Ecommerce brands are everywhere.. Yes, everywhere!
On social media ‘explore’ pages, in commercials, between Instagram Stories and TikTok videos, during YouTube binge sessions, and more… If you’re been online this week, it’s very likely that you’ve come across content from several ecommerce brands.
Online brands are quickly becoming the largest players in the ecommerce space. Why? The direct-to-consumer ecommerce model is much more customer-centric than other channels.
Think about it – the customer is in mind from the very start of the branding process. From color to content to website design, the customer journey and overall experience is taken into account.
Not only is this a way for brands to up their chances at gaining loyal ambassadors, it’s the one-on-one connection and attention that consumers are looking for… that they might not be getting from in-store shopping or retailers.
In fact, 55% of shoppers prefer to shop directly with brand manufacturers over retailers. That’s a ton of potential customers looking for a brand to connect with!
So, how can you join the action? First, you’ll need to understand the business.
What is the direct-to-consumer business model?
Direct-to-consumer fulfillment is an ecommerce business model where a merchant sells directly to the consumer through digital channels. Meaning, there’s no intermediaries like retailers – it’s simply the brand and the consumer.
Because of the lack of intermediaries or middlemen in this model, D2C brands are responsible for managing everything related to logistics and the supply chain. They also have to manage their own inventory, fulfill and ship their own orders, and deal with everything in between.
Many D2C brands start out doing everything in-house, whether it be from their garage or their living room – and once they grow, they’ll outsource to a 3PL (third-party logistics company) who fulfill and ship orders on their behalf.
Now, let’s bring ecommerce into the mix.
What does it mean to be a direct-to-consumer ecommerce brand?
Though it’s a mouthful, direct-to-consumer (D2C) ecommerce is simple. It means that a brand is selling products directly to an end consumer through their online store.
In 2022, this business model is more popular than ever before.
With the surge of online shopping over the past few years, the D2C ecommerce market has grown immensely and is expected to reach a revenue of over $150 billion this year.
Why? Better pricing, easy returns, and self-service – all without having to leave the house! The direct-to-consumer fulfillment model offers the ultimate customer experience – when it’s done right.
Consumers are interacting and building relationships with their favorite brands, without the hassle of making their way to a physical storefront.
So, how can you start a D2C ecommerce brand? It’s easier than you may think!
With technology platforms like Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, and more, practically anyone can set up an online store. But, in addition to setting up shop, there’s more to creating an online brand than meets the eye…
4 steps to building an online brand:
1) Find your niche
Identify your product. Without a vision for your product, your brand has no foundation. Your niche will pave the path of discovering your brand voice, building your marketing strategy, and creating your visuals.
But how does one find the perfect products to sell? It isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Although proper research and passion can help drive your niche, sometimes it just clicks.
Dave Chernow, co-founder of Brunt Workwear, was at a bachelor party when he had the first spark of an online brand idea. How did it happen? He saw a need for a product, and an audience who was willing to listen. He stumbled upon a niche, and he ran with it.
2) Know your customer
Define your target audience. Who is interested in your niche? Once you have your product, it’ll be easier to pinpoint your audience. Defining your audience’s wants and interests will help you build your brand mission and voice – it should be something that engages your customers!
Do your research. Choosing an audience is only the first step. It’s important to dive into the details to make sure you’re connecting with the right potential customers in your content and marketing efforts. What is the demographic? The age range? Data will help you refine your voice to make sure you’re engaging in all the right ways.
3) Get creative
Develop captivating, creative assets. We live in a very visual world! With so much content coming at us at all times, it can be overwhelming.
As an online brand, you’ll want to differentiate yourself in such a saturated market. This means you’ll need to develop a brand logo and color scheme that will resonate with your target audience on your website, advertisements, and social platforms.
Urban Outfitters has a younger audience and lower price point than a brand like Aritzia. This means that each apparel brand will have a very different color scheme and design approach to target their audience.
Start building your social platforms. Social media is an incredible way to connect with consumers. Not only is it an outlet for your branding, it’s a way to get your customers chatting with each other, and ultimately to market your product themselves!
With 79% of shoppers stating that social user-generated content has a big impact on their purchases, social media is one of the most valuable assets for an ecommerce brand.
4) Build relationships with your customers.
Develop a customer journey. When a lead visits your website, what do you want them to see? Do they receive an email with personalized recommendations? Or a chatbot that helps them find what they’re looking for? When they purchase a product, what does the confirmation email look like? If they abandon their cart, how do you engage them again?
All of these questions are important when thinking about your ideal customer journey. While some customers will dive in right away and purchase a product, many customers will need some nurturing first. They’ll need to learn more about your brand, and they’ll have to find some sort of connection before they commit.
In 2022, it’s safe to say that ecommerce brands are here to stay.
However, this isn’t just due to convenience. D2C ecommerce offers consumers a level of engagement and personalized experience that we haven’t seen before in the online space.
Ecommerce brands have the unique ability to be completely hands-on, determining exactly what their potential customers are seeing and experiencing along their consumer journey.
Whether it be compelling social content media or recommended products via email, your brand voice can be built from scratch, and consistently refreshed to keep your loyal customers coming back again and again.