The e-commerce industry has been evolving at breakneck speed in recent times. Staying at the top of your D2C game requires a way more strategic approach and adaptability than ever before.
D2C operators today, hence, need to navigate a complex web of DTC strategies – from establishing a solid foundation to maintaining consistent communication, from understanding customer behavior to avoiding common pitfalls.
To navigate this complexity, a savvy D2C operator has to blend insights with execution. That’s where these five ultra-actionable DTC strategies from the industry’s top experts come in handy.
These 5 DTC strategies / growth tips cover foundational business aspects to the intricacies of customer engagement, marketing, and potential pitfalls.
Without further ado, let’s begin with tip #1 👇
1. Five Major Parts of a Strategic E-Commerce Plan
By Rick Watson of RMW Commerce Consulting
What are the major parts of winning e-commerce DTC strategies?
Even today, when starting a new ecommerce venture from scratch, you will need help getting things off the ground. Whenever someone asks me about planning a new initiative, you need a few critical elements:
#1 – The Business Basics.
- Who is the undistracted, accountable owner?
- What is our Clear North Star and Differentiation?
- What are our legal, regulatory, tax, privacy, accessibility, security or other “table stakes” elements we should consider?
#2 – A clear picture of your customer.
- What are the Demographics, Psychographics, Behaviors, Locations, and Market Size of our priority customer segments?
- What are our hero product(s) and brand narrative for their evaluation, acquisition, and use?
- What other product categories do we plan to offer and at what price points and landed costs?
#3 – Customer Journey and Capabilities
- What is the end-to-end customer journey from awareness through acquisition, usage, reorder, warranty, replacements, upgrades, returns, product end of life, etc.?
- What is the prioritized list of capabilities needed to serve this customer journey? Be sure to consider delivery, installation, and service.
#4 – Capability Planning
- What people, process, technology, and data elements do you need and when to serve this customer consistently over time?
For example, it can be as simple as asking yourself, “Which ecommerce site builder will support my business over the long-term?”
- Should you focus on a buy, build, or partner approach for each required element (people, process, technology, data)?
- What is the approximate cost of the different approaches?
- How should these elements and approaches be sequenced?
#5 – Multi-year Income Statement and Capitalization Plan
- What is our expected traffic, conversion rate, income statement, CAC, LTV, and AOV over time?
- What elements of our costs are fixed vs. variable?
- How do these metrics flow into our gross revenue, discount strategy, cost of goods, gross margins, and net margins?
- What elements can you capitalize, if any?
- What are your investment requirements by quarter and year, and payback period?
Plans are nothing, planning is everything. If you know what you are expecting up front, you understand intuitively how to adjust.
What did we miss?
2. Only Running Campaigns When You Have A Sale? Don’t Do This. Be Regular on Your Communication Channels
By Abhishek Patra of Zoronto
I hear this often “We don’t have new arrivals or a sale, so we will not be sending an email or sms campaign”.
When I hear those words, I think 🤔
▸ Are campaigns only a channel for you to push new products via new arrivals and sales?
▸ Don’t you want to check in with your subscribers and customers?
▸ Don’t your brand offer any value other than just the products?
▸ You expect your subscribers and customers to remember you without consistent communication.
And above all, do you expect Gmail and other ISPs to deliver your emails to the recipients when you decide to send an email after a gap of weeks to your over 50K email list? 🤔
You think of your customers as cash machines that only need to be touched when you need cash. 💰
Your customers reciprocate the same feeling by replacing you with the other brand. 😔
They are no longer interested in your brand. 😟
Your campaigns get no response. 😓
You generate no positive RoI on your campaigns.
You then blame the email and sms channels and deem them unfit.
You go back to relying only on ads.
They don’t work either. ☹️
You lose money.
You shut down the store. 😨
Instead, you could have done this 👇
Sent regular campaigns and used email and sms as a channel for communication with customers who are at the end of the day human beings.
Some campaign ideas:
◉ Talk about the industry trends.
◉ Tell them how best to use your products.
◉ Request for review to the customers who haven’t shared their reviews.
◉ Product benefits.
◉ Survey non-buyers – ask them what is stopping them from making a purchase.
◉ A customer’s story on how your product helped solve a problem.
◉ Lifestyle images of your customers using your product.
◉ Showcase your best-selling product/s to customers who have not purchased the product.
◉ Create deals and bundles.
◉ Showcase products that are going out of stock soon.
◉ Best customer testimonials.
There are many more campaigns that you can send.
There is no end to it.
What would you add to this list of campaign ideas?
3. Five Pitfalls To Avoid in Your D2C Journey
By Kunal Harisighani of FlapKap
The 5 pitfalls of D2C ecommerce that you need to avoid as founders.
They might seem obvious but most brands fail here and are stuck in a vicious degrowth cycle:
🛑 Complicated checkout process
🛑 High Non Delivered Returns (NDR)
🛑 No DTC strategies for customer data capture
🛑 No omnichannel growth strategy
🛑 Scaling without knowing Unit Economics
There is a deep lesson in each one of these.
If you are an e-commerce founder in UAE, then get in touch for a growth consultation at no cost.
4. Don’t Focus on The ROAS
By Nigel Thomas of Alpha Inbound
Imagine you’re spending $150K a month on ads.
James, your ideal customer, is scrolling through TikTok.
Here’s what happens before he buys your product:
First, he goes to google.
Types in your brand name.
Goes through one of your display ads.
Ends up on the product page.
Adds 2 products to cart.
But the phone rings.
It’s his mum – there’s an emergency.
James forget his great uncle’s birthday – “Not again James!”
So he puts down the phone down and off he goes.
A few days later, James is on Instagram.
He comes across another one of your ads.
This time it’s a customer review.
That’s it – he’s definitely buying this time.
He puts his phone on silent (just in case mom calls).
Straight to checkout – he even buys 4 this time.
Now here’s what is interesting.
When you look just on a channel-by-channel basis.
You’ll see James came through Instagram.
What you won’t see is that TikTok was the discovery.
Google was also a critical part of his decision-making.
And this is exactly why you should start looking macro.
Start looking at MER.
Your Marketing Efficiency Ratio.
That is your total revenue divided by total spend.
Because James wasn’t the first.
And he certainly won’t be the last.
So stop focusing on ROAS.
Start focusing on bottom-line revenue and company profit.
2022 is the year to think Macro, not micro., stay true to yourself
5. Three Mistakes Most Early Stage Companies Make
By Ryan Rouse of Tasseo Consumer Ecosystem
Most early-stage companies make one of 3 mistakes:
1. They only market when they need to.
They think: “We need some revenue, let’s run that campaign…once.”
2. They don’t grow their marketing systems along with their business.
The systems that got them to $100K won’t get them to $10 million. And the ones that got them to $10 million won’t get them to $50 million.
3. They think they need to do something so they end up trying everything.
And end up with a lot of half-built bridges.
How do you prevent these mistakes?
Focus and systems.
Focus on one or two marketing channels, your best customer segments, and your best-selling products.
If you do that, you’ll see quicker, bigger gains than if you try to do it all at once.
And if you create marketing systems – systems that grow as your business grows – you put yourself in a better position to win.
Just don’t forget that your systems and focus have to match where you are right now.
In other words, don’t stress out about late-stage marketing tactics when you are trying to get your first sale.
Before We Bid Adieu 👋
I hope you enjoyed reading these tips like I enjoyed scouting for them. The aim was to help D2C brands flourish in today’s VUCA digital landscape. BTW, VUCA = volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.
In case I fell short of your expectations, please chime in using the comment box. We’d love to know your thoughts.
And if you liked reading this, you’ll definitely love our other blog on DTC strategies— 8 D2C Advertising Tips from Seasoned Experts