<img src="https://secure.leadforensics.com/176401.png" style="display:none;">

6 Key benefits of going direct to consumer (D2C)

4 minute read
Get our blogs in your inbox

6 Key benefits of going direct to consumer (D2C)

What is direct-to-consumer?

Direct-to-consumer (D2C) is an ecommerce strategy where manufacturers sell their products directly to consumers through online platforms, bypassing traditional intermediaries like wholesalers and retailers. This model grants companies complete control over product development, marketing, sales, and customer engagement. It enables quicker responses to market trends and direct customer feedback, leading to improved product offerings and personalized marketing. Eliminating the middleman can also result in cost savings for both the manufacturer and the consumer.

Why are companies selling more D2C?

D2C is skyward-bound

The transition to D2C sales is a strategic response to the evolving market dynamics and consumer preferences driven by digitalization and the AI revolution. As businesses adapt to these changes, the impact on the market becomes increasingly evident, setting the stage for significant growth in the D2C sector.

The global D2C market is on a rapid growth trajectory, expected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2025, showcasing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25%, according to Statista. This growth is driven by D2C brands' direct relationship with consumers, leading to increased loyalty and consumer purchases. A PwC survey showed that a significant portion of consumers, about 63% of respondents, have purchased products directly from a brand’s website.

The move to D2C is particularly impactful for established brands, which are expected to dominate D2C revenue. While digitally-native brands are predicted to earn $39 billion by 2025, established brands are set to generate $186 billion, demonstrating the substantial shift and potential in D2C for big brands. D2C ecommerce in Europe, particularly in Germany, has experienced significant growth, with the Berlin-based brands hub Stryze emerging as the region's most valuable D2C startup.

Consumers choose to shop direct

Many D2C brands are experiencing significant growth in their direct channels, often seeing double-digit increases. This surge is largely attributed to consumers deliberately choosing to patronize brands they love and trust.

Statista reports that 53% of consumers prefer shopping directly from brands due to better pricing, followed by 49% who value free delivery. Another significant factor for the D2C growth is the digital-first nature of younger consumers, particularly millennials and Gen Z, who are comfortable with online shopping and drawn to D2C brands for better shopping experiences and shared values such as sustainability.

Personalization powers D2C

Personalization plays a crucial role in the D2C model's success, with studies showing that a significant percentage of consumers would consider buying products customized to their preferences, and some are even willing to pay more for such personalized items​. Going back to the digital-first nature of consumers, a report by PYMNTS found that 43% of Gen Z consumers prefer shopping directly at a brand’s ecommerce website. Similarly, 64% of millennials prefer the same direct shopping method, valuing the direct connection and personalized experiences that D2C offers.

As brands consider incorporating D2C into their sales approach, they may encounter obstacles. Yet, the rewards of adopting a D2C model surpass these challenges.

6 key benefits of going direct to consumer (D2C)

Exploring the D2C model reveals a landscape rich with advantages for brands ready to take control of their market journey.

  1. Increased control over brand messaging and consumer engagement

    D2C gives companies complete control over their brand image, enabling direct customer interaction for a consistent brand experience. In today's competitive market, consumers often favor brands that provide clear and consistent information — and any discrepancies across various channels can lead them to competitors. The traditional manufacturer-retailer model restricts manufacturers' control over their brands, limiting their influence on initial marketing efforts like packaging. 

    Once products are in the retailers' hands, manufacturers cannot directly shape the sales experience, build consumer relationships, or collect valuable data. Despite potentially significant advertising expenditures, the retailer ultimately controls product presentation to the consumer. D2C, therefore, becomes crucial in maintaining brand consistency, allowing manufacturers to directly influence consumer perception and engagement and gather insights critical for tailoring their market approach.

  2. More opportunities to innovate

    Retailers typically adhere to established norms in their sales approach, favoring products with proven market success and hesitating to stock new, untested items. This conservative strategy can limit manufacturers to only creating products that align with retailer preferences, stifling innovation. D2C models, however, offer manufacturers the freedom to introduce new products on a smaller scale, enabling them to target specific demographics, conduct market tests, and collect valuable consumer feedback.

    This approach empowers manufacturers to understand customer preferences better, focus on producing items that show actual demand, and make iterative improvements based on direct consumer insights. D2C bypasses the conservative retail filter and accelerates the innovation cycle, allowing manufacturers to stay agile and responsive to evolving market dynamics.

  3. Direct access to customers and their data

    Dependence on wholesalers and retailers can block manufacturers from obtaining detailed customer data, limiting their capacity to respond quickly to changing consumer needs. D2C models break down these barriers, allowing brands to directly gather critical data like email addresses, geographic locations, social media interactions, and buying patterns.

    This direct data acquisition is critical to refining product ranges and exploring new market opportunities. Furthermore, D2C facilitates a stronger, more personal connection with customers, yielding rich insights crucial for tailoring products, making strategic decisions, and broadening market reach.

  4. Increased profitability

    Manufacturers can significantly increase their profit margins by bypassing intermediaries in the sales process. When relying on middlemen, manufacturers' earnings are limited to the markup from the cost price to the wholesale price. However, adopting a D2C model enables manufacturers to sell their products at retail prices, thereby capturing the markup that would traditionally go to the retailer.

    This shift enhances their profit margins and provides greater control over pricing strategies, allowing for more competitive pricing or higher returns on each sale. By selling directly, manufacturers can reinvest the additional profits into product development, marketing, and customer service, further strengthening their market position and financial health.

  5. Stronger brand loyalty

    With a D2C approach, manufacturers gain increased autonomy in delivering superior service and supporting their customers. This direct engagement enables them to leverage their relationship with consumers, fostering stronger connections and enhancing customer loyalty. With direct access to consumer data and feedback, manufacturers can design and implement targeted marketing campaigns that are more likely to resonate with their customer base.

    This strategic advantage allows for personalized experiences, improved customer satisfaction, and higher retention rates. Additionally, the D2C model allows manufacturers to quickly adapt their service offerings and support mechanisms in response to customer needs and preferences, further solidifying the direct-to-consumer relationship.

  6. Expanded market opportunities

    Selling D2C liberates manufacturers from geographical constraints, enabling them to target and penetrate global markets effectively. Leveraging D2C sales strategies opens the international stage as digital commerce transcends traditional geographical limits, allowing brands to engage with customers worldwide.

    This global reach amplifies market presence and accelerates growth by tapping into diverse consumer bases across different regions. The shift to digital commerce allows for scalable marketing efforts and distribution strategies, making it feasible for manufacturers to establish a solid global footprint and enhance their brand visibility internationally.
Ready to transition to D2C?

Begin by thoroughly understanding your customers' needs and mindset to tailor your strategy for effective implementation.

What trends are currently shaping the D2C landscape?

The trends shaping the D2C landscape reflect a dynamic shift towards more personalized, customer-centric strategies. These trends include:

    • Hyper-personalization

      D2C brands are moving towards an increasingly personalized approach, offering products and services tailored to individual consumer preferences. Amazon, for example, uses hyper-personalization to deliver timely and relevant product recommendations based on a customer’s search history, leading to a smoother shopping experience and increased purchases. Similarly, fashion brand Dynamite employs hyper-personalization to send curated email campaigns related to specific customer interests like office wear, demonstrating an understanding of their customers' real-world needs. Instacart’s strategy of cross-selling products based on previous purchases also exemplifies hyper-personalization in action, showing an understanding of customer preferences and improving the shopping experience.

    • Advanced technology integration

      "Immersive shopping experiences" are closely associated with AI, AR, and VR technologies, which are integral to personalized shopping environments. These technologies allow for predictive customer behavior analytics and realistic product previews, enhancing digital shopping. Brands like IKEA and Sephora leverage these for improved customer satisfaction and lower return rates. Integrating these advanced technologies in D2C strategies facilitates a deeper understanding of consumer needs, driving targeted marketing efforts and product development.

    • Emphasis on language and localization

      Adapting language and content to local nuances enhances authenticity and fosters trust, boosting consumer engagement. Netflix's success in global markets is attributed to its multi-language content and regional customization, proving the effectiveness of localization. In addition, localization goes beyond mere translation; it involves adapting the product, messaging, and brand experience to align with local customs, values, and consumer behaviors. This strategy improves customer satisfaction and increases the likelihood of purchase, driving revenue growth in new markets.

    • Shift towards direct and omnichannel engagement

      Integrating omnichannel strategies boosts customer satisfaction and revenue, with companies experiencing a 9.5% revenue increase annually, compared to 3.4% for those with less cohesive channel strategies. Examples like Disney and Nike, which unify customer experiences across various platforms, illustrate how effective omnichannel engagement leads to significant business growth. These strategies ensure a consistent and personalized customer journey, enhancing engagement and driving revenue in the D2C landscape.

Adopting these trends into D2C strategies can effectively shift businesses towards digital-first models, but the path to D2C integration is complex. The journey is fraught with challenges, including technological integration, operational restructuring, and managing detailed product information. These hurdles explain why some brands hesitate to answer the D2C call, despite its potential benefits.

Strategies for successful D2C implementation

A holistic approach encompassing organizational commitment, technological advancement, and customer personalization is essential for a successful D2C implementation.

  • Leadership must fully endorse the D2C strategy, set clear goals, and develop a unique value proposition tailored to specific customer segments.
  • Leveraging data analytics allows for customized marketing and product offerings, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Meanwhile, efficient supply chain and logistics management ensure prompt delivery and support a reliable brand image.
  • Embracing technological advancements and integrating solutions like Product Information Management (PIM) and platforms like ecommerce sites, social media, and mobile apps enables direct consumer engagement and transactions, underpinned by consistent branding and storytelling to establish a strong market identity.

How can a PIM system help you drive D2C revenue?

A Product Information Management (PIM) system significantly enhances D2C revenue by centralizing and managing product information efficiently.

Here's how Contentserv's PIM solution can drive D2C success:

Centralized product data management
Inconsistent and inaccurate product information quickly turns away potential customers, often resulting from disparate data sources, poor-quality data, and multiple isolated data storage. By implementing a PIM system, you can easily centralize your product data, ensuring efficient management from product onboarding and validation to multichannel distribution. This centralization is essential for preserving brand integrity and building consumer trust.

Key PIM features that support the centralization of product data:

Enhanced product experience
High-quality content like images and videos empowers customers to make well-informed choices, leading to fewer returns and heightened satisfaction. By customizing product details to align with specific customer interests and demographics, you can enhance product relevance and drive up conversion rates. Properly organized product data facilitates effective cross-selling and upselling strategies, boosting the average order value. Ultimately, an enriched product experience cultivates customer trust and loyalty, contributing to sustained revenue growth for D2C enterprises.

Key PIM features that support enhanced product experiences:

  • Digital asset management: A built-in feature for organizing and accessing digital content like images and videos.
  • Data modeling and classification: Tools for categorizing and structuring product information effectively.
  • Channel insights: Analytics capabilities to understand performance across different sales channels.
  • Product relationships: Functions to link related products for cross-selling and upselling.
  • eCommerce integration: Seamless connection with online sales platforms to ensure consistent product representation.

Personalization and localization
Personalization and localization, while distinct, both serve to meet the unique needs and preferences of different market segments. Personalization enhances the relevance and appeal of products and services, potentially increasing conversion rates and fostering customer loyalty. In contrast, localization adjusts product information to fit regional languages and cultural preferences, improving customer engagement and streamlining purchase processes. When combined, these strategies enable D2C brands to deliver more engaging and satisfying shopping experiences, potentially boosting repeat business and expanding both customer base and global reach.

Key PIM features that support personalization and localization:

  • Multichannel publishing: Allows for consistent product information dissemination across various platforms.
  • Shopping feed integration: Facilitates the connection of product data with online marketplaces and shopping feeds.
  • On-demand product catalog sharing: Enables real-time, tailored product catalog access to different market segments.
  • Streamlined localization and translation: Simplifies the adaptation of product content to different languages and regional specifications, enhancing market penetration and customer satisfaction.
  • Recommendation engine: Advanced algorithms to predict and recommend products based on consumer behavior and preferences.

Brands embracing D2C can significantly benefit from PIM, accessing not only core features but also enhanced integration capabilities. PIM facilitates broader sales channel integration, improved content contextualization, and greater operational flexibility — essential elements for scaling D2C operations. Contentserv's headless PIM integration allows brands to tailor their D2C ecosystems precisely, ensuring seamless coordination across various platforms and touchpoints for an optimized D2C strategy.

Direct-to-customer: Greater control, profitability, and enhanced customer relationships

As the digital economy continues to evolve, the D2C model represents a powerful strategy for brands looking to thrive in a competitive market by fostering loyalty and directly addressing customer needs. With D2C, brands can gain greater control over their operations, leading to higher profitability and the opportunity to build a stronger, more meaningful relationship with customers. By cutting out traditional retail intermediaries, companies can directly influence their brand perception, tailor their marketing strategies to specific consumer segments, and quickly adapt to changing market dynamics. This direct engagement not only enhances the customer experience but also provides valuable insights that can drive product innovation and strategic growth.

The Forrester Wave: Product Information Management, Q4 2023 Report

Find out how Contentserv, a Strong Performer in PIM solutions, can help drive D2C success.