To compete in the age of the consumer, B2C brands need to delight and inspire customers at every opportunity. Increasingly, that means providing multiple buying options. According to BuildFire research, 73% of people are willing to switch brands if they aren’t getting a consistent omnichannel experience from one company. That means in addition to traditional channels, brands need to build robust direct to consumer (D2C) ecommerce channels.
This will allow you to own the customer experience, gather crucial customer data and mitigate the impact of disruptions in your other sales channels. In effect, this kind of robust D2C channel allows you to control your own destiny.
In the first episode of our Uncertainty into Opportunity series, we hosted a live virtual event titled Control Your Own Destiny: Go Direct to Consumer. The event was sponsored by Astound Commerce and Fortuitas, and speakers included:
• Andrew Leibowitz, Client Services Partner, Astound Commerce
• Jack Kurtz, CEO, Fortuitas
• Lorrie Mizuko, Director of Digital Experience, Resideo
• Rok Nicaj, Senior Sales Operations Manager, Ingram Micro
• Adam Coyle, CEO, Digital River
• Mike French, VP of Partnerships and Alliances, Digital River
These innovative leaders shared their thoughts on why having a D2C channel is so important and what it takes to build a strong direct ecommerce strategy in the current climate. Here are the top four insights the panel discussed.
You can also view an on-demand version of the live event here.
1. Maintain business continuity
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that now, more than ever, B2C brands need to have a mature omnichannel strategy, with an emphasis on a D2C channel, in order to compete in today’s market and reach new customers around the world. Simply put, it’s your best defense against retail disruption. But the trend toward direct ecommerce was already happening long before the coronavirus appeared on the scene.
A record number of shoppers now prefer to buy online – almost half prefer to click to shop instead of going to the store. And with global ecommerce sales nearing $4 trillion, B2C brands can’t afford not to have a strong direct ecommerce strategy.
2. Own the customer experience
Most people would agree that the number one reason to build and maintain a strong D2C channel is to drive sales. But there are numerous other benefits that make direct ecommerce too compelling and too valuable to ignore.
By controlling every aspect of the customer experience, from the messaging to the checkout process, you are able to create an emotional connection with customers, nurture those relationships and build customer loyalty. You can also gather important customer data for developing better sales strategies through both your D2C and traditional channels.
These insights, combined with a pricing strategy that approaches D2C ecommerce on the same playing field as other retail strategies, can eliminate the channel conflict that continues to worry many business leaders today.
3. Optimize your back-office processes
When people think about launching a D2C ecommerce channel, the first thing that often comes to mind is building an ecommerce store that provides outstanding customer experiences. They immediately start thinking about what it means to create a site with a sleek design and great UX. But to provide outstanding customer experiences, you also need to align your back-office processes to accommodate your new direct ecommerce strategy.
After all, switching from selling your products wholesale to selling on an individual basis will require a significant change in your accounting, payment processing, fulfillment, order management systems and other back-office operations. And offering preferred local payment methods, a smooth checkout process and timely delivery is just as important as UX design for keeping customers happy.
Keep in mind: It’s crucial to get buy-in from key internal stakeholders early in your strategy development to ensure your entire operation is aligned to deliver on your D2C ecommerce strategy.
4. Focus on your core competencies
When building out both your customer-facing experiences and back-office processes, you need to focus on what you do best. You may be great at creating messaging, merchandising and guiding customers through the sales process, but you may not have as much experience in things like regulatory compliance, tax remittance, and global payment processing.
Trying to do everything yourself is a surefire way to create inefficiencies, drive up costs and slow your speed to market. Instead, partner with companies that specialize in various aspects of D2C ecommerce so you can concentrate on delivering on your brand promise. Choose your solutions and operations partners carefully, keeping future global ecommerce growth in mind so you can create a D2C strategy that is profitable now and into the future.
Ready to dive deeper?
To give our panelists time to go more in-depth with their thoughts on this crucial topic, we recorded a podcast following our live event. Listen below and be sure to subscribe to our Commerce Connect podcast for future episodes.
For more insights from industry leaders, be sure to attend our next Uncertainty into Opportunity virtual event titled Know Your Audience and Uncover New Opportunities: How to Market Your Online Store on June 17.
To learn more about how Digital River can help your brand build a strong D2C ecommerce channel, connect with us today.