Building a successful DTC or D2C brand online can be one of the most rewarding feats for a founder.
The zest of knowing that your customers love your product, realising that your brand is making an impact and sheer growth that comes with all of this – it’s pure exhilaration.
Though, kickstarting a DTC E-commerce brand is easy; building and scaling one to success is challenging. In this blog, we’ll address the challenging part with keen insights from two e-commerce industry veterans.
We have compiled observations, practical tips and insights from our #DTCCandids webinar held in December 2020. This blog summarises the conversation between Paras Batra, Co-Founder of Leaf Studios and Umair Mohammad, CEO & Founder of Wigzo.
In the DTC Candids live online session, the duo deliberated on building a DTC brand from scratch and scaling it successfully. We’ve woven the insights from their Webinar conversation in this blog for everyone. Subsequently, you can access the original webinar’s recorded video conversation here.
Let us get going!
Industry Veterans Tips for Building a DTC Brand from Scratch
1. No Product-Market Fit – No Success!
Even the amateur entrepreneurs know that a poor or near-zero product-market fit is a sign of a doomed business. Product/Market fit is the prime thing for any business to capitalise on the tested (or assumed) target market.
“No matter how excellent, thoughtful or innovative your product is – if there is no actual demand for it, it won’t sell.”
What most aspiring DTC brand founders miss (and this is a fundamental mistake!) when they are first launching is ‘demand testing.’ Paras recommends gauging the need for your product beforehand, even before the official launch.
However, many new founders are too paranoid about their idea being stolen. This is a grave mistake and can cost you time and money dearly.
To avoid this, conduct landing page tests, different ad campaigns and analyse how well the audience receives your idea. You can gauge the demand for your brand/product by creating mock-up landing pages, surveys and even prototypes for early adopters. Execute this fast, and execute this right to build forward momentum.
2. Aim for a Stellar Online Experience
In the digital world, a brand is nothing but a uniform and stellar experience across all the online channels and offline channels. For most DTC brands, this means creating an incredible online experience for your customers.
From highly-responsive website & product descriptions to intuitive navigation and engaging collateral – everything counts within the sanct bounds of online human-experience. While most of these pointers can be taken care of with a great UI/UX design, one thing breaks the strongest of founders – Engagements.
To make your users interact with what you have online is not an easy task. Every piece of communication must be contextual, relevant and push the customer down into the sales funnel.
“One way to re-engage with your customer is to respond to your customer reviews. Good or Bad, real-time or delayed but, RESPOND.” – Paras Batra
Besides responding to your customers’ feedback, AI-Based marketing automation can also help new DTC brands give that initial sales revenue push for sustained growth. Wigzo is that very platform; capable of growing e-commerce brands from scratch.
While acquiring and retaining initial customers, an AI-based marketing automation platform can help you build sales traction. Surprisingly, you’ll remain agile enough to make strategic iterations as you grow.
3. Think Specific User Journeys
New DTC brands pay extra attention to their product, backend operations, inventory management and upfront marketing. They often miss out on the key element that will help them laser target their audience and maximise sales conversions if everything goes as per the strategy.
“Audience cohorts are critical for every e-commerce brand – new or experienced. A user might be buying your products for values and reasons hidden to you. Cohorts make it easier to find those reasons and deploy highly effective marketing campaigns.”
Discovering early on as to why the customers are attracted to your products and their purchase-decision factors can be a powerful win for the longer run.
E.g. a brand might sell a ‘delicious health drink.’ Some of its health-conscious customers might be buying it for its ‘health’ value. The other might be buying it for the ‘taste’ value. This creates two cohorts – where one must be targeted with ‘Healthy drink that is delicious’ and the other with ‘Delicious drink which is healthy.’ The difference is subtle but powerful.
This is where Leaf Studios leveraged Wigzo’s powerful smart customer segmentation for making informed marketing decisions; then powering the same with its hyper-personalized engagement capabilities.
4. Be Willing to Change – Almost Everything
There is rarely a successful brand out there that started with the founders’ vision and continued to stay the same. It is not just the strategy that needs to be pivoted at times. The new findings might compel the founders to reevaluate the product USPs, use cases and customer profile as engagement and sales data comes in.
Example, what might start as a ‘Revolutionary portable hydroponics plants garden’ might find a much better value with the food & restaurants industry for growing fresh vegetables. So, be prepared to make big changes – for all the tremendous growth you’ll ever garner!
Building a successful DTC brand is all about the strategy, product and an agile business model. Keep the above-mentioned expert tips in mind as you propel your e-commerce brand forward.
If you’d like to watch the #DTCCandids webinar’s recorded video and discover the conversations of the founders yourself, you can check it anytime here – Watch Video.
While you are building your brand, don’t forget to add the most critical ingredient – PASSION.
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