More Consumers Are Buying Direct From Brands, New Survey Finds

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped e-commerce. Today, 60% of consumers choose to buy directly from brands.
  • Online shoppers believe individual brands offer better value than third-party retailers.
  • Traditional and digital native brands were able to connect with new audiences via DTC.

Consumers have more choices than ever before about where and how they shop, so the shopping experience has become an even more critical factor in influencing purchasing decisions. This was reflected in a Kelton Global sponsored by Google Consumer Survey (DTC) of 3,494 DTC shoppers in the wellness, home, clothing and electronics categories. The survey showed that almost 60% of online shoppers would go out of their way to buy directly from a brand.

This DTC trend has opened the door to opportunities for both digital native brands and traditional brands that have built their sales channels online. This trend doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon, with 66% of online shoppers buying directly from brands in the past three months, and 42% expecting to buy more directly from brands over the next year.

Consumers find real value in transacting directly with brands and would pay more for brands with environmentally friendly or sustainable practices

More than two-thirds of online shoppers said individual brands offered better quality than third-party retailers, according to the Kelton Global survey. Additionally, 61% said individual brands provided a more personalized experience, and 66% said it was easier to understand the principles of individual brands. Brands must continue to use personalization and clarity of messaging in their one-on-one engagements with buyers to improve the quality of the connection in an increasingly competitive landscape.

One of the main ways to stand out in the landscape is to share what makes your brand unique. Consumers find that by buying directly from brands, they can make choices that align with their personal values ​​based on the values ​​of the brand. Fifty percent of shoppers said they prefer to buy from brands that have an interesting story or represent something specific. In fact, buyers were even prepared to pay more for it. Fifty-four percent of DTC consumers said they would pay more to buy from brands with eco-friendly or sustainable practices. DTC channels are a key driver for brands to better articulate their values ​​to drive and capture consumer demand.

Know your attractiveness to communicate effectively with current and potential customers

Along with a more personalized experience and value alignment, consumers say they reap other benefits that influence the experience by buying directly from brands. Interestingly, these benefits vary between traditional brands (those that initially focused on physical sales, primarily through wholesale) and digital native brands (which started out as e-commerce-only entities). Scaling up operations as consumers explored new brands by choice and necessity posed unique challenges for everyone.

Digital native brands – with DTC sales channel distribution at their core – have been able to rapidly expand their operations to take advantage of this growth in sales channels. Meanwhile, traditional brands have focused on activating this sales channel in a meaningful way. Traditional and digital-native brands could each learn from each other’s strategies to stay nimble as this sales channel grows.

Likewise, everyone could benefit from studying the value consumers derive from each brand. While digital native brands are seen as fashionable and unique, traditional brands are seen as reliable and capable of delivering high quality. Digital native brands could learn how to convey quality messages to drive brand value, and traditional brands could assess the unique brand identity that digital native companies have designed to encourage trials among DTC buyers.

As brands look to the future, focus areas differ based on brand maturity and digital capability. Traditional brands continue to expand their capabilities and DTC infrastructure to capture and measure the consumer journey, while digital native brands continue to explore opportunities for cross-channel expansion to complement innovative marketing solutions in the drive. business goals. Regardless of maturity and ability, unlocking an effective DTC strategy would help brands meet and exceed their goals for years to come.

DTC is here to stay. Learn how to seize the opportunity now for your brands.

For traditional brands, investing in sales channel expansion and upgrades, adding digital tools to improve sales conversion and more effectively measuring the customer journey would empower them to capitalize on the value of DTC to boost relationships and sales.

“There are a number of important questions that traditional brands answer to the growth of DTC is fundamental,” said Chris Valle, consumer electronics industry leader at Google. “How do you capture your data? And how do you create lifelong value and truly understand the consumer along their journey? The simple, but hard-to-get, answer to all is to extract value from their data. “

Digital native brands must continue to find innovative and effective ways to identify and convert potential customers (and retain them) to continue growing their businesses. This means allowing automated tools to get the right message to the right person at the right time, while removing the need for manual intervention and guesswork. With consumers living online, brands need to appear throughout the buying journey, across multiple platforms, to reach customers at different points in the buying journey.

“Brands at all levels of maturity are having great success with automated solutions that are simple to implement, yet incredibly powerful,” said Jane Butler, general manager of pure-play retail and DTC at Google. “These turnkey solutions allow brands to focus on their broader strategy to achieve their business goals, such as acquiring new customers and retaining existing customers, freeing up time and space. spirit to devote to the in-depth thinking necessary to differentiate the brand in an increasingly competitive environment.

Both native and traditional digital brands can benefit from strategic efforts to make the customer experience flawless at all brand touch points. It all starts with the initial discovery, which DTC shoppers find through online search (52%), referrals from friends or family (45%), TV ads (43%), ads on social media (35%), display ads (31%), online video (24%) and mobile app ads (23%). Building the connection for testing and ongoing engagement can help develop a symbiotic relationship for consumers and brands.

Consumers appreciate engaging and dealing directly with brands when the experience is enjoyable and differentiated. Going digital to activate the direct-to-consumer sales channel to pave the way for better consumer relations and positive business effects – two areas at the heart of any brand’s strategy.

Learn more about Google’s direct-to-consumer communications expertise here.

This post was created by Insider Studios with Google.

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