With eCommerce developing into an increasingly vital purchasing channel, D2C (Direct-to-Consumer) as a business model is quickly becoming the go-to business model for manufacturers that want to build direct relationships with their end customers and boost revenue streams. So, how can you get in on that action? Here, we explain what you stand to gain by adopting a D2C strategy and what you need to do to get started.
What is D2C and how you can benefit
D2C is a selling strategy in which B2B manufacturers retain control over the entire supply chain — from producing, marketing and selling — directly to their consumers. Today, more and more traditional B2Bs are exploring the D2C model as an alternative to working with, and having to rely on, a “middleman,” i.e. a distributor or wholesaler. By setting up a D2C channel, they are able to market and sell directly to their end customers; not only does this lower their overhead costs, but it also gives them increased control over their brand and more access to customer data.
By going D2C, you can take advantage of the many benefits that follow:
Obtain customer data: Creating direct customer interactions gives you access to more data, helping you improve products and messaging, leading to more customer engagement and loyalty and, often, boosted sales.
Boost innovation: Leverage your increased access to customers to test new products, drive new product development and enhance your ability to meet your customers’ needs.
Improve pricing flexibility: Without go-betweens, you can determine pricing and control promotions more directly than you can through indirect channels.
Increase product discovery: You’ll gain the opportunity to spotlight and sell related products from your own line; retailers won’t always up-sell from the same brand.
Go global: No longer do you need to find and secure a partner to expand your international footprint; you can strategically select and enter new markets based on potential. You can also easily enable cross-border selling to get your products in front of the right customer segment in the right market.
Why commercetools is the perfect fit for D2C
commercetools provides one eCommerce solution that’s compatible with all business models, so you can easily change or extend your B2B, B2C, B2B2C or D2C business models. This is important: Many other commerce solution vendors struggle to provide one system that fits all business models and commercetools is one of the very few providers that fits all use cases.
Furthermore, the entire commercetools product portfolio is built on MACH™ (Microservices-based, API-first, Cloud-native and Headless) principles, enabling D2C businesses to future-proof their customer experiences and seamlessly scale as they grow — no matter the size of the business or level of buying complexity. And having a MACH-based eCommerce solution provides you with a composable commerce foundation which gives you freedom to choose whatever solutions best suit your business and customer experiences instead of being restricted to those compatible with your existing platform.
Composable commerce also allows you to expand, contract and/or replace components without dependencies or vendor lock-in. Frequently compared to LEGO bricks that can be put together in infinite combinations, composable commerce gives you unlimited agility so you can tailor customer experiences, differentiate your business and retain a competitive advantage in today’s constantly evolving commerce environment.
How to start a successful D2C eCommerce store
In a nutshell, there are seven steps for starting a successful D2C online shop. They are as follows:
For a step-by-step guide on how to launch your D2C eCommerce channel, download our white paper How to build a successful D2C eCommerce business.
Customers that have gone D2C with commercetools
There is no shortage of businesses that have embraced D2C — here we look at two brands that used commercetools Composable Commerce specifically as the core of their eCommerce backend. Emma — The Sleep Company started off in 2015 as a manufacturer that decided to ditch the middleman right from the start and establish direct relationships with customers.
After enjoying a steeply upward growth trajectory and needing to expand into several more markets, the team at Emma decided to replatform from their in-house eCommerce platform and move to a solution that could scale with the company: commercetools.
With commercetools as the commerce backend, Emma can boost business growth with their mattresses worldwide. The new architecture can now support both D2C and B2B online business models and expand to new countries, so customers around the world can enjoy a restful snooze with Emma’s products.
commercetools is the first eCommerce platform that was designed to be headless and cloud-native from the start and that has excellent developer tooling at its disposal. We are pleased to have found the perfect partner for Emma's eCommerce platform of the future.
In contrast to Emma, Danone, a global food and beverage company began its brand life as a B2C enterprise and needed a digital commerce solution that could enable it to embrace B2C, B2B and D2C simultaneously and as friction-free as possible. In the wake of the 2013 baby formula shortage in Europe and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, Danone decided to adopt D2C strategies to enable consumers to purchase products directly from Danone’s online store.
commercetools provides a modular, cloud-native commerce solution, enabling Danone to manage consumer goods shortages and adapt to sudden supply chain changes and local consumer demand. Thus, the company was able to launch its D2C online shop across multiple markets in weeks.
As a next step, the company has expanded its D2C strategy into local markets. In the United Kingdom, Danone’s healthcare division has deployed commerce functions, enabling B2B customers to order medical samples directly from its website, instead of paper-based forms. These single, yet connected deployments show how far Danone has come with commercetools, and the company continues to explore new routes to connect consumers directly, manage shortages, streamline sales processes and more.
If you’re interested in joining the ranks of Emma and Danone, head over to our 60-day free trial so you can experience what it’s like to go D2C first-hand. And if you need more in-depth advice about setting up a D2C channel, download our white paper that delivers a detailed roadmap on how.