Digital Disruptors: D2C and Omnichannel Brands
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Customers stay at the core of any business strategy, marketing, operation, and the last-mile implications. Customer satisfaction, which leads to the development of a loyal base of customers who not only offers brands repeat businesses but spreads positive word-of-mouth, is highly paramount in today’s ever-competitive digital world. Technological advancements and the availability of numerous options have led to a paradigm shift in the customer behaviour ecosystem. The buying journey has radically evolved, and become highly complex, and opinionated. Businesses are crafting marketing, and promotion strategies to anticipate the customer needs, and cater to them efficiently without any glitches.
As we have mentioned, customer expectations have evolved, and businesses are striving to make a good first impression. Here comes the role of the D2C model of sales, which unlike the conventional manufacturer-retailer-customer model of sales seems to have quite a lucrative set of benefits. And, while we say benefits, they are both in terms of ROI, customer experience, and highly personalized engagement.
Let’s delve deeper into the D2C concept and understand how businesses can leverage this relatively new yet promising concept to offer today’s customers the much-needed omnichannel experience.
Direct To Customer – An Introduction
D2C or Direct to Customer is deemed a low barrier-to-entry eCommerce strategy that enables businesses to reach out to their existing customers directly for order fulfillment. This helps them establish a direct relationship with their customers who would otherwise have been connected with the middlemen retailers or retail brands. D2C aims at eliminating the middlemen to boost business-customer relationships, understand the demand-supply gap to stay better prepared for the future. While this is quite disheartening for traditional retailers and wholesalers that are still relying on the third-party-dependencies, most of them are gearing up for the change.
That said, D2C is not here to eliminate the middlemen in the supply chain equation; rather it aims at complementing the existing order fulfillment ecosystem and addressing the loopholes. No matter how eCommerce-savvy today’s customers are, brick-and-mortar retailer stores need to be there for facilitating the process of order fulfillment, cancellations, exchanges, and returns, and also as a way to be omnipresent for the customers. By leveraging D2C and physical store presence together, businesses can forge ahead in their journey of delivering omnichannel, consistent, and customer-centric experiences.
Succinct Benefits of D2C
And, if you are wondering, D2C is just a buzzword for now and may fade away sooner or later, you should definitely look at the key benefits it has to offer both in the short and long term.
Elimination of the Middlemen – By eliminating the various middlemen in the supply chain ecosystem, D2C enables businesses to enjoy a higher profit margin. The presence of middlemen also has an impact on the lifetime value of customers, and thus, D2C helps enhance customer loyalty and brand affinity.
Better Customer Relationship – Who can tell your story better than you? No one, right? When your products or services reach your customers through a horde of middlemen be it retailers, wholesalers, or other entities, there is a higher chance that your offerings or your identity as a brand may get perceived in a different way than you expect. D2C aims just to resolve this budding challenge. With D2C, you can directly connect with your customers, understand their feedback/suggestions/future aspirations. This will put you in a better position to cater to their needs in a robust manner. You will stay on top of the minds of your customers and this direct relationship is going to earn you a lot more brand recognition, and revenue. There is also a higher avenue for upselling and cross-selling your other offerings.
Craft Your Brand Story
You must be aware of the Ps of marketing. And, with D2C, you have the price, promotion, and placement, the 3 key Ps under your wing. With no middlemen in the background, you don’t have to dilute your pricing and profit margins; you can promote your products and services in the most authentic manner, and the same goes for placement too.
This is no jesting. With the D2C model, you can control your product movement through push or pull marketing strategies. You may leverage all the possible sales channels and marketing outlets be it your website or your social media handles or other eCommerce platforms, you can achieve the omnichannel equilibrium. Armed with a CRM or equivalent software, you will be at the receiving end of actionable customer insights, which again will enhance your revenue and brand affinity prospects.
Is D2C a Passing Fad?
Change is inevitable and a necessity to move ahead; however, almost everyone stays apprehensive of change, taking the next step into uncharted territory. The same goes for D2C. Despite its cumulative benefits for all the stakeholders involved in the supply chain, many businesses still need some convincing to proceed. Businesses might hesitate to adopt D2C as they think this will disrupt their existing relationships with their retailer entities. Some businesses might not have a readily available B2C infrastructure to cater to their customer relationships. Some businesses might perceive B2C as a passing fad and wish to continue their existing arrangements.
If you are one of them, do visit the benefits of the D2C section in this article again! And, the article also aims at lending you a helping hand further.
If you are planning to adopt D2C, here are some of the best practices to adhere to.
- Survey the current marketing landscape and check if your product portfolio is right and ready for the adoption of the D2C model
- Think of starting small and simple
- Get ready to leverage the data-driven and actionable insights
- Get a robust CRM on board
- Rethink or if needed rehash your customer service domain
Interested to learn more about D2C? Do connect with the experts at Vinculum, right away!
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