Mastering DTC: 9 Tips to Ensure Success for Your Brand

Brahm Meka
July 23, 2023
8 min
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Direct to consumer brand - how to ensure success for your brand

The journey to profitability is a steep climb, especially for modern manufacturers. That's why it's crucial to strategize, arm yourself with the right tools, and preemptively tackle challenges before they even surface.

For the longest time, manufacturers were shackled to a system that required them to wade through retailers, wholesalers, and resellers to reach their audience.

Enter the 21st century, and thanks to the advent of e-commerce and digital technologies, direct-to-consumer brands are now flipping the script. They're toppling markets and connecting directly with customers, all without the need for a middleman.

This seismic shift has left intermediaries scrambling as consumers are magnetically drawn to manufacturers, all thanks to the connective power of the internet.

In 2020, DTC e-commerce sales were projected to reach $17.75 billion. According to estimates, these sales are expected to skyrocket to about $21 billion by 2025.

If you pause to ponder, it all adds up quite beautifully, don't you think?

DTC brands can offer lower-priced products, direct home delivery, and real-time customer interaction.

In the bustling, ever-evolving marketplace of today, the secret sauce to standing out amongst countless options is personalization. Shoppers today are enlightened and discerning, thoroughly evaluating factors like quality, intention, and ethical implications before making a purchase.

Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) brands are rising to the occasion, embracing innovative and unconventional strategies. Let's dive into these unique tactics and explore how they can catapult your brand to new heights.

Of course, the biggest challenge is finding the time to meet the escalating demands of customers in the midst of a whirlwind of responsibilities. It's like navigating a snowstorm, with each snowflake representing a task vying for your attention.

Thankfully, there is a way to weather this storm and manage your business with laser-like focus and precision.

The key lies in harnessing the power of cloud manufacturing technology. This will streamline your operations, freeing up your time to focus on product innovation, marketing, and nurturing customer relationships.

It's as straightforward as it sounds. Relieve the pressure by implementing software to handle the day-to-day tasks that otherwise consume a significant portion of your time. Duties like inventory management, procurement, production planning, and other daunting tasks can be efficiently managed.

This strategy enables you to focus on your ultimate goal - scaling your manufacturing enterprise.

But before we dive headfirst into that, let's take a closer look at what it takes to be a thriving modern DTC brand.

How to Be a Successful Direct to Consumer Brand

Let's unravel the mystery of Direct to Consumer (DTC) brands, shall we?

Imagine a business that designs, produces, advertises, sells, and delivers its products entirely on its own. That's a DTC brand in a nutshell.

But the gist of DTC brands goes beyond that. It's an intriguing mix of business, creativity, and social consciousness.

Typically, these brands craft innovative products that address a specific need, carry an inspiring backstory, and resonate with environmentally aware, socially conscious consumers.

From your everyday essentials, such as skin care products and food products, to the more stylish match sticks, the breadth of products available is enormous.

Indeed, the variety of sectors embracing this model is incredibly broad and diverse.

Despite their differences, there's a common thread weaving all these unique DTC brands into a shared tapestry.

For your brand to succeed in the DTC landscape, understanding and incorporating these elements in your unique style is crucial.

Here's a sneak peek into some of these commonly shared attributes:

1. Streamline Manufacturing Business

Scaling a direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand is like juggling multiple balls at once - drop one, and the whole act may falter. Sure, you've eliminated the middleman, boosting your profit potential, but with that comes a greater weight of responsibility.

Savvy manufacturers understand this delicate balance and turn to a secret weapon: Smart Manufacturing Software. This powerful tool integrates all aspects of their DTC business into a single, streamlined dashboard.

With inventory, production, and sales data all in one place, you can ditch those perplexing spreadsheets. Your focus can then shift to what truly matters: nurturing your product and cherishing your customers. Because, let's face it, you want to be the orchestrator of growth, not a firefighter.

For instance, Smart Manufacturing Software immediately lets you know if you have sufficient materials for a specific sales order. It seamlessly assigns materials to each manufacturing and sales order, ensuring no overlaps occur.

This level of control means you know exactly when to replenish materials, enabling you to deliver timely, hassle-free service to your customers.

Underestimating the transformative power of the right software on your scaling efforts is a mistake you don't want to make.

2. Weave Your Own Inspiring Tale

Take a page out of the book of Steph Korey, the brain behind Away Travel. She believes in the power of a good yarn, stating, "Storytelling is a central part of our marketing. Our focus? To create narratives that not only capture attention but also spark conversations on social media and amongst the press."

Why, you ask? Because your story has the magic to strike a chord with your customers, it's the secret sauce that makes your Direct to Consumer (DTC) brand unforgettable.

Are you fretting over not having a story that's worth telling? Toss those doubts aside! The simple passion you exhibit in crafting and selling products you adore is a riveting tale in itself. Embrace it! Share it on your website and splash it across your marketing campaigns.

The most successful DTC brands are those that are able to create a strong emotional connection with their customers.
- Michael Dubin

Trust us, your audience is waiting with bated breath.

3. Transparent with Customers  

You might be thinking, "Why should I reveal our company's secrets and processes?" Here's the twist - modern consumers are fascinated by the inner workings of your brand.

81% of consumers say they are more likely to buy from a brand that prioritizes transparency.

Why not indulge their curiosity? Detailing your business practices can foster a sense of trust and authenticity, which is gold in the world of direct-to-consumer.

Consider this - a whopping 89% of consumers will ditch brands that aren't transparent. That's a territory you'd rather not step into.

4. Prioritize Rapid Customer Service Responses

The beauty of going direct-to-consumer lies in the ability to foster a more intimate and immediate dialogue with your customers. This not only accelerates your insight into their needs but also paves the way for a more organic and enduring connection.

Ideally, you should strive to establish channels that deliver instant feedback to the customer. Live chat, for instance, offers a real-time means to address customer queries and issues. Remember, the clock is ticking - according to HubSpot, a whopping 60% of customers consider a response time of 10 minutes or less as 'immediate'.

5. Craft Compelling and High-Quality Content

In the vibrant marketplace of today, simply having a great product isn't enough. Today's discerning consumers crave brands that exude a genuine passion and love for what they offer. If you can craft a story that showcases your deep love for your product,

Let's tip our hats to Casper, the mattress mogul, for mastering this stratagem. They operate an online magazine, distinct from their principal sales platform, committed to promoting comfort and well-being. The genius of this maneuver is its crafty way of keeping its brand and product-centric conversations at the forefront of the consumer's mind.

Besides, there's another brand worth mentioning, Glossier. This direct-to-consumer beauty brand showcases its passion for products through its Into the Gloss blog. The blog, which predates the product line, allows Glossier to engage with its audience in an authentic and non-salesy way, talking about beauty trends, skincare routines and product reviews.

And let's not undermine the immense potential such an approach holds for generating a treasure trove of user-created content!

6. Harness the Power of Social Media

Social media isn't just for sharing food pics and vacation snaps. It's a powerful tool that can catapult your DTC brand to the next level. Seize this digital stage and showcase your brand's unique narrative and product offerings.

Use platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to engage with your audience directly. Run contests, share customer testimonials, and provide sneak peeks into your manufacturing process. The more transparent and authentic you are, the more trust you'll build with your customers.

Remember: Social media is a two-way street. It's not just about pushing your products. It's about listening, interacting, and building a community around your brand. Your followers' feedback is gold - use it to refine your offerings and improve your customer service.

Step 7: Craft a Distinctive Customer Journey

In the technologically advanced landscape of Direct to Consumer (DTC) commerce, brands have the unique opportunity to design impressive online storefronts that pledge not only timely delivery but also extend comprehensive support. However, what sets a DTC brand apart is its ability to offer a personal touch that genuinely demonstrates its commitment to accommodating the individual needs of each customer.

How can you achieve this personalized approach? A myriad of ways! It could involve customizing your product offerings or perhaps integrating a live chat function into your platform to address customer queries swiftly and efficiently. Make no mistake; personalization isn't merely a passing trend. It's a crucial facet of modern commerce. In fact, a survey conducted by Salesforce reveals a telling statistic:

75% of customers are likely to patronize businesses that provide personalized shopping experiences by 2020.

This finding underscores the necessity of personalization in the customer journey. It's not just about selling a product or service; it's about creating a distinctive experience that resonates with customers on a personal level.

8. Embracing Sustainability and Social Responsibility

The call for ethically sourced and sustainable products is louder than ever before, largely fueled by millennial and Gen Z consumers. Did you know that a whopping 73% of millennials are eager to open their wallets for products that prioritize sustainability?

Hence, it's crucial not only to commit to ethical sourcing and sustainable practices in your business operations but also to communicate these efforts to your customers effectively.

9. Leverage Data Analytics

Data is king in the digital age. It's the fuel that powers your DTC brand's growth engine. By collecting, analyzing, and using data wisely, you can make informed decisions and take your business to new heights.

Data analytics can help you understand your customers better. It can reveal their buying habits, preferences, and pain points. This valuable information can guide your product development, marketing, and customer service strategies.

Moreover, data analytics can shed light on your business performance. It can highlight your strengths, pinpoint your weaknesses, and identify opportunities for improvement. By making data-driven decisions, you can optimize your operations, maximize your profits, and scale your DTC brand effectively.

Spotlight on a Thriving DTC Brand

Manufacturers like “Crate 61” know that they need to be as customer-orientated as possible to stay ahead of the competition. On the one hand, that means communicating with them directly, and the other is making sure they find the time to do so.

So, clearly, there is some essence of a formula when growing your direct-to-consumer brand.

But what better way to get an understanding than a clear example?

Welcome, Crate 61.

Imagine a brand that offers sustainable and affordable skincare solutions like soaps and shampoos. It's a brand that cares not just for your skin, but for our planet too.

Check out company's approach to packaging and waste reduction.

Take a digital stroll through their website and you'll notice something special—it's a masterclass in how to be a successful DTC brand. It's as if they've checked off every point on the 'how to make it big' list.

They weave a compelling narrative, unveil the magic behind their processes, and tread lightly on our environment. They even share insider tips on product care, all while ensuring your shopping journey is as seamless as a silk robe.

And that’s exactly the kind of overall package you need to be aiming for.

PRO TIP: Wondering how Crate 61 found the time to focus on all of these elements?

So, what's the secret sauce to their success? It's their savvy adoption of Brahmin Solutions, a real game-changer in the realm of inventory management. By embracing this cutting-edge technology, Crate 61 was able to skyrocket their efficiency and profitability to unprecedented levels.

Challenges Faced by Direct to Consumer Brands

Let's cut to the chase here.

Navigating the world of direct to consumer brands isn't always a walk in the park. Indeed, greater opportunities often come hand-in-hand with increased responsibilities.

Gone are the days when you could sit back and let mass retailers handle your marketing and customer traffic. Now, the ball's in your court.

Thrilling? Absolutely. A cakewalk? Not quite.

Suddenly, you're juggling everything from your small business inventory management to production, sales, shipping, and even accounting all by yourself.

It's a lot to tackle, and without the right tools, it's easy to feel overwhelmed, particularly as your business starts to blossom and responsibilities multiply.

Here are two main challenges faced by Brands:

Expensive Advertising

Remember when e-commerce was just starting to bloom, and running ads was a sure-fire way to reel in new customers? Those were the days!

Fast forward to now, and we've seen a mammoth surge in advertising costs on major e-commerce platforms such as Amazon.

Just to give you an idea, the average cost of advertising on Amazon has sky-rocketed from a mere $0.78 in 2020 to a whopping $1.21 in 2021. That's almost a 50% increase in one year, with no signs of slowing down in Q3 of 2022.

And let's not forget about Facebook! The average cost-per-click of ads has shot up from $0.38 in 2020 to $0.974 in 2022.

Now, this creates quite a hurdle for Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) brands, especially small-scale ones. Competing with the big guns and their hefty ad budgets can seem like a losing battle.

But fear not, DTC brands! There's a silver lining. By exploring alternative strategies such as content marketing and user-generated content (UGC), you can navigate through these challenges and make your brand shine.

Consider this:

Dis you know that sleep masters at Eve boosted their revenue by a jaw-dropping 11% between 2020 and 2022? Here's the kicker - they did it while slicing their marketing budget by a staggering 40%! Their game-changer? They channeled their efforts into creating enlightening blog posts and cultivating a close-knit community around their brand.

Moreover, User-Generated Content (UGC) can be a powerful tool for DTC brands to foster authenticity and earn consumer trust. Believe it or not, people are 2.4x more likely to trust UGC content over brand content. Now, isn't that something to think about?

Scaling Profitability

Another hurdle DTC brands face is scaling their profitability as they grow.

CommerceNext's recent report states that 40% of respondents found profitability at scale as the biggest hurdle in e-commerce marketing.

This issue intensifies with the rapid growth of business responsibilities.

So, how do we tackle this beast?

Breaking Through as a Direct to Consumer Brand

Imagine a software that not only simplifies your order fulfillment process but also provides a bird's eye view of your entire business. That's exactly what Brahmin Solutions does. It's a user-friendly tool that lets you focus on what truly matters - scaling your DTC brand.

Embracing the direct-to-consumer e-commerce model is like hitting the jackpot. You call the shots for your brand, communicate directly with your customers, and increase your profit margins by sidelining the middleman. The benefits are simply too good to ignore.

After all, there's a compelling reason why 55% of customers prefer to buy directly from manufacturers over retailers. Not only is it more convenient, but it also forms a direct connection between consumers and brands. But here's a cherry on top – it’s not just about preference, it’s also about the numbers.

Make no mistake, the road to success for direct to consumer brands isn't without its fair share of hurdles.

As your brand begins to bloom, you'll find yourself knee-deep in product development and marketing, leaving you with little time to manage operational tasks.

But don’t fret - there's a solution in store for you with Brahmin Solutions Inventory and Smart Manufacturing Software.

Meet Brahmin Solutions - your one-stop software solution ready to help your business scale at a pace that suits you.

Say hello to the effortless management of inventory, production, and sales with Brahmin Solutions. Its visually appealing and intuitive dashboard makes it a dream to work with.

Here's a quick peek into the treasure trove of benefits it offers:

  1. Manage your raw material and finished product inventory
  2. Easily calculate manufacturing costs
  3. Use as a production management software
  4. Sync your accounting with Quickbooks MRP
  5. Branded B2B wholesale portal
  6. Integrate with eCommerce channels such as Shopify, BigCommerce, Squarespace, Woocommerce, and more.
  7. Plan your purchasing effectively
  8. Eliminate paper and inefficient excel spreadsheets
  9. Manage your business workflow on one dashboard

Setting it up is a breeze, and we're always here to lend a hand in getting your workflow firing on all cylinders.

The big takeaway? Brahmin Solutions is here to help you kick those cumbersome spreadsheets to the curb and keep your manufacturing business running like a well-oiled machine.

Because the secret sauce to a successful direct to consumer brand is time.

Time to perfect your product, engage with customers, and truly grow your business without being swamped by daily chores.

Brahm Meka
Founder & CEO

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