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      3 Takeaways From The "C-Suite Secrets for Direct-To-Consumer Success in 2021" Webinar

      By Carl Bleich

      May 17, 2021

      10 min read

      3 Takeaways From The "C-Suite Secrets for Direct-To-Consumer Success in 2021" Webinar

      The “C-Suite Secrets for Direct-To-Consumer Success in 2021” webinar featured top e-commerce leaders from Bloomreach, Ogilvy, and BigCommerce sharing their best advice and secrets on how to be successful in D2C. 

      The massive amount of new D2C brands over the past few years has led to a shift in the relationship between brands and consumers. New customers are coming in at a faster pace and existing customers are coming back more frequently than was observed pre-lockdown. 

      If you missed the event, don’t worry! You can still view the webinar in its entirety on-demand and you won’t miss any of the insights shared by our expert panel. 

      Let’s dive into three points that really hit home from our experts. 

      Winning With DTC Starts With Intentionality 

      Winning with a DTC model does not happen by accident. A DTC model is designed to facilitate a closer relationship with customers but this comes with hard work and intentionality on the brand’s part. 

      There must be concerted effort to create a sense of community around products and services and to appropriately distribute your messaging to customers. 

      Bloomreach CEO and co-founder Raj De Datta pointed to Bloomreach customer Williams Sonoma as a perfect example. One of the largest catalog retailers in the world, Williams Sonoma does three-quarters of its business digitally. 

      De Datta spoke about how many companies winning with DTC, including Williams Sonoma, are less concerned with categorizing themselves as a business and more concerned with serving their customers. 

      “So now, are they a retailer? Or are they a branded manufacturer? Are they digital?” De Datta said of Williams Sonoma. “It’s not clear. But what’s clear is that they’re winning in the category.”

      How are companies like Williams Sonoma winning? De Datta points to three things: 

      • Deeply understanding what customers are seeking. An experience has been built that doesn’t just focus on knowing what customers are buying, saying, and looking for. A customer experience must focus on deeply understanding who customers are and what they represent. 
      • Rethinking the model of the organization. The companies who do DTC best  “feel like software businesses”, De Datta said. Having a centered team that is cross-functional by design across product, development, marketing, and merchandising aligned around the premise of serving customers is most optimal. 
      • The assembly of tools and technology that allows for growth. It’s impossible for brands to hire enough people year in and year out to keep up with growth. Let artificial intelligence help. 

      Getting a Closer Relationship With Customers

      Winning with a DTC model starts with putting the customer first. 

      Easy enough, right? But how should companies actually go about accomplishing this to facilitate their DTC model? 

      It starts with brands making every effort to provide an elevated customer experience to keep customers coming directly to them. 

      “It is absolutely essential for established brands, if they haven’t already, to very quickly become world-class at competing against the digital natives telling their story differently than they ever have before and establishing a direct relationship and connection to their consumers,” said Brent Bellm, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of BigCommerce. “They need that instant feedback. What do the customers like? Are they able to sell to segments or consumers in different locations than their third-party retailers have been traditionally able to reach?”

      Bloomreach Chief Strategy Officer Brian Walker began the webinar by sharing some eye-opening statistics about digital commerce from Group M, a sister company of Oglivy: 

      • By 2027, e-commerce sales are projected to break the $10 trillion mark. That was after they were projected for $4 trillion in 2020. That would equate to 25% of retail sales happening online by 2027. 
      • 55% of consumers now start their e-commerce shopping journey on the website of a branded manufacturer. That is second only to marketplaces. 
      • 62% of companies stated their fastest growing channel is direct online business. That is up from 34% pre-pandemic. 

      Those statistics alone are enough to think long and hard about investing time, money, and effort into a DTC model. 

      Another reason? Data. Data is arguably the world’s most valuable resource in 2021. The more customer data that can be collected directly from the customer, the better. 

      “The data that is being collected is indescribably valuable,” said Steve Soechtig, Global CEO of Ogilvy Experience. “But beyond that, it also is an opportunity for the brand to truly control the narrative, and the experience all the way through to the point of transaction. Then the relationship can be retained with the consumer beyond the point of transaction, gathering feedback, gathering inspiration that may contribute into new product development that may contribute to new campaign ideas, or that simply may contribute to information that then can be shared back out into the marketplace, providing additional value to aspirational consumers that potentially have never engaged with the brand.”

      The Possibilities With a Digital Community

      One solution for brands to create a two-way communication channel with their customers is a digital community. 

      Members of this community likely share a strong loyalty to the brand or other topics in relation to the brand. A digital community is the perfect opportunity for companies to bring valuable information, initiate conversations, and garner feedback from loyal customers without being salesy or pushy. 

      Soechtig shared an example of a successful digital community from Nestle that was focused on serving as a resource for expectant mothers. The digital community served as the perfect resource to ask/answer questions, learn about products, and use Nestle’s and other customers’ knowledge as a resource in true direct-to-consumer fashion. 

      “Nestle wanted to grow the category of baby and maternal products,” Soechtig said. “Rather than exclusively marketing the products and their value, a digital community was instead created.”

      The popularity of the digital community exploded during the pandemic when the risks for expectant mothers to gather in person were amplified. Online conversations in the digital community replaced in-person discussions for many soon-to-be mothers. 

      “It was a remarkable example of how digital engagement and innovation can lead to exceptional growth,” Soechtig said. 

      Learn More

      While those were just a few of the key points, the webinar provided a wealth of information on top of the aforementioned tips and advice. To hear more from our experts and see the webinar in its entirety, watch it on-demand. 

      If you’re looking for more on the overarching state of digital commerce, register for The Commerce Experience Summit 2021 on May 26-27. Experts from all corners of e-commerce will gather to discuss their best tips and tricks for capitalizing on this unique time in digital commerce history. 



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      Carl Bleich

      Content Marketing Manager at Bloomreach

      Carl works with Bloomreach professionals to produce valuable, customer-centric content. A trusted expert with over 15 years of experience, Carl loves exploring unique ways to turn problems into solutions within digital commerce.

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