Direct to Consumer (D2C): Why Brands Are Making the Switch

Direct-to-consumer brands (D2C) have been steadily growing in popularity over the past several years, and for good reason. Direct to consumer brands feature several distinct benefits for both sellers and consumers.

Partnering with a third-party logistics company (3PL) can further help to boost direct-to-consumer marketing while allowing brands to fully capitalize on the unique advantages of the direct-to-consumer model. 

What is the Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) Method? 

The direct-to-consumer method reduces the role of the middleman or eliminates it altogether. With D2C business, companies can sell their products directly to their customers without going through a wholesaler or retailer. This creates a closer relationship between sellers and buyers, while also saving money and time in the process. 

D2C vs. B2C: What’s the Difference? 

The B2C method, short for “business to consumer,” is the traditional selling method that most companies use. 

In the B2C model, an intermediary wholesaler or retail store is involved, rather than companies selling their products directly to customers. For example, a B2C company’s products might be available in a Target store, despite not being a Target brand. 

Traditional vs. D2C: Difference in Approach 

Though B2C businesses can sometimes reach more customers using retailers, D2C companies enjoy having complete control over their marketing and customer relations; as well as saving money in the supply chain by eliminating unnecessary links. 

Streamlining your supply chain can also save time in the fulfillment process while eliminating the potential for retailer or wholesaler errors. 

For consumers, the most significant difference between direct-to-consumer approaches and traditional shopping experiences is the fact that most D2C companies sell their products exclusively online; while traditional B2C companies offer their products in-store and online, in some cases. 

Inventory Tracking Examples

When your supply chain is comprised of fewer individuals or entities, your ability to accurately track your inventory is increased. This can help your company to avoid fulfillment errors; as well as provide your customers with the desirable ability to track their packages in real-time. 

Why Consumers Value D2C More

Direct-to-consumer marketing tends to be much more personalized and prioritized. Consumers can’t simply happen upon a D2C product in a store by accident. 

D2C businesses focus on engaging with their audience, creating real value for their customers, and retaining customers with personalized deals and special offers. 

Benefits of Switching to Direct-to-Consumer Models

Still not convinced? Let’s explore some of the distinct benefits that your company could experience when switching to a DTC model. 

Consistent Omnichannel DTC Marketing

Omnichannel marketing is the concept of interacting with customers using multiple channels, rather than just one or two. 

For a DTC company, this can include a company website, social media, email, and online ads, to name a few. This ability to be everywhere at once provides DTC companies with a significant advantage over traditional sales. 

Have Full Supply Chain Control

Supply chain issues — such as incorrect fulfillment and slow shipping times — can cause customers to choose your competitor over your brand. With fewer links in the supply chain, you’ll be better equipped to keep your promises of speediness and quality to your consumers. 

Deep Understanding of Users 

D2C companies have the unique opportunity to gather data about their customers through each transaction. This includes information like customer age and gender, browsing and purchase habits, and rate of cart abandonment.  

D2C Challenges 

Though D2C sales offer several benefits, they also come with specific challenges. 

Keeping Track Isn’t Always Easy 

Though more links in the supply chain can be difficult to oversee, removing those links can also lead to significant inconveniences; namely keeping track of your growing inventory. This becomes especially difficult for businesses with several storage facilities. 

Bigger Inventories Are Harder to Manage

The more products you offer, the more difficult it will be to effectively manage your inventory. This is where the extensive staff that often comes along with middlemen like retail stores and wholesalers can come in handy. 

Scaling Up 

D2C brands sometimes fail as their business grows without the proper infrastructure to support it. Oftentimes, this is the direct result of not having the time or manpower to find new storage facilities or hire additional fulfillment crew, due to the sheer number of orders to fill. 

This is where working with a 3PL can significantly improve a direct-to-consumer company’s chances of succeeding in today’s competitive market. 

Partnering with a 3PL 

Third-party logistics companies, or 3PLs, are specifically designed to help businesses streamline their processes and get the most out of the supply chain in order to maximize potential savings and profit on the back end. 

With the help of a 3PL, you’ll be able to focus on the personal touches of your business, such as employee development, marketing campaigns, and overall plans for growth. 

Let’s explore some of the specific ways in which a 3PL can revolutionize your business. 

Custom Packaging 

Packaging is one of the most significant experiences your customer has with your brand, especially for direct-to-consumer companies that don’t sell through retail stores. 

A 3PL will help design and implement personalized packaging that helps you stand out from the rest. 

Fast 2-Day Shipping

The faster your shipping is, the better advantage you’ll have over your competitors. With a 3PL, you’ll be able to compete with famously speedy companies more than twice the size of your own, such as Amazon.

Distributed Warehouses 

When you’re working with a 3PL, you’ll have access to all of their warehouses, which allows you to ship items closer to the recipient and decrease shipping times while lowering costs. 

Inventory Tracking and Management 

Sold-out stock and poor inventory management can cost you valuable time, money, and customers. A 3PL can accurately track stock across all warehouses to prevent errors in inventory management.  

Ready to take your D2C business to the next level with Print Bind Ship? Contact us today for a free service quote!