct a party. At the party, they distribute the original sample followed by a description. And this helps in benefitting the business and motto of adopting the DTC model.

Reasons why many DTC companies fail

  • Lack of networking- Every business is a part of the hustle and proves the point of significant outcomes. They need to require the expansion of the network and grow sales. And this type of model initially has a limited edition of network i.e. family, friends, neighbors that have completed long ago. They are also limited to inbound leads and single handedly generating the business. In networking, many people find this practice intrusive and irritating. Some people call it ‘junk mail’ or ‘spam’. If campaigns will run annoying tactics, it can bring the brand in trouble and more likely people will buy less. This can lead to closing the business and will have to face no- profit and due of ROI.

  • Unstable structure– Instead of heavy written mails and ignorance, the utility of recycled materials and mail campaigns are necessary. Another common disadvantage is the drawing of the right structure. In traditional selling, the product is sold and the seller gets their commission. This structure is brief, clean and clear unlike DTC.

  • Low responsive rates– In the initial stage, DTC will get low response rates. The company reaches even those clients who are not interested in the process. It adds to the waste of money and time equally. In the end, they lack in sending the message and product. This can also give chances to the competitors to grow their market value.

  • Unplanned management- In risk of the business, the company invests in tactics like telemarketing and direct mail. But this can also harm the budget and resource cost. Another factor to be careful of i.e. legal. There are laws involved in direct marketing. One should not forget to maintain that law and follow the guidelines as per the suit smoothly.

Platform for growth, performance and agility of the DTC model

As it is mentioned above, the DTC model holds a subscription based factor for sustainability in business. It can be one of the secret weapons for success and fact for a profit margin. But for correct implementation at perfect timing, it needs to be understood thoroughly. 

  • With the help of the Profitwell tool, it is good to create, analyze and track all types of subscription KPIs. This will assist in the revenue generation of any business. This can also aid in guidance and adaptation of strategy.

  • ‘Price rate’ of any business is the key to open subscription revenue. Using price correctly and intelligently, one can scrutinize other’s values like audit proof, etc. Profitwell also has a trump to design extended factors like products that are pinpoint for a yield of industry.

Required modification of DTC brand: Beyond the current normal

Required modification of DTC brand: Beyond the current normal

With the change in time, lifestyle and needs, the market is also modifying its scale. It is important to move forward or be one step ahead in business. The existing formula will always take away the attention and creative learnings. With this formula, you will never forget to give competition yet in vogue form.

  • In the DTC industry, there is always a scope for the growth of new crops on a plant of trade. Adopting different methods like snowfields, bulletin, storytelling or change in style of physical advertising is necessary on a required interval. The more you change, the more hope of flourishment will take place.

  • One of the major factors of the DTC brand is to build one-on-one relationships. Later, this can be beneficial for creating community collaboration, which is also called “direct with”. It is also a two way process where the community combines with the brand to co-launch new products and services. This will become exciting and compatible for business.

  • Carrying off borrowed supply chains may help in the initial stage but it wouldn’t last for long in the field. With the Customer acquisition cost (CAC), you can create your own manufacturer operations that will work vertically integrated in order to preserve margins and pass past series.

  • Companies that are not planning for the future or live only in the present might sink the business. Evolution of voice interfaces will play a big role in the next decade alike online. There is no such fixed business model that is long sustainable. There should be a balanced book of understanding both basics and lasting ways in which the DTC model will increase.

 Inference to be remembered for a direct- to- consumer model

Within a few years, the DTC model has proved to be one of the keys to open the lock for a successful business. It is effortless yet affordable for anyone to adopt. From small startups to big brands, companies are discovering new skills and feeling the power of the flexibility of the model. In addition to the technology in this model, this will subsidize all; customers, businesses and inculcate barriers between the product. The only challenge is to plan a smart strategy, develop a strong retail store, build a long lasting relationship between buyer and seller and loyalty of giving authentication.

Bijin Azeez July 13, 2018