The case for selling direct-to-consumer brands is compelling.
To state the obvious: DTC brands have much more control over the customer’s experience than brands that sell through traditional retail channels.
The main reason? A considerable amount of valuable first-party data to connect with prospects and customers on a one-to-one basis is at their disposal.
That means the pressure to build brand loyalty and serve up personalized experiences is mounting for direct-to-consumer brands in all corners of the DTC market.
Direct-to-consumer brands: A giant, potentially lucrative retail opportunity
Even big brands are adopting a DTC approach. Nike says its DTC sales will grow by almost 2.5 times within five years: from $6.6 billion in 2015 to $16 billion by 2020.
Competition is fierce between companies that start off as direct-to-consumer brands and traditional retail brands moving into the growing DTC space.
Both have the advantage of first-party customer data. However, as marketers at direct-to-consumer brands can attest, your first-party data is, and will remain, an untapped goldmine if you don’t have the ability to activate it when and where you need to.
That’s why DTC brands are adopting customer data platforms (CDPs) like BlueConic, which can help them liberate their first-party data for marketing.
Here are a few ways direct-to-consumer brands are benefiting from CDPs today.
1. Building a single customer view from all data sources
It starts with unifying all your data to build a single view of the customer for marketing.
Ownership over your own customer data is what sets you apart from brands that sell through traditional retail channels. But all of this data is likely scattered across different systems like an e-commerce platform, email marketing platform, and CRM, to name a few.
So, you lack the ability to segment and activate this data based on a single source of customer data truth. But are these systems talking to one another to help you segment and activate this data?
BlueConic can help you get you a single view of your customer by unifying data at the individual level across systems.
For instance, site browsing data and purchase history can live in one place. RAEN Optics uses dynamic shipping messages based on location, time of day, and products shoppers have shown interest in to create a sense of urgency and complete the purchase.
2. Providing dynamic, relevant product recommendations
As a DTC company, every customer interaction is an opportunity to learn something new and deliver something relevant (and, perhaps, cross-sell and upsell).
The key it to deliver these one-to-one experiences in real time, which requires advanced machine learning models, like those offered in our customer data platform.
BlueConic algorithmically determines which products to recommend to prospects and customers based on each individual’s behaviors, interests, and preferences.
For example, if an individual recently bought a pair of pants, you can serve recommendations for complementary products (e.g., a shirt that matches her preferred style) or content they care about (e.g., “10 fall styles to know about”).
Relevant product and content recommendations will increase engagement and conversions.
3. Retargeting customers across channels and devices
In 2017, one-third of ecommerce sales happened on mobile devices. By 2020, that figure was projected to elevate to more than 50%. Quite the jump.
What’s more, according to Nielsen, American consumers spend almost 11 hours a day consuming media across platforms and own an average of four devices.
For direct-to-consumer brands, that means customers clearly shop on many channels and devices, meaning they need to optimize for those channels and devices accordingly.
A customer might browse on a mobile device to learn about a particular product, for instance, then switch to their laptop to buy. You’ll waste ad spend if you continue to target them on a mobile device with an ad for a product they’ve already bought.
BlueConic can help you reduce ad spend waste and improve targeted advertising efficiency by recognizing the same individual across channels and devices.
Consider this scenario.
You’ve planned a Facebook campaign to promote shoes available for purchase on your website, but you have a limited ad budget, so you don’t want to waste impressions on targeting individuals who are unlikely to purchase — a common pain point for advertisers.
With our CDP, you can define a segment based on a combination of interest and behavioral attributes that will enable you to be highly targeted and efficient with ad spend:
- Interest in shoes: any shoe, an affinity for a specific brand of shoe (e.g., New Balance, Adidas), preference for a type of shoe (e.g., sneakers, boots), etc.
- Behaviors: recent activity (e.g., within the last seven days), a specific number of shoe product pages viewed, a click on a promotional email about shoes, a search for shoes, etc.
Once the segment is created, you can immediately activate it by passing the segment to Facebook via a certified connection to create a new Custom Audience for this campaign.
4. Bolster look-alike targeting by understanding customers
With BlueConic, you can build separate segments of “high-value item purchasers” or “frequent purchasers.” Both types of customer spend with you, but in different ways.
Understanding their differences can help you better find new customers — like those with similar purchase intent or patterns — who look and act like your top buyers.
Using a BlueConic Connection, you can also feed that segment data into a data management platform to conduct look-alike targeting and reach new audiences who might have similar interests, or purchase patterns but haven’t previously bought your product.
Download our in-depth case study on BlueConic customer Advantage Rent A Car to learn how the rental agency grows direct bookings with our pure-play CDP.