7 tips for building a successful D2C brand in 2023
Direct to consumer, or D2C, sales is a market that’s been growing in importance in the last few years. You could think of it as a simpler form of ecommerce, where companies design, produce, market, and sell their products or services directly to the consumer or end user, without any intermediaries.
The D2C market is already worth $128 billion in the US alone, and it’s forecast to reach almost $213 billion by 2024. Other markets are predicting even faster growth, such as India where D2C is forecast to grow at a CAGR of around 40% from $12 billion in 2022 to $60 billion by 2026. It’s an increasingly popular way for ecommerce companies to diversify their sales channels for greater resilience. Indeed, as seen in our 2022 UK eCommerce report, 46% of UK ecommerce SMBs consider D2C sales to be the biggest opportunity for their business in the next 12 months.
However, building a successful D2C company involves careful work. D2C brands own their relationship with their audience and don’t rely on middlemen, so they have to invest strategically into building their brand recognition and nurturing connections with existing and potential customers.
To help you make the most of this trend, we’ve gathered 7 tips for building your D2C brand, to help you succeed in boosting profits in 2023.
1. Define your brand identity
Because D2C brands are all about the customer relationship, they need a compelling, memorable brand identity that captures public attention and sparks interest. People choose to buy from D2C companies because they connect with the brand and feel that it matches and expresses their own identity.
Think about the values and concepts that represent your brand. Take a story-telling approach and develop an appealing narrative that communicates your brand’s origins, character, and personality.
2. Develop a social media strategy
Social commerce is enormously important for D2C branding. Social media is the way that people discover and interact with brands, with channels like TikTok and Instagram serving as hubs for brand recommendations and product searches.
Different channels have different audiences, so research which channel(s) your target audience prefers and understand the tone and flavor of successful content. Once you’ve chosen the channels to focus on, plan a long-term social marketing strategy for attracting interest and growing relationships. Free tools like Buffer and Hootsuite help you track trending topics, spot and respond to mentions, and create and schedule content.
3. Double down on authenticity
A successful D2C brand is all about the relationship, and relationships are built on trust, honesty, and openness. Younger consumers in particular have little patience for anything that feels fake or superficial. They are looking for brands with an authentic voice which share real incidents and emotions.
Feel free to air content that shows unscripted reactions, glimpses behind the scenes, and true confessions. Involve your employees as genuine, trustworthy brand ambassadors who share their own opinions and experiences while staying true to your brand values.
4. Nurture your brand relationships
Part of building a D2C brand involves focusing hard on customer nurturing. Follow up whenever someone mentions you on social media or leaves a review, even if it’s just to say “thanks.” Encourage your customers to share user-generated content (UGC) on social media, like a photo of them rocking their embellished jeans.
Gather your customers’ email addresses and/or phone numbers, and use marketing automation to send hyper-personalized communications like special offers, advance notice about your new product that you think they’ll love, and exclusive access to hot items. Make sure that your recommendations are truly customized to their interests and tastes, not just randomly surfaced or based on whatever you need to shift this month.
5. Choose the right influencers
Influencers can play a massive role in building a successful D2C brand, but select them carefully. If you work with influencers who aren’t a good match for your brand values or identity, you’ll destroy your credibility with your audience and risk accusations of selling out for publicity.
It’s often best to connect with micro and nano influencers, who have a smaller but far more loyal following. They are seen as trusted voices who share products that they truly love and use, not a mouthpiece for sale to the highest bidder.
6. Select fulfillment partners carefully
Getting products to the end user on time and in perfect condition is critical for success as a D2C brand. It’s often best to work with logistics partners who are experienced in D2C shipments and deliveries, because they are already familiar with timelines and expectations in the sector.
Look for partners who provide full visibility into the progress of every order, ideally through shared platforms and GPS tracking. Make sure that they communicate clearly and frequently, are pleasant to work with, and also that they meet your budget requirements.
7. Go above and beyond with customer service
Last but not least, outstanding customer service is a must. This includes responding quickly to customer queries, connecting with consumers on the channels that they prefer such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, and delivering full visibility into the status of every order.
It’s a good idea to invest in a chatbot, which can deal with FAQs and give an instant response to every inquiry. Customers are also looking for services like free returns, fast shipping, and transparency into brand mistakes. If something goes wrong, be quick to acknowledge it and find ways to resolve it.
D2C brand success is within your reach
D2C sales may be the future for ecommerce, so it’s a great time to build a D2C brand. By investing heavily in customer relationships through social media, a clear brand voice, and authentic, personalized communications, and working with the right influencers and other partners, you can create an impactful D2C brand that helps your ecommerce business thrive.
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