The Future of E-Commerce Looks Bright
As we all have been sheltering in place in the midst of the global pandemic, e-commerce has been on the rise as many companies have had to close retail operations or simply shut down. Over the last six months, growth rates of e-commerce purchases have skyrocketed, accelerating a trend that began years prior to the pandemic.
For example, in May 2020 total online sales were up 77 percent year-over-year according to a report from Adobe. This rapid adoption and changing habits of a consumer economy leaves retailers and brands with an opportunity to earn the attention of these new, time-rich consumers looking to discover new digital experiences and brands.
The Rise of D-to-C
Another correlated trend to e-commerce has been the rise of direct-to-consumer (D-to-C) brands. These brands pride themselves on being digitally native on platforms like social networks and using the data from those apps to tailor an enriching customer experience without the overhead of many retail operations like legacy competitors.
With the e-commerce trend accelerating rapidly and uncertain when daily life will go back to “normal,” many legacy brands are actually looking to invest in their own D-to-C business. For example, Pepsi just launched two new D-to-C websites this spring. This investment by a legacy brand like Pepsi is an acknowledgment that D-to-C and e-commerce trends are here to stay.
Those companies that invest early will receive the bulk of the advantages, such as lower cost structure through to better customer data.
Components of a D-to-C Brand
Several key components are required to build a D-to-C brand. These could include storytelling, being digitally native, or having a distinctive brand identity. Storytelling is a crucial part of any company's brand identity, but for e-commerce brands, it's even more so. This is because they're constantly competing for the attention of prospects and customers. Therefore, it’s crucial they tell their story in a compelling manner.
New Digital Brand Experiences
Many of the top D-to-C brands, like Mallama, Glossier, and ReadySetJudy, have used interactive quizzes to better help guide customers to choose the right products and receive some value-added information from the respective brand. For example, skincare brands are using a skin type quiz which, through a series of questions about prospects’ skin issues and environments, can recommend the correct skincare routine. This personalized approach provides a digital concierge to ensure the customer gets recommended the right products. In turn, this increases customer satisfaction and provides better customer data for the brand.
Emergence of Voice Assistants
In today’s world, it's common practice to have a social media presence, but being a digital native is more than that. It means leveraging digital platforms and tools in ways that better align to customer experience and business goals. One great example of this is the new adoption of voice assistants, which almost a third of the U.S. population own as of April 2020, according to a survey by Voicebot. The technology also boasts more than 45 million active monthly users, making this platform a great chance for brands to create new branded experiences.
The final piece to a D-to-C brand is a strong brand identity. Especially today, consumers’ time and attention is a competitive space for brands. Therefore, to stand out, it's crucial for brands to have distinct and stimulating imagery that allow consumers to easily identify what audience the brand is speaking to, what it sells, and how that product is going to benefit their life. The combination of these strategies and trends demonstrates a world in which there's ample opportunity for legacy and startup brands alike.
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