How To Perfect The Direct To Consumer Experience For Your Customers

Allison Champion
6 min read June 3, 2022 Modified: June 22, 2022

Set-it-and-forget-it strategies aren’t going to generate a great direct to consumer experience, for a brand or its customers. Successful DTC brand growth means constantly assessing what’s working and what’s not, using customer response and reaction as a guide point.  

DTC business models allow brands  to maintain full control over their brand experience from beginning to end. Those that take the time to leverage customer feedback to meet increasing demand will drive more sales and solidify their place as a winning brand in the DTC market. 

What does DTC mean to consumers?

With DTC brands, consumers can go straight to the source when researching products and making purchases. It allows them to establish direct relationships with brands and feel a greater sense of personalization to create the ultimate shopping experience. 

Why is it so important to ensure DTC brands are meeting consumers where they are in the buying journey?

Today’s consumer doesn’t always follow a linear buying path. DTC brands must sell where their customer is shopping with omnichannel availability. By uniting the customer experience across all storefronts and marketplaces, brands can ensure customers are satisfied and their delivery experiences are consistent, no matter where customers decide to “add to cart.”

DTC brands that provide an excellent customer experience

Not all brands excel when it comes to delivering a successful direct to consumer experience. However, those that do become deeply embedded in the ecommerce landscape and ever-evolving direct to the consumer retail trends even as their businesses may change. 

Chubbies

Chubbies is an apparel brand with a cult-like following due to its clever brand personality and direct connection with its target audience. They keep their product line simple by focusing on comfortable and colorful shorts. Where they really focus their efforts is by building strong brand identity. 

By keeping the shopping experience straightforward, it gives the brand more time to connect with the community, a DTC strategy that has resulted in a 50% year-over-year sales growth since its initial launch. By cultivating a strong relationship with consumers, the brand has been able to  build customer loyalty and harness interest from new potential customers. Utilizing their “Chubster Nation” email list, social media, and creative brand packaging, Chubbies delights all aspects of the customer journey. With this approach, Chubbies is ultimately selling a lifestyle first and shorts second. 

The Honest Company 

What began as an eco-friendly diaper company has evolved into a “natural baby and beauty company” that switched gears to offer an omnichannel solution to meet customer expectations and demand. The Honest Company offers diaper subscriptions, provides customers a retail locator to see which stores carry Honest products, and a simple return policy with free and easy shipping.  

Furthermore, the brand has always been rooted in sustainability and is transparent in its eco-conscious product quality, recycling efforts, and social responsibility. These values align with many of today’s shoppers and help achieve high customer retention and long-term brand loyalty. 

Nike

Shopping for Nike shoes has traditionally been a physical retail store experience whether it be at a Nike store or a traditional retailer. However, as the established brand has evolved, so has the technology to accommodate the rise in online shoppers and maintain customer satisfaction. With their augmented reality technology, customers can find the specific fit and style they want, all with a few clicks on their smartphone.

Nike continues to diversify its strategies to meet customers where they are. As a result, they’ve experienced greater ecommerce sales than deals made with retail partners. After previously selling online through the retailer Amazon, the brand decided to implement its own DTC strategy, powered by impactful partnerships, which has led to nearly $9 billion in sales.2

What are ways to create a meaningful experience for a customer shopping DTC? 

DTC strategies are dependent on customer satisfaction. Focusing on optimizing the direct-to-consumer experience through meaningful connection protects the ecommerce investment and improves the customer lifetime value.

Implement omnichannel purchasing options 

Customers want convenience and the same excellent customer service whether they’re shopping your brand on your DTC storefront, on a third-party marketplace, or in a retail store. Therefore, brands must integrate their shopping carts and marketplaces to maintain accurate inventory and prevent stockouts and surpluses. Full integration also allows ecommerce companies to provide a seamless checkout experience and fast, convenient delivery options for all customers. 

Establish expectations upfront

Before a customer confirms their purchase, they should already know their shipping costs, shipping timeline, and information about order cancelation and returns. It puts the power in their hands to make the buying decision without any unwelcome surprises to follow. Transparency helps maintain a satisfactory customer experience even after the purchase has been made.

Communicate clearly from start to finish

From the time a customer confirms payment to the time their purchase is delivered to their front door, constant communication is essential. Automated emails and alerts that tell them when their order has been placed, when shipping has been scheduled, and expected delivery times keep customers conveniently informed. 

Offer fast shipping

Fast shipping is a priority for ecommerce customers. They expect it as the standard rather than a nice-to-have perk. Globally, consumers would pay up to 5% on average for premium delivery.3 Ensuring you have the right retail fulfillment strategy can support demand and allow customers to depend on you for on-time delivery. With Flowspace’s Network Optimization technology, the algorithm identifies the optimal fulfillment centers to enable fast, affordable shipping customers want and expect. 

Create a policy for easy returns 

A significant part of the customer experience is initiating a simplified return policy. Customers want a no-cost, hassle-free experience, which brands can deliver through pre-paid shipping labels and/or packaging or in-store drop-offs, where available. 

Meanwhile, brands should also review data insights to identify any product return trends. Creating a more meaningful customer experience is not only about making the return process easy. It also involves improving the post-purchase experience to prevent returns from happening at all.

Provide tracking and optimize last-mile delivery

Centralize your order system to choose the order fulfillment center closest to your customer base for speedy, convenient delivery and lower transportation costs. Also, automate communication by providing customers order tracking information that helps to manage delivery expectations. 

Make It Count for the Customer 

A DTC strategy is valuable because it gives ecommerce brands full rein over customer data to help drive a satisfactory shopping experience. Flowspace is a technology-driven solution that makes this happen by allowing brands to centralize their online sales channels. Through this integration, they can maintain real-time visibility over inventory and customer insights to make pivotal decisions on-demand.

Perfecting the direct-to-consumer experience involves staying flexible enough to meet changing demands. Flowspace can be tailored to what a company needs to ensure they’re delivering what their customers are asking. 

To learn more about how a fulfillment company like Flowspace can help you improve the DTC experience and support growth, get in touch today.

Talk to a Fulfillment Consultant

 

 

Author Bio

Allison Champion leads marketing communication at Flowspace, where she works to develop content that addresses the unique challenges facing modern brands in omnichannel ecommerce. She has more than a decade of experience in content development and marketing.

Sources:

  1. Shopify. Chubbies. https://www.shopify.com/plus/customers/chubbies
  2. McKinsey. Should CPG manufacturers go direct to consumer – and, if so, how? https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/consumer-packaged-goods/our-insights/should-cpg-manufacturers-go-direct-to-consumer-and-if-so-how
  3. Statista. Average percentage of order value shoppers were willing to pay for fast delivery worldwide in 2021, by generation. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1284861/willingness-to-pay-for-fast-delivery-worldwide-generation/