D2C (Direct-to-consumer business model) is the newest buzzword and rightly so. Over the last five odd years, D2C has proven to be a great way to build businesses and brands – Mamaearth and Wow Skin Science have established this. The outlook for D2C continues to be positive. The vitals that drive D2C – internet population, online shoppers, e-commerce market – are growing and will continue to grow at a more than healthy pace. Some estimate that the size of the D2C pie will be around 100 billion USD by 2025.
These numbers and this outlook will motivate a host of entrepreneurs and businesses to start thinking of how they can experiment with this relatively new business model. Therein lies the challenge and the danger. If D2C brands have taught us anything in their short history, it’s that D2C is more than a new business model. At its heart, it is a new business philosophy. It is a bold new way to build brands and businesses.
The central tenet of D2C brands is that it places the consumer at the heart of all business operations. Everything from what you manufacture, how you brand what you manufacture, how you price it, what kind of content you create to engage with consumers, everything is dictated by what you know about your consumer. Consumer knowledge and intimacy, therefore, dictate how successful your brand and business is.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re planning to go the D2C route:
- Don’t replicate what other businesses or brands are already doing. The biggest opportunity that D2C gives you is the opportunity to dump the old ‘mass market’ thinking. Create a niche, own it.
- Remember that as a D2C business you are always on beta mode. Nothing will be static. As you learn more about consumers your product portfolio might have to change, how you engage with your consumers might have to change. You will have to be prepared for unexpected successes and unexpected failures.
- You cannot have a fixed brand plan or marketing plan. Your planning cycle cannot be annual or biannual, it has to be weekly or even daily at times.
D2C is probably the most exciting way to build a business and a brand. The sharpness of your thinking and the depth to which you understand your customer will dictate your success here.