At BrandPath we believe in the power of selling direct to the consumer. We have built the world’s finest end-to-end retail solution, allowing brands to connect with their consumers in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. For too long, brands have been sucked in by the myth that there is no alternative but to sell through retailers. Instead, there is huge power in a vertical retail model, putting control back in the hands of brands.
So what are the benefits of direct-to-consumer?
1. RETAILERS CAN BE FICKLE
Retailers are not generally loyal to brands. Instead, they want to know what their margins are, how much marketing support is required to move your products, and what the competition is from products in the same field. That competition has never been fiercer, either in ‘real world’ shops or online. This presents clear challenges for brands.
2. MAINTAINING RETAIL RELATIONSHIPS IS RESOURCE-INTENSIVE
If you are selling through third party retailers, your success is contingent on their buy-in. You need to maintain those potentially fickle relationships, and this is a resource-intensive task. Large brands have huge teams dedicated to getting the right placement for their products. With a direct-to-consumer model you can redeploy this talent.
3. VERTICAL RETAIL BOOSTS BRANDS
Brands are beholden to retailers not only at the point of sale, but also in terms of brand story. If you are selling through retailers, you are not in complete control of your messaging or the customer service aspect of the buying experience. By taking the process ‘in-house’ you get back your grasp on these key elements of your brand.
4. SELLING DIRECT DRIVES DATA
If you’re selling through retailers, you are giving away a vast wealth of data that can be used to build your brand. This data gives you vital clues about your customers’ buying patterns and demographics that you would otherwise have to conduct costly market research exercises to secure. By selling direct, you can use this data to improve your offering – an activity that has clear benefits for the bottom line.
BUILDING A DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER STRATEGY
So now we’ve seen the benefits of selling direct to the consumer. But how can businesses build a strategy that makes this a reality?
1. GET BUSINESS-WIDE BUY-IN
It’s vital that you have business-wide acceptance of your new strategy if it is to be implemented successfully. Make sure that you efficiently communicate the value of direct-to-consumer across your management teams, highlighting both the revenue and the brand benefits.
2. THINK ABOUT WHY YOU’RE DOING IT
You need to consider what you want to get out of selling direct to consumers. It’s not enough to say that you are doing it simply because your competitors are. By defining your goals from the beginning, you can help to ensure that you maximise the benefits of your new direct-to-consumer approach.
3. MANAGE THE TRANSITION WITH RETAILERS
Selling direct to consumers isn’t something that you can just switch on or off. The process of moving from a retail to a direct strategy is a gradual one, and it needs to be managed properly. Make sure that you explain the process to your retailers, and that you maintain your relationships wherever possible. Many of the most successful brands combine a retail strategy with direct-to-consumer. In order to achieve this, you need to keep retailers on side.
4. BUILD A PRESENCE THAT FOCUSES ON THE WHOLE FUNNEL
Many direct-to-consumer strategies fail because the brand is concerned only with the final stage of the buying process. In order to succeed, you need to build a presence that focuses on the whole funnel, from the very first stage of acquisition through to delivery. By using data to fine-tune your customer journey you can follow a strategy of constant improvement, boosting sentiment and ultimately revenue.