Even Successful D2C Brands Aren’t JUST D2C – 5 Brands Crushing it

To D2C or not to D2C…Is THAT the question? In this increasingly ecommerce driven digital environment, either or isn’t really on the table anymore. Optimization is the key to ensuring brands are well poised for success in ecommerce and depending on how your brand is positioned and your organization is structured, a component of direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales can be a lucrative part of your sales model or a major disappointment. It’s not the right move to add this model to every business, but it certainly works well for some.

Doing D2C well requires some combination of several things:

  1. A strong brand and/or product
  2. A unique value proposition
  3. Competitive pricing
  4. A first-class shopping experience
  5. The resources and expertise to operate like a retailer

Whether you’re looking for strategies to increase your D2C sales, or you’re still deciding if it’s the right model to create or add to your business, it helps to study examples of brands that are doing it well, but also, knowing that most successful D2C brands, aren’t just D2C, they have a few more irons in the fire. Here are five brands that dominate D2C sales…AND more. 

1. Allbirds

Sales model: D2C + eRetail

Allbirds is an environmentally friendly footwear company that exclusively sells D2C. They make innovative shoes from responsibly sourced materials including wool, trees, sugar, and recycled bottles. Their entire brand and product line is built around sustainability, and they even invented new materials to create their unique line of shoes. Retailers can carry other brands with similar-looking shoes, but if sustainability is valuable to a consumer, buying directly from Allbirds is an obvious choice.

2. Untuckit

Sales model: D2C + eRetail 

Untuckit began by creating men’s dress shirts that were specifically designed to look good untucked, and since then they’ve expanded into clothing lines for women as well. But when you sell D2C and eRetail, it’s not enough just to have a unique product—because consumers can get it on Amazon or through another preferred retailer. Untuckit’s unique value proposition comes in the form of education and special deals. Buying clothes online from a brand you’ve never tried can feel risky because sizes vary so much. Untuckit’s interactive “find your fit” tool helps consumers feel more confident that they’re choosing the right size and style for them. They also have a referral program customers can use to take $25 off their purchase, plus other exclusive deals.

3. Casper

Sales model: D2C + eRetail 

Before Casper came along in 2014, buying a mattress online sounded ludicrous. They’re bulky and expensive to ship, and consumers were used to seeing, touching, and lying on mattresses in the store before spending hundreds of dollars on something they’d sleep on for years. But Casper put the consumer experience first, offering free shipping and returns along with a 100 night risk-free trial. It was far more convenient, and they eliminated the risk. That’s not all they did, though. Casper also invested heavily in content marketing, fighting to get their brand on every mattress review site and even going so far as to launch their own print magazine dedicated to sleep-related articles. Now, you can’t shop for a mattress anywhere without running into Casper, and their brand is strong enough that consumers still have plenty of confidence buying direct, where they can see the widest selection of Casper products and get a more in-depth shopping experience.

4. Nike

Sales model: D2C + eRetail 

Nike is the largest sportswear brand in the world. Their products are virtually everywhere, including more than 1,000 brick-and-mortar Nike stores and a retailer-like experience on their website. Consumers buy directly from Nike for many reasons, but one of the biggest incentives to shop on Nike.com is that you get access to the complete Nike catalog. Everyone carries Nike. But only Nike.com carries everything Nike has to offer.

5. Harry’s

Sales model: D2C +eRetail 

Harry’s was born out of frustration with the high cost of razors. They wanted simple, high-quality products that felt good to use, all at a fair price. When they asked around, they learned lots of guys were upset about the situation too, so they decided to do something about it. Fairly priced premium razors delivered right to your door on a subscription model service. But wait, there’s more, underestimated your order? No sweat, just drop by your local Target or many grocery stores and you’ll find them in the razor aisle along with some of their premium shaving products and accessories.

Should your brand sell D2C?

D2C can be an extremely lucrative sales model for some brands. But for some, investing in D2C sales is like sailing right into an iceberg. Whether or not it’s right for your brand ultimately depends on your business’s unique circumstances. But when in doubt…do your best to focus in and be in as many places as you can be. Who says you can’t have it all? 
In our free ebook, The Hype-free Guide To D2C: An All Channel Approach to Selling Your Brand, we’ll help you explore the potential pros and cons of D2C, as well as the factors that will help you determine the wisest choice for your organization.

Get your free copy.

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