The D2C Shift: What You Need for a Customer-Centric Approach

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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

We might live in the time of Amazon, but direct-to-consumer (D2C) businesses are on the rise. These are brands that independently manufacture, promote, sell, and ship their own products cutting out the need for intermediaries such as larger retailers.

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The D2C Shift: What You Need for a Customer-Centric Approach

D2C brands started appearing a few years back, seeing a staggering annual growth rate of 200% over the five years between 2014 and 2019.

This was largely in response to the gaps in customer experience that had been left behind by traditional retailers. The result of this is that these newer, smaller brands were more agile and, therefore, able to snap up market space in the digital age.

D2C brands are disruptors that thrive in the new world, and some have even grown from small independent ideas to million-dollar companies; Allbirds, Outdoor Voices, and Glossier, to name just a few.

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How do these brands prioritise customer-centricity?

Todays’ consumers are calling for more personalised and authentic experiences, and brands that aren’t willing to step up and embrace customer-centricity are going to be left behind.

With more than 60% of Generation Z customers admitting they’re attracted to brands that they perceive to be smaller, more fun, transparent, and approachable, it’s clear that attitudes are continuing to change.

Many D2C brands don’t have a long-standing brand name or reputation, but this actually works in their favor. This is because most D2C brands will go right to the source to provide products and experiences, and this also means they can gather feedback and insights straight from the source too.

By focusing on the desires and demands of customers, for example more sustainable solutions, and by ensuring a continuous loop of feedback with customers, D2C brands can find out exactly what customers want and put them at the center of every decision.

A great example of this is shoe brand Allbirds that made over 35 changes to their original design based almost entirely on the feedback, concerns, and experiences of their customers.

Another key benefit of going direct to the consumer is that you eliminate the barrier between the producer and the customer. This gives your brand more control over its reputation, marketing, and sales techniques. This also increases the opportunity to implement a full omnichannel experience and engage with consumers not just regularly, but on their preferred platforms.

What do you need for a customer-centric approach?

It’s clear from everything we’ve looked at so far that agility is crucial for D2C brands as it allows them to be more customer-centric. However, if you’re concerned your brand isn’t living up to expectations or is falling behind the competition, here are the different tools and techniques you can use to implement a customer-centric approach in your D2C business.

1. Customers at the core of everything you do

Put simply, customer-centricity means putting your customers at the core of everything your business does, from marketing efforts and sales techniques to decision making and innovation. And this should be central to the nature of most D2C brands anyway, but just in case you’re placing profit over people, it’s time to make a change.

Remember, your products are not your money makers; your customers are because they can choose whether to spend with your brand or not - they have the power. So be sure to put them at the forefront of every new process you put in place or every decision you make; this is the key to true customer-centricity.

2. A strong understanding of your customer’s pain points

In order to offer the best possible products or services, it’s important that you understand your customer’s pain points. This way, you can provide solutions, content, and support that adds genuine value to their lives.

Some examples of these pain-points could be:

  • Finding sustainable goods at affordable prices
  • Getting good quality clothes delivered straight to their door without having to spend hours in the shops or browsing online
  • Becoming overwhelmed by too much product choice out there

And these are just a few examples, but by better understanding what your target consumers are struggling with and how your brand can make their life better, you’re more likely to win loyal customers.

3. A content-first approach

From adverts and email campaigns to blog posts and how-to videos, the possibilities to create great content for your customers are seemingly endless. And with people spending up to a whopping 6 hours and 59 minutes a day consuming media, content is a proven way to grow your reputation and to add value to your customers.

However, you need to make sure that your content is genuinely helpful, engaging, and valuable. Otherwise, it can just become irrelevant and irritating to those receiving it. By finding out what types of content your audience prefers to engage with, you can target them more effectively.

As such, leading your marketing, sales, and support teams with a content-first strategy is another great way to put your customer’s needs at the center of the business.

4. The ability to be ultra-responsive

And finally, we live in an on-demand culture, and one of the things that today’s consumers want the most is quick and helpful responses to their questions, problems, or queries. They also want to be able to connect with brands across multiple platforms as part of the omnichannel experience.

Because of this, creating a culture of ultra-responsivity is crucial. This means ensuring that your sales, social media, PR, and customer support teams are able to offer prompt replies to customers across various channels, including phone, email, and the web.

This is not only an important way to embrace customer-centricity, but it can lead to loyal customers and those who are willing to recommend your business to other consumers. 

If you’d like to know more about how you can build a 360° view of your customers in your business, you can check out our comprehensive guide here.

Further reading

Sitecore

Sitecore is a global leader in digital experience management software that combines content management, commerce, and customer insights. The Sitecore Experience Cloud™ empowers marketers to deliver personalized content in real time and at scale across every channel—before, during, and after a sale. More than 5,200 brands—including American Express, Carnival Cruise Lines, Kimberly-Clark, and L’Oréal—have trusted Sitecore to deliver the personalized interactions that delight audiences, build loyalty, and drive revenue. 

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