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D2C ecommerce: How to get started and boost sales

Versha Kamwal
April 8, 2022
7
mins read

Ecommerce has always been dominated by giants like Amazon, Flipkart, and more. Now it is changing gradually.

Ecommerce brands are directly approaching their customers and it’s becoming extremely popular among the masses—disrupting the established shopping trends. India is home to more than 800 D2C startups—expected to generate a $200 Billion market opportunity by 2026.

However, penetrating the ecommerce market is only the first piece of the puzzle; D2C brands must seize this opportunity by delighting their customers constantly to ensure long-term growth.

In this blog, you will learn what is D2C ecommerce, what are the pros and cons of D2C ecommerce, and how to start or scale your D2C business.

What is D2C ecommerce?

Direct-to-consumer, or D2C ecommerce, refers to the model in which ecommerce brands sell their products directly to the customer without involving an intermediary such as a vendor, a reseller, or a retailer.

D2C Ecommerce
D2C Ecommerce

D2C brands are solely responsible for the entire process, including marketing the products, selling them, and shipping them to the customers. They sell their products through their ecommerce website or social media platforms.

Kalki Fashion selling its products on its Instagram handle
Kalki fashion selling its products on its website

Kalki Fashion selling its products on its Instagram handle
Kalki Fashion selling its products on its Instagram handle

What are the pros and cons of D2C ecommerce?

Pros of D2C ecommerce

  • Control over branding

D2C ecommerce gives ecommerce brands total control over branding, distribution, customer engagement, and reputation. This means your brand image cannot be affected by a poor-performing retailer or any other middlemen. Instead, you have to manage your brand image by simply meeting your branding standards.

  • Better brand-consumer relationship

D2C ecommerce allows you to directly deal with your customers, helping you strengthen your relationship with them. D2C brands generally engage with their customers via social media with content, giveaways, and contests. This helps them reach customers while building a great brand experience.

  • Consistent experiences

Since D2C brands have complete control over every aspect of ecommerce, they can ensure that consumer experiences are consistent across multiple channels—brand website, social media, and emails.

  • Quality assurance

D2C brands maintain complete transparency regarding the quality of their products. Since they deal with the customers directly, they have greater responsibility and accountability for the quality of their products. Moreover, customers also trust dealing directly with the brand instead of various middlemen.

  • Better profit margins

In traditional retail, the involvement of too many middlemen decreases the margin for the brand. In contrast, as there are no middlemen in D2C ecommerce, profit margins stay intact for the brand. Moreover, prices also stay low for the customers.

Cons of D2C ecommerce

  • Cut-throat competition

A significant challenge of D2C ecommerce is that brands have to compete with large retailers like Amazon and Flipkart. This means D2C brands struggle to gain visibility and earn the trust of the customers. Moreover, the delivery standards (fast and free shipping), offers and discounts of such magnates are very tough to match.

  • The need to multitask

In D2C ecommerce, brands always have to juggle various business functions such as manufacturing, marketing, and order fulfilment.

  • Deteriorating shopping experience

As stated above, D2C brands do everything on their own. This constant juggling of tasks results in a poor customer experience. For instance, you may observe that your order accuracy is declining—customers are delivered incorrect or damaged products.

  • Lack of expertise

When you fulfil your D2C orders on your own, you simply pick, pack, and ship—not necessarily in the most efficient and cost-effective way. You need the expertise to achieve greater cost savings and increased efficiency.

How to get started and increase sales for your D2C business?

1. Establish your brand identity

The first step to attaining success in D2C ecommerce is establishing a strong brand image. For that, you need to set standards for your branding and ensure that those standards are always maintained. You can start from:

  • The look and feel of your website
  • What message do you want to convey to your customers through branding
  • Does your product range resonates with your brand mission
  • How are your products packed and delivered

Your brand identity should be clear and consistent across every sales channel you sell and at every customer touchpoint.

Here are some questions that can help you define what your brand is all about:

  • What is your brand’s unique selling proposition (USP)?
  • What makes your brand different from the competition?
  • What does your brand stand for?
  • What kind of personality and voice defines your brand?

Once you’ve answered all the above questions, you can create brand style guides and mission statements. These will help you set up a foundation to meet your branding standards.

2. Set up your online stores

Since you are eliminating all the intermediaries, it’s essential that you connect with your customers at a deeper level by being available on every means possible. Moreover, you need to ensure that you offer a seamless way for your customers to buy your products.

Building a strong online presence involves two things—setting up online stores and being present on every social media platform. You can easily set up your online store with a shopping cart and use social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, and more) for direct sales.

Shopping carts

Social media platforms

3. Create a strong online presence

For a D2C brand, it's crucial to create a creditable image through digital presence.

This will help you instil confidence in your audience that you are a legitimate brand. Moreover, it will also help you drive more traffic to your product listings. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Use Facebook, Pinterest, Whatsapp, Instagram and other platforms to attract customers
  • Use email marketing, SEO, and SMS marketing
  • Collaborate with social media influencers and celebrities
  • Host giveaways and contests to engage with your followers (prospective customers)
  • Pay extra attention to customer feedback by reverting them to give assurance

Charles and Keith maintains a strong online presence
Charles and Keith maintains a strong online presence

4. Use marketing strategies and merchandising techniques

Emerging D2C brands often struggle to get customers because they’re still building a name for themselves. At this time, online shoppers may still be hesitant to buy your products. To win the trust of prospective customers, you can implement some marketing strategies and merchandising techniques to attract customers.

  • Offer free samples so that online shoppers can test your products without spending on them
  • Run ad campaigns such as Google ads or Facebook ads that appear on search engines, mobile apps, and videos
  • Run promotional events like a flash sale and festive sale on your online stores
  • Offer free shipping on all orders or above a minimum cart value
  • Offer product kits and bundles that can increase the perceived value of the purchase
  • Display customer reviews on product listings to as social proof

Free product samples
Free product samples

5. Partner with a 3PL provider

One of the most challenging aspects of managing D2C ecommerce is end-to-end order fulfilment. The entire process of figuring out ecommerce logistics and ensuring that orders are delivered on time while saving costs can be highly complicated.

Rather than managing it all on your own, you can consider partnering with a 3PL (third-party logistics) provider like Eshopbox.

  • Outsourcing your order fulfilment to Eshopbox means that you have experts taking care of order processing, fulfilment, and shipping. This can save you tons of time and lets you streamline the entire fulfilment process so that you can focus on your core business operations.
  • With the right 3PL provider like Eshopbox, you offer lightning-fast shipping while reducing shipping costs. For example, Eshopbox gives you access to a distributed network of fulfilment centres where you can store your inventory across India. This allows you to ship out orders from the nearest fulfilment centre, so they reach customers in the shortest amount of time possible while minimising shipping costs.
  • Partnering with a 3PL provider allows you to provide a seamless delivery experience and meet your branding standards with custom packaging.
  • You can strengthen your reputation as a D2C brand that provides an exceptional customer experience —without breaking the bank. Eshopbox’s usage-based pricing, i.e. pay-as-you-go pricing, ensures seamless order fulfilment without draining your financial resources.

6. Focus on customer experience

Satisfying customers is the fundamental goal of all businesses. If you want to grow your D2C brand, you must delight your customers. With Eshopbox, you can create an Amazon-like experience for your customers by:

Marks & Spencer's send proactive order updates
Marks & Spencer sends proactive order updates

Kimirica curates a great unboxing experience
Kimirica curates a great unboxing experience

Bottom line

D2C ecommerce has gained massive popularity in the past few years, and it’s here to stay! In order to meet customer expectations and compete with ecommerce giants, D2C brands need to ramp up their order fulfilment capabilities and deliver a delightful customer experience. Thankfully, 3PL providers like Eshopbox can help D2C brands to grow faster by taking order fulfilment off their hands and enabling them to focus on core business operations. This will help them delight their customers and attain long-term growth without any hiccups.

Connect with our fulfilment expert today.

Talk to sales

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