Selling directly to your customers via a direct to consumer (D2C) ecommerce platform can take your traditional business to new levels of profitability.
Rather than selling via wholesalers, distributors, and retailers to reach your customers you can directly control the quality, branding and customer service. You will also gain valuable insights about your market and develop a more customer-centric culture in your organization.
You can maximize your profits because third parties won’t be involved, and you will build relationships directly with your customers. Since research has shown that more than half of customers prefer to buy directly from manufacturers rather than from retailers, you can also take advantage of a new and growing potential market.
Key features of a great D2C ecommerce platform
✓ NAVIGATION, DESIGN AND CONTENT
Your customers must like what they see on your D2C website and they will be heavily influenced by their online retail experiences. You will need to understand your market to know how best to attract your customers’ attention and meet their needs. The benefit is that you will be in control the way your business and products are represented.
Your D2C site must have a professional high-quality design and be easy to use with intuitive navigation and search tools. It must work well on desktop PCs, laptops, smartphones and tablets. Your content must also be of the highest quality, adding value to your customers’ experiences and helping them to make their purchase choices.
✓ EASE OF USE
It should be simple and secure for new customers to sign up to your site so repeat purchases are hassle-free. Artificial intelligence (AI) can support helpful recommendations based on user data. Make it easy for your customers to add items to their shopping basket or create a wish-list and, when they’re ready to checkout, payment should be as frictionless as possible.
✓ SUPPORT FOR YOUR RETAIL CHANNELS
You’re not competing with your retailers; rather you are offering an alternative to your customers. Make the decision easy for them by offering the option to find their nearest stockist.
✓ ADVANCED SECURITY
A long and difficult registration process will damage your online conversion rate, so it’s important to make it easy while reassuring your customers that it’s safe to buy via your site. It should be possible to pay securely by debit or credit card and via options like PayPal, for example.
✓ THE COST OF YOUR D2C ECOMMERCE PLATFORM.
You will want to achieve a good return on your investment, so before you start your D2C journey you will need a realistic picture of the costs involved in creating and running your D2C site.
✓ BUSINESS REQUIREMENTS
To begin this process, you will need to evaluate your requirements. This will include assessing the size of your business and the amount and type of online traffic you want and expect. Timescales will be important too – a lengthy decision-making process won’t necessarily improve your results and you could fall behind your competitors.
The type, needs, and expectations of your customers will help you to decide whether you can successfully implement your plans with a pre-templated site that you can customize or whether you will need something unique.
Depending on your online strategy, you might decide to launch a basic site to establish the viability of D2C sales before making a major investment.
One of the most important factors affecting cost is the ecommerce functionality you need. As a minimum you will require real-time product management, a shopping cart, and multiple payment options. You might also have customization requirements to provide an effective configure-price-quote (CPQ) or product builder software on your site.
While you might find plug-in options, you will be responsible for compatibility, maintenance and security. If a third-party developer withdraws support, you could face a business-critical risk in the future. Alternatively, you can choose a B2B ecommerce platform that offers a comprehensive range of features and which has a powerful application programming interface (API) that will allow you to create your own customized online services.
If you are selling directly to your customers you will need to deliver your products to them. Your fulfillment software should effectively handle orders and updates, send notifications, communicate with delivery partners and generate invoices where needed. Depending on your market sector you might be able to use a general-purpose solution or you might need something tailored to your specific requirements.
If selling directly is new to your company you will need to consider your marketing and promotional needs. These will be ongoing costs to establish and maintain demand for your products whether you choose to create your content in-house or via a third party.
Your D2C ecommerce platform must also be well maintained to run efficiently. You will need to carry out regular reviews and updates for technical quality and reliability, security risks, content and user experiences. Depending on the size of your catalog and the number of online customers you have, this could represent a significant ongoing cost. Choosing a software as a service (SaaS) ecommerce solution means that much of this burden will be covered by your monthly subscription.
Your D2C ecommerce options
Launching a whole new D2C sales channel can be a complex activity. If you already have a B2B ecommerce platform then managing multiple sites can become a challenge.
Additional enterprise resource planning (ERP) integration and software user licenses can all add to your costs.
Cloudfy is a SaaS solution that offers you powerful feature rich D2C ecommerce that can work effectively alongside your B2B ecommerce platform. You’ll have industry-leading ecommerce functionality straight out of the box that will allow you to simplify and scale your operation.
Book a free Cloudfy demonstration to find out more.