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Key challenges of D2C activities

Written by Sven Van Hoorebeeck

The interface of the future is proactive, requires zero effort, is invisible, and especially personalized. In many cases, this personalization results in a filter on everything. Think about the Amazons in this world that suggest certain products or the Facebooks that show ‘personalized’ advertisements. It becomes more difficult for brands to reach their customers, as they are often filtered out from the platform. Therefore D2C offers a good alternative: Customers interact directly with the brand or company, and no external platform is needed.

D2C brings many opportunities for both customers and manufacturers, however, the challenges also need to be considered. There are four key challenges related to D2C for manufacturers:

1. Providing a unique value proposition

A direct-to-consumer channel must benefit the consumer that classic B2C and B2B channels do not offer. A D2C channel can deliver unique value in several ways:

  • Lowering prices, reflecting the decrease of intermediary costs

  • Easing the purchasing process by eliminating repetitive purchasing actions or taking out a specific burden of the process, such as transporting a mattress from the shop back home. Casper[1] and Emma[2] are two examples of D2C mattress sellers that fully focus on this value proposition.

  • Differentiating the offer or providing other benefits for the consumer such as personalization and customization

  • Increasing the brand experience through direct touchpoints with the consumer

Overall, a unique value will incentivize customers to change their purchasing habits. Too many companies have failed in D2C because they provided similar offers as in B2C.

2. Understanding the differences between B2B or B2C customers and D2C customers

A D2C channel has different implications than B2B and B2C. D2C customers expect a higher customer service, product/ service novelty, and a stronger brand connection than in retail.

  • It implies leveraging new capabilities for B2B manufacturers: Marketing capabilities to reach the direct end consumer

  • Customer support for a quality customer service

  • Community management for a wholesome brand experience

Manufacturers that fail to develop closer customer relationships will not succeed in D2C.