Since the pandemic, we have seen rapid growth in the Direct to Consumer (D2C) market, with many businesses changing their business models due to consumer behaviour changes, disruption to their industry due to economic changes etc.
Businesses are seeing huge growth in ROI since introducing their direct to consumer strategy, and many are now starting out with a solely D2C strategy. The idea of selling directly to consumers, and skipping out the third party can save brands money, they have complete control over their brand, and they can have direct access to consumer data to help benefit the brand.
The latest roundtable held by GS1 UK and the Great British Entrepreneur Awards hosted a group of founders and experts from different industries, to discuss their experiences with D2C, and how you too can build your D2C strategy, to help skyrocket your business.
Discussing how D2C has advanced over the last few years, and why it is so beneficial, Natalie Baker, founder of Fable Yoga said, “I think D2C should be the priority because it’s where you have the most control. When working with retailers and department stores you don’t have that level of control. Margin also benefits as it’s hard to grow a really profitable business through wholesale”
Sarah Welsh, Co-Founder of Hanx, agreed, explaining how Hanx has always looked to do more D2C work due to the benefits brands see on margin and control. However she also stressed the importance that there still is on being on shelves, “It’s a customer acquisition channel, but also awareness is huge. For us, it’s vital because we’re a medical device, and people may not know us. They need to trust us and being on shelves next to the big dogs, helps make us seem more legit”
Expanding on that point, the group went on to discuss how you can drive consumers back to your website when selling through retail stores or online marketplaces. Marina Wegorek, founder of ProYouth Nutrition, explained how when selling her products on Amazon she ensured that her packaging was designed to direct people to her website, where they would hopefully purchase in the future. “We encourage reviews, explaining how as a small business it means a lot to us, we also encourage feedback and provide our website for people to know where to visit”
Antoine Melon, Co-Founder of HOMETAINMENT, discussed how as a brand offering services rather than products, he found that D2C strategies initially helped build his business, “for a consumer-centric organisation like HOMETAINMENT, D2C is like a shop window, it is our consumer-facing product which allows us to receive reviews and continuously improve our offering in line with consumer expectations. It is then possible to leverage this brand to approach B2B partners and firm up agreements which now allow us to reach a wider target audience.” A brand building ecosystem including Digital Marketing, PR and SEO capabilities is a key element in creating a successful brand reaching your target audience, through the channels your consumers are most receptive to, such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok etc.
Marketing is a key element in creating a successful brand, as it’s the most effective way of introducing the world to your brand, and an easy way to reach your target audience, through the channels they are most receptive to, such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok etc. Tracey Munro, founder of Skinniv, explained how she has used social media marketing to target her audience. “They say people look at your product 5 times before they actually purchase, so we find retargeting most effective when it comes to marketing”. She added that marketing won’t see ROI overnight, “From about month three it (online advertising) started working really well, where we started seeing ROI. I did a lot of split testing in months one and two to see what was working best”
Going on to discuss how social media marketing to build your D2C strategy, Natalie Quail, founder of Smile Time, explained how TikTok can help boost your brand profile. “TikTok is very much a place for brand discovery, in terms of not just organic, but also TikTok paid ads. TikTok now has shoppable ads, so they’re really trying to improve their retargeting.”
To conclude, the conversation found that ultimately, like most things, there are pros and cons to D2C, but mostly all pros!
Using D2C strategies allows businesses to take full control of the representation of their brand, from marketing, packaging and all of the in-betweens. The advancements in social media and how you can target your audience are vast, allowing brands to expand reach in a way that they may no longer need to use wholesale methods – however, being seen on shop shelves is still very much helpful.
Sarah Atkins, CMO and Director of Membership at GS1 UK said, “The session was a great opportunity for inspirational brands to learn from each other. At a time when businesses are seeing a slowing down of their sales post COVID and the playbook for core marketing channels has been rewritten, practical advice on how to build your brand through D2C strategy, from a community of like-minded founders is invaluable.”
GS1 UK are currently offering members of our community members 20% off of your first year of membership. Use code GBEA20 at checkout and find out more here.