The pandemic has fueled an explosion in online buying, yet too many brands are only along for the ride, relying on their retail partners to share glimpses of first-party data that show past demand rather than a clear and predictive road map to future growth.
There’s no question that ecommerce is exploding right now—in fact, the latest eMarketer data shows retail ecommerce sales increased 32.4% in 2020. However, its share of overall consumer spending still pales to the overall power of omnichannel selling: ecommerce represents 14.4% of total retail sales, which means over 85% of retail sales are still happening offline. While direct-to-consumer (D2C) selling can boost revenues, its true power is its ability to give marketers the insights they need to succeed across all channels, partnerships and marketing strategies.
“A D2C strategy offers marketers the opportunity to understand their own consumers like never before,” says Lance Porigow, head of the ecommerce growth practice at The Shipyard. “Simply put, selling directly to consumers enables a two-way dialogue with your customers that is yours alone, generating extremely valuable first-party data.”
At The Shipyard, we believe it’s essential for marketers to build their own D2C sales channel, not only to build incremental revenue but for insight into the data that can drive conversations, relationships and sales across all channels. The goal is not only to better understand what drives buying behavior, but to replicate success long term.
“Today it is essential for marketers to expand their ecommerce practice, even if the majority of their products are sold through brick-and-mortar channels,” says The Shipyard CEO Rick Milenthal. “Ecommerce is not only a way to expand D2C sales, it also improves all marketing with an exponential expansion of first-party data identifying new audiences that can be reached through customized creative messaging.”
Only by capturing, leveraging, and extracting actionable customer insights from data can brands create truly relevant and motivating creative messaging, engage consumers at scale, and drive repeatable growth. Based on this premise, The Shipyard developed a proprietary “Reverse Segmentation” methodology to identify hundreds of profitable audiences that allows brands to scale exponentially as every audience becomes another revenue stream.
Adds Milenthal: “Too many marketers aren’t listening to the hundreds of micro audiences already interacting with their brand. As a result, many potential messages and deep personal connections are being lost.”
Moreover, reverse segmentation enables you to truly know your customer. By creating a D2C capability, brands are able to translate their own unique value proposition into highly targeted performance marketing strategies designed to speak individually to the biggest possible audience. It’s about widening the funnel by winning over one audience at a time. The goal is to motivate and grow a D2C sales channel a client can own, control, and track even as they grow supplemental revenue.
Such behavioral insight is valuable for retail partners, too, leading to more shelf space and visibility in something we call the Digital to Retail Success Loop.
“A D2C strategy offers marketers the opportunity to build better credibility with retailers to increase distribution because you know how to motivate audiences at scale to pull products off their shelves,” says Porigow.
Not surprisingly, these newly gained—and owned—data analytics also can drive media and advertising strategy by revealing where each dollar can have the most impact. First-party data enables more efficient targeting, deeper relevance and dynamically personalized experiences to many audiences simultaneously to drive exponential growth.
To learn more about how D2C ecommerce strategy can fuel your brand growth, visit The Shipyard.