Have your own brand, your own product you sell online? Great! Can people tell by just looking at your website? Does your marketing reflect all you have put into the brand?
Unfortunately, working with direct-to-consumer brands, I see many fall for copying others in their marketing and failing to show the true value of their brand. Why? Because DTC brands often market themselves in the way dropshipping businesses do.
This doesn’t mean dropshipping is bad, it is just another ecommerce model and what works for it, doesn’t work for DTC brands.
Dropshippers compete on price and sometimes product selection. They have to be aggressive in advertising and engage in price wars. Price-sensitive customers are notoriously disloyal and any long-lasting relationship with them is impossible to form.
And since dropshippers resell their products, they don’t have much control over quality and can’t make changes. They also don’t ship the products themselves which means the packaging and unpacking experience cannot be customized. This often results in customer dissatisfaction, returns and bad reviews.
All this means dropshippers are always in acquisition mode, without a stable customer base and thus, not nurturing customer relationships over time. So, it becomes too hard to build a brand and grow profitably.
Having your own products means you have a bigger idea, a mission to change something. It means you’re actively creating a new solution to a problem. So you need to stand out.
Your brand cannot and should not look like every other similar seller out there. It should reflect your underlying values, the superiority of the solution and the quality.
Mistakes to avoid:
Studies show consumers prefer brands with a purpose so don’t be afraid to build your business around that.
If you want your brand to become a household name, you have to plan for the long run. Discounting to get the sale and never checking on the customer again is not a long-term strategy.
Your brand probably needs capital to keep growing and as soon as you turn a profit, the better. This is highly unlikely, though, if you overspend on acquisition and never get it back in sales.
Successful digitally native brands rely on word-of-mouth, personal referrals, and inbound marketing which are highly scalable as opposed to ads.
That’s why it’s crucial to monitor your returns on marketing activities:
With proper marketing performance reporting, you won’t be throwing money down the drain.
Murry Ivanoff, CEO of Metrilo, says, “What I see the most successful DTC brands we work with do is deliberately drive constant communication. They ask for feedback on new products, create useful content and are very frank and open about what goes on in the company, being active all the time so customers feel close and engaged.”
Native, a natural deodorant brand that worked with Metrilo from the start, worked out a simple but proactive feedback loop to gather feedback and improve its products. Customers loved the intimate connection and taking part in creating the product, which lead the brand to an acquisition by Procter & Gamble for $100 million.
If you want customer loyalty, make sure you communicate in non-intrusive way. This means tailoring marketing for different customers (or cohorts of similar behavior) by their exhibited buying behavior.
Using this data will make your marketing communication much more relevant and well-timed.
In contrast to dropshippers, you should focus on repeat orders from existing customers instead of converting new ones. Your brand can have a whole lifestyle built around it like Patagonia, for example. When you create the product with a certain vision in mind, winning over like-minded people should be top priority.
Repeat sales can be stimulated in different ways:
Overall, if you want to stand out from the dropshipping crows with your own products, makes sure people understand how you do things differently and that you are dedicated to quality. And always treat them well so they come back.