The future of eCommerce is D2C (Direct-to-Customer). As time goes by and more people open eCommerce stores, store owners will have to do all they can to ensure that the customers they’re able to bring to their stores are satisfied.
Direct-to-Customer (D2C) is the practice whereby companies produce and market their products or services directly to their customers, thus eliminating the need for middlemen. This will give customers a better shopping experience and make the products cheaper.
Thanks to digital marketing, business owners have the means to reach their target audience using social media, paid ads, blogs, videos, podcasts, and other digital marketing methods. It is cost-effective and creates a lasting relationship between producers and consumers. Studies show that 55% of consumers prefer to buy from brands rather than multi-brand retailers.
Some brands are being very creative in acquiring customers and getting people interested in their brand, which is putting them miles ahead of their competition. These innovations are giving eCommerce a new look and expanding the possibilities for other brands.
So, here are three brands that are changing how we see D2C eCommerce forever.
When you talk about innovation, Warby Parker is one brand that stands out. Co-founder of Warby Parker, Dave Gilboa, said the company relies on word-of-mouth over the press. They were always willing to engage with their audience on social media, which kept their customers interested in their brand over time.
Warby has created several trends that kept their customers engaged. One of them was the #warbyhometryon trend that got over 24,000 people talking on social media. How it worked was simple: They sent their customers several pairs of glasses to try on at home and return the ones they didn’t like. This simple strategy removed the stress customers faced with coming to the store to pick a pair of glasses that fit them best.
And because it’s a norm for people to want to take pictures of their new pair of glasses and post on social media, they asked their customers to post on social media with the hashtag #warbyhometryon.
In a blogpost written by Keenan Schneider, he explained his experience with the product. He said, “A card sits inside the nicely-packed box of five pairs of glasses that tell you how the whole procedure works, as well as giving you a space to write down first impressions on the pairs you ordered to try on.” Keenan said, “Then it offers some helpful steps to ensure you find the right pair of glasses for you. Step Two, specifically, encourages you to not only take photos and share with your family and friends but also to use the #WarbyHomeTryOn to allow the Warby Parker community to weigh in.”
It’s impressive how far some brands will go to give their customers a good experience. Warby has since done other programs to give back to society. From the buy a pair, give a pair program, to the Wearing Warby series, to using a mobile vision assessment technology that enables users to check their prescription over the phone.
Warby Parker leveraged PR and User Generated Content (UGC) through their impeccable customer experience, wearing Warby series and Warbyhometryon.
Barkbox solved the problem dog owners go through, which is going on errands to get treats, food, and toys for their dogs. They’re a subscription service business that supplies dog owners with treats and toys for their dogs.
Barkbox started in 2012 and has gained the love of many dog owners. They have shipped over 50 million dog treats and toys to their dog-owner customers worldwide.
Many of their customers will testify to how well the brand makes them feel. At some point, the team had 20,000 boxes going out, with each box hand-assembled with notes of the customer’s request.
One time a customer requested that they wanted a toy that could withstand the hard chewing from their dogs, so Barkbox created a new product line and included them in the customer’s monthly box. At their core, it’s a business that was created out of love for dogs. Stacie Grissom, BARK’s Head of Content, describes her job as “working” for the dog.”
Their efforts on social media is another thing that makes them stand out. They’ve built a community of dog lovers that makes everyone who’s a part of it love them even more. Seemingly, Barkbox’s Twitter is packed with funny tweets about dogs, and on their Instagram, they have over 270k customers creating posts on #barkboxday.
So how did they achieve all these? And what can you do to incorporate their brilliance into your marketing strategy? First off, Birdbox has this playful and seamless vibe about their brand. Their content creation game is up there as one that’s artistic, creative, and generally interesting to witness.
They also touch on your morals through their Barkbox Rescue & Shelter Program, where they donate 10% of their proceeds to dogs in shelters.
In terms of customer experience, which makes them stand out, is their personalization. They make every customer feel heard — which is a good thing. Their monthly treats come with two toys, two treats, and a chew for the dog. They pay attention to your dog’s allergies, size, breed, and needs when packaging your monthly boxes. It’s fun to see a D2C brand like Barkbox build a community of loyal audience while keeping them smiling and satisfied.
Mavely’s solution is simple; they are a social e-commerce platform that helps D2C brands (like Warby Parker and Barkbox) reduce the cost of customer acquisition by giving users commission for referring their favorite products. They let their users pick from hundreds of the top D2C brands, and then share them with friends or buy for themselves. Each time a purchase occurs, the Mavely user earns a commission, which can be as high as 25% of the retail price. The brand gets a new, loyal customer, the Mavely user earns a commission for their work. A win-win. Mavely calls this commission based sales model “communal commerce.”
It’s a female-focused brand that’s helping to save D2C brands from the rising costs of customer acquisition, and in the same light, increasing product discovery for up and coming brands. And as their Co-founder, Evan Wray, puts it, “Instead of all those advertising dollars going to Instagram or Google, we’ve created a system where those dollars actually go into the pockets of families all across the United States who are recommending the products and driving sales.”
They have over 200+ direct to consumer brands, including Allbirds, Everlane, and Brooklinen, as well as upstairs like Blume, Magic Spoon, and Vrai. Plus, over 15,000 sellers on their platform, each ready to recommend and sell D2C products.
Mavely is backed up by some of the top VC’s in the nation, including Pivot North, who previously backed unicorns such as Looker, Chime, and Sun Basket. And in a statement made by Wray, he said: “Mavely is becoming a solid, competitive alternative to costly social channel advertising and provides marketers with a more efficient way to acquire customers at half the cost of Facebook ads.”
They’re on a mission to disrupt the direct selling business model to ensure that every one of their users can earn good money referring products to their friends, family and social networks. “At Mavely, we believe that everyday shoppers deserve a return on their influence, not just the celebrity ones,” said Peggy O’Flaherty, CCO, and co-founder of Mavely. “People naturally want to share the products they love to friends and family; in fact, 60% of consumers and 70% of millennials say social content from friends and family impact their purchasing decisions. We created a platform that allows them to easily tap into an established network of new and exciting brands to earn cash.”
These three brands are taking customer’s interest to a whole new level and are causing other brands to get creative with their marketing strategy. Brands like these are showing other brands that there’s more to running a D2C eCommerce brand than the usual — create a product and run ads that every other brand seems to be doing. They’ve successfully challenged the status quo.