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Jon Croft, Sales Director
Jon Croft, Sales Director 09 October 2020

Why a route to D2C sales must be the top priority for brands

Our October 2020 webinar laid bare the challenge brands face in rolling out a direct-to-consumer sales channel – and the importance of getting it right for 2021 and beyond…

Jon Croft, Sales Director
Jon Croft, Sales Director 09 October 2020

Our October 2020 webinar laid bare the challenge brands face in rolling out a direct-to-consumer sales channel – and the importance of getting it right for 2021 and beyond…

Our webinar Get retail right in 2021 – how to prepare for the ride (which took place 8 October 2020), explored how retail businesses and brands who sell through retail stayed successful amid 2020’s crisis, and what can be learned.

Part of that webinar involved some ‘ask the audience’ sections, and the findings from those interactions speak volumes about current priorities for businesses looking to survive and thrive into an uncertain 2021.

What we learned from our audience was that most brands haven't moved beyond using data for 'insight and research' purposes. The ecommerce techniques in use aren't joined up across channels.

The missing link to achieve high-converting, laser targeted, measurable D2C brand experiences is the ability to build 1st party data and an addressable audience. Here's what our audience told us.

Ecommerce tops priority lists

In the past five years, internet sales as a proportion of all retail has jumped from 11.5% to 26.6%. Our audience of mostly FMCG and retail brands have clearly taken heed of this.

We asked them:

Where do you see most investment in 2021?

They said:

6% Physical in store experience

61% Ecommerce

42% Omnichannel

3% CRM

The results from this straw poll show a huge focus on ecommerce with 61% citing that as a priority. Bringing channels together at 42% is also very important to marketers (and it’s safe to say that many people picked both).

Physical and CRM are not topical on their own – selling online and making the customer journey more coherent across channels is seen as the biggest driver towards a successful future.

You can read more about joining up your customer journeys in retail in our Customer centric retail resource. 

Direct to consumer (D2C) selling high on agendas

Next, we asked the audience about D2C. Lockdown saw many traditional brands pivot towards D2C relationships and sales in a bid to keep product moving. Indeed, on a past webinar, we used this graphic to sum up the situation:

covid as digital transformation driver

Our question to our webinar audience this time around was:

How important is direct to consumer (D2C) to your business?

16% The most important part

31% A real focus at the moment

28% An equal part of the mix

16% Low priority

9% Not relevant for our business

This is a giant shift for brands that traditionally sell through retail. D2C is either the most important part or a tactical focus for 75% of people on the webinar. So, enabling that channel with robust tech infrastructure and feeding it leads through digital is absolutely key to success.

Data sophistication – a temperature check

D2C relies on data – both in terms of customer data and in terms of identifying and nurturing leads. So a sophisticated setup when it comes to collecting and activating data is an important enabler when it comes to ramping up ecommerce and D2C selling.

Our next poll garnered telling results.

We asked:

What are you doing to drive D2C relationships?

46% We capture customer data for insight and research

31% We have a clear direct customer acquisition strategy

23% We run campaigns and understand the cost to serve across each direct channel

15% We have a completely joined up multichannel customer engagement model

What this is telling us: there is a gap between data and activation. Less than 40% of people say they have a sophisticated D2C approach. Most still only use data for insight and research. 

This really is the key takeout from our webinar content (which you can explore here). Marketers recognise the importance of ecommerce in the current market situation, and are taking steps to invest in it. But the sticking point is often the brand’s ability to take the data they’ve collected and activate it to drive more leads and more sales. 

The end goal should be to communicate with consumers on an individual basis. Imagine if you could send personalised communications across the likes of Facebook, email, and VoD platforms, addressable to the individual rather than an approximated segment. 

This is we do at Indicia Worldwide. By helping brands build first-party opted-in data, we create an addressable audience of valuable prospects. 

We've developed a new, fixed-price product that gets brands started in delivering D2C growth.

Download the factsheet

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