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Direct-to-Consumer Trends: Lessons from DTC Day

During the (Direct-to-Consumer) DTC Day conference, we were able to get insight into how some of the biggest DTC brands are evolving and what leaders are doing to stay successful. With the acceleration of online shopping habits and increased brand saturation on paid channels, DTC brands need to be nimble to stay competitive and achieve their growth goals. Throughout the day we realized many direct-to-consumer trends.

As always, consumers and their expectations are changing regularly, and many would argue at an even faster pace than projected. Over the past year the CP industry has seen unprecedented supply chain disruptions, political unrest, and technological changes which have served as added complexities to the way brands go to market. The DTC Day Conference speakers included leaders at Tuft and Needle, Daily Harvest, Steve Madden, Burrow, and Fandango. Each of them shared perspectives on what it takes to evolve a DTC strategy and successfully execute through business model, consumer engagement, and technology evolution. We’ve captured a few of our key takeaways below which are in line with what direct-to-consumer trends and brands across the growth spectrum should consider.

Direct-to-Consumer Trends

Be Authentic and Transparent with your CSR and Sustainability Initiatives

Consumers expect brands to contribute towards and play an active role in sustainability and corporate social responsibility efforts. Not surprisingly, this has impacted DTC brands in many areas including marketing, product development, and operations. We even see DTC brands differentiating by clearly articulating their values-driven mission and ensuring the consumer experience aligns with that mission. Take Bite for example who built their brand to prove that there is a more sustainable and innovative business model available to make toothpaste. Bite has grown exponentially since launching their product and has influenced large brands to follow suit with creating sustainable toothpaste tablets. Whether a start-up or established brand, staying true to core values and supporting causes which resonate with brand messaging are critical to resonate with consumers who seek authentic and community-oriented brands.

Continue to Monitor Key Data Metrics to Drive Decisions

As many DTC brands have learned, the test-and-learn approach is crucial to identify winning tactics through online platforms. Reporting and analytics play a key role in the learning component to identify what’s working and what needs to change. The ability to capture data about your consumers and pull meaningful insights is what makes DTC compelling for many brands but knowing which metrics to track and inform decisions can be challenging. In our next blog post we’ll dive into some key metrics that are table stakes for running a successful DTC operation. There are a few key metrics that are foundational to measure performance and begin building out advanced analytics capabilities to address specific pain points.

Move Beyond DTC

During the initial rise of DTC and specifically digitally native vertical brands (DNVB’s), trends were geared towards the focus of online-only selling to avoid bringing consumers to a store. Several successful DNVB’s have realized that there’s only so much of a connection that can be built with consumers online, and thus have been leveraging brick-and-mortar stores to supplement online channels. This offers a whole new set of challenges that DNVB’s haven’t dealt with before. These digitally native brands can learn from traditional brands selling through brick-and-mortar on how to manage the consumer experience across channels, mapping out consumer journeys, and benefitting from having even more encounters with their consumers. With the current real estate market, we expect to see more and more digital-first brands moving into storefronts to build on their communities and take advantage of test-and-learn experiences. It’ll be important to see how brands both traditional and digitally native can learn from each other to find the right balance of accessibility across channels that resonate with consumers wherever they are.

As we continue to see consumer buying habits evolve, both traditional and digitally native DTC brands will face challenges keeping up with the pace of change. Understanding today’s trends allows you to stay ahead of the curve in anticipating consumer expectations and will allow you to maintain an industry leading brand.

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Contributions by Hudson Rowland

Tags: Consumer Products Trends, Event Recap, Direct-to-Consumer