7 Steps for Setting Up a DTC Sales Channel
The rise of e-commerce websites and online solutions has changed how products reach consumers. In times past, a manufacturer had to go through the traditional trade channel to get his products to the final consumer. This involved the wholesalers and retailers, referred to as the middlemen. With e-commerce, Direct to Consumer (DTC), more efficient model for manufacturers to get their products to consumers.
What Does DTC Offer?
Every consumer product has a manufacturer, and this is a given. DTC alters the way a manufacturer gets their products to the consumer. It completely cuts out the middleman and allows the manufacturer to sell directly to the consumer. This presents a host of advantages, such as:
- Increased profit margins for manufacturers
- Direct access to customer information
- Increased chance to direct how you pass your brand messaging to your customer
- Increased access to a diverse customer base
- Customer feedback aids innovation
Considering the above-mentioned advantages, how can manufacturers get into selling directly to their customers?
Steps to Kickstart Your DTC Journey
Here are 7 steps that are instrumental in integrating the DTC sales channel into your manufacturing business.
Step 1: Know Your Customer
This goes without saying, know the customers your products appeal to. This will mean going online and conducting market research, getting into the minds of your potential customers, and creating fitting buyer personas.
Knowing your customers is vital to all businesses, but more so for those going through the DTC sales channel. Why? This is because access to your customers is now direct, so you do not have a middleman to take the fall if anything goes wrong. This step provides you with a lot more information to work with, and you can measure the impact of your products on your customers. Knowledge of your customers’ needs and preferences is key to selling directly to the consumer.
Step 2: Create Your Brand Image
Having a good product is great, but making sure your product stands out in the marketplace is very important. The best way to do this is through branding. Branding is not just for the product but for the company too. Creating a brand image encompasses how the company is viewed. As a result, social media and social work have become potent tools for influencing customer perceptions. Hiring a brand manager or a branding agency, depending on your budget, will radically increase your success rate.
Step 3: Take Stock of Your Inventory
While selling directly to customers involves a lot of online activities, as a manufacturer, you cannot overlook your manufacturing process. Taking stock occasionally and learning to be dynamic with sales is critical for your success using the DTC sales channel. Organizing your inventory with ERP tools like Katana ERP, Megaventory, Odoo, and Fishbowl, will help you stay on top of changing market demands.
Step 4: Prepare A Marketing Budget
Employing the DTC sales channel without a proper marketing budget will not pay you well in the end. Having a budget would help you tailor your focus and what goals become your priority, especially if you are testing the DTC waters for the very first time. Checking out the competition is also vital for creating an appropriate budget.
Step 5: Engage in Influencer Marketing
Building a brand takes time, but there are other ways to reach out to customers that align with the brand you are building. Influencer marketing is one sure way to do this. Influencers already have an established base and fans aligned with their views. To use influencer marketing, you would need to pick influencers that align with the brand image you are building. A great benefit of influencer marketing is the fact that you can choose to pay influencers on a sales/customer brought basis, so you pay for the conversion you get.
Step 6: Welcome Customer Feedback
Customer feedback is vital in a DTC sales channel. It can influence how you move forward with your mode of reaching out and help you improve your products. Constantly receiving feedback and applying them helps your brand image by improving how your brand is perceived. Customers love being listened to, and a company that has been able to do this well with the DTC sales channel is Asphalte.
Step 7: Create Fantastic Checkout and Post-sale Services
DTC sales are made online more often than not to create the best customer experience. You have to make sure the checkout process is smooth and easy. Using an intuitive UI on your ecommerce website is one way to achieve this. Beyond the checkout and sale post sales, services such as the return of faulty products and guides on maximizing product use are essential for a successful transition to a DTC sales channel.
Setting up a successful DTC sales channel is an effective way to make sales as a manufacturer, but it requires a good command of current and predicted marketing data. Following the correct steps that are tailored to your business will allow you to break into the market and stay ahead of the competition.