Of course, for 21st century brands, this creates a huge opportunity. By implementing a direct-to-consumer (DTC) model to sell their products and services, brands can take their offerings to market more quickly, achieve cost savings by cutting the overhead costs that come with procuring and maintaining a retail space, keep larger portions of their sales revenues by cutting out the retail-store middleman, and gain more control over their brand image and reputation … just to name a few of the advantages DTC sales can bring.
Is your outdoor brand looking to harness the many benefits of implementing direct-to-consumer sales? Consider these five tips from TBA Outdoors that can make your transition to DTC go more smoothly and make your DTC efforts more effective:
1. Take a close look at the landscape
Before launching your brand’s DTC initiative, perform some in-depth market research and analysis to determine what current market conditions look like, how many competitors exist in the space, whether the market can support another competing entry, etc. Can your brand compete with existing offerings on quality? What about on price? Does your brand offer clear differentiators that will help it outshine the competition? If not, can you improve on your brand’s DTC offering(s) to attain a substantial market share? Answering these questions on the front end will help your brand position itself for success when making the DTC transition.
2. Create a consumer-friendly path to online purchase
To maximize its direct-to-consumer sales, your brand’s website should facilitate a simple and smooth experience for every visitor — with minimal hurdles to conversion. Before you invest in marketing your DTC offerings to new consumers, take a deep dive into your outdoor brand’s website and its functionality. When doing your review, place a high priority on identifying any troubling hurdles or issues that may be causing potential customers to depart the website or that may be otherwise interrupting their shopping/purchasing experience. A great way to begin such a website audit is by leveraging your website’s analytics to identify pages with high bounce rates, by scouring the site to locate any broken links and by finding any dead-end pages with no other way for visitors to stay on the website besides clicking the “back” button in their browsers.
3. Let data drive your decisions
If your brand isn’t already passionate about harnessing its data to make business-boosting adjustments, it should be ready to start doing just that with its transition to DTC. One of the biggest benefits of deploying online sales capabilities is the wealth of information it can provide about your best customers — including details like where they came from, what they shopped for and expressed an interest in, what they’ve purchased in the past, etc. With some deeper digging, your brand can start seeing patterns related to consumer interests and motivators, then leverage this data to market to look-alike audiences with similar characteristics … and hopefully the same propensity to purchase your products and services as your best customers.
4. Find the best-fit email marketing platform for your brand
Another big advantage of online DTC sales is that your brand can leverage them to build out your customer email database. Then, once you have a sizable database of email addresses in place, you can utilize it to maintain regular communications with your customers — and to keep your brand top of mind with them. There’s a long list of email marketing platforms available to today’s brands, and each of them offers specific advantages, making the best fit for your outdoor brand dependent on your preferences and how your brand chooses to employ its email marketing platform. For help evaluating which email platform is the best fit for your brand, check out this TBA Outdoors blog article.
5. Make sure your customer support shines
A big part of the reason many reluctant-to-go-digital consumers prefer in-person retail experiences to their online counterparts is that, with face-to-face shopping experiences, expert guidance on purchasing decisions is (hopefully, at least) easy to procure. Ditto for product exchanges and returns — it’s all easier when you have a real person in front of you to consult and work with. To help win these consumers over — and to keep its already online customers coming back — your outdoor brand should go to great lengths to deliver exceptional customer service and support to online shoppers. Tried-and-true tactics for improving the online shopping experience include answering any questions sent via email or social media as quickly as possible, providing live, real-time chat capabilities so customers can have their product- and service-related questions answered immediately, offering free returns and exchanges, and giving customers free shipping once a minimum-order threshold is met.
Could your outdoor brand benefit from working with a group of marketing professionals with a wealth of experience implementing direct-to-consumer sales? At TBA Outdoors, we’re here to help you build and implement a successful DTC strategy via tried-and-true tactics such as market research, customer journey optimization, and social media marketing, and we can provide a range of DTC-boosting services such as website design and email campaign creation. Further, our fully integrated marketing firm boasts a team of seasoned specialists (and outdoors fanatics) who can cover all aspects of marketing — including SEO, brand strategy, creative, social media, e-commerce, analytics, public relations and much more — all in one place. And as certified brand strategists, we can also help you with the big-picture adjustments sometimes needed put your outdoor brand on a course to long-term success.
To get started with professional guidance ranging from a simple website analysis to a comprehensive strategy tailored to boost your outdoor brand’s overall performance and identity, contact us today.