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The rise of direct to consumer brands

In a bid to regain control of the relationship with the consumer more and more companies are eschewing traditional sales journeys and are instead deciding to sell directly. Direct-to-consumer brands, or DTC, are on the rise, emboldened by the ease of ecommerce platforms such as Shopify and Magento they have discovered that they are able to connect with their customer base with relative ease and efficiency. In cutting out retailers and going direct to consumers, brands have increased control in the way in which they are perceived and thus are able to strengthen their brand identity.  Aided and abetted by social media, companies are able to connect directly to consumers and advertise in a personalised way that reflects their image and ethos.


Direct to consumer beauty brands

Take Glossier, for example, the beauty brand has amassed a cult following of cosmetic enthusiasts who buy into the aspirational aesthetic. Born from Into the Gloss, a website devoted to beauty products and tips, Glossier has become extremely profitable in a relatively short space of time.  Henry Davis, President and COO of Glossier, describes the stalemate that brands and retailers find themselves in; brands are reliant on the money from retailers and retailers on the consumers that brands attract. For this reason he believes that brands are failing to exploit the opportunity presented by ecommerce. Part of the company’s success can be attributed to the relationship that the brand has with its consumers, it is fawned over by beauty bloggers and online influencers and the brand’s decision to launch in the UK was met with a host joyous articles ready to usher in this new age of aestheticism. Speaking with Fast Company, Founder Emily Weiss divulged that their most replenished product (the Milky Jelly face wash) was directly developed from a conversation with their consumers. In cultivating a direct relationship with consumers, Glossier created a product that truly met the demand of their audience.

Further proving that they are in tune with their consumers Glossier have made their packaging deliberately Instagrammable. Intentionally minimalistic, from the product down to the pink, plastic pouch it arrives in, everything is designed with Instagram aesthetics in mind, “We think of things from a content perspective: How would this show up in a user-generated photo?”, Weiss comments. In a not dissimilar vein, Kylie Cosmetics, the eponymous makeup brand of Kardashian/Jenner spawn Kylie Jenner is a hugely successful ecommerce venture that harnesses Jenner’s social media following to great effect. With a Forbes cover under her Gucci belt, she is heralded as being on track to be the youngest self-made billionaire. The plaudit of ‘self-made’ has been highly debated given her family’s notoriety, but nevertheless Forbes estimated that Kylie Jenner was worth $900million at aged 20. Jenner has a captive audience of millions, speaking with Forbes she commented, “Social media is an amazing platform… I have such easy access to my fans and my customers.” The article goes on to note that Kylie Jenner has “monetized that [social media] to the extreme.”


Ecommerce platforms

In need of ecommerce platform to facilitate the insatiable demand for her cosmetic brand Jenner turned to Shopify. Shopify has imbued the less technologically savvy with the ability to directly sell their product without requiring in-depth knowledge of coding. For Harvey Finkelstein, Chief Operating Officer, digital ineptitude hinders the growth of entrepreneurs and Shopify helps to take away this barrier, allowing the young businesses to flourish. Shopify itself evolved from a direct to consumer company. After trying to launch Snowdevil, a website selling snow sport equipment, one of the founders was unsatisfied with the ecommerce software offering and instead built his own. From that Shopify was conceived and rapidly developed into the behemoth it is today.

Along with Kylie Cosmetics brands such as Nestle and Budweiser use the platform, as well as thousands of less well known businesses.  In fact, the platform boasts 600,000 businesses with $63bn+ sold and over 100,000 active users and can partially be credited, along with its contemporaries, with the rise in direct to consumer businesses. Shopify provides thousands of customisable templates and allows users to modify to suit their needs. Built-in CMS is offered as well as Shopify’s own ecommerce analytics system, and Google Analytics can be integrated too to ensure that you know your web visitors better than you know yourself.


Can we help?

The explosion of direct to consumer companies provides an interesting opportunity for savvy marketers who are aware of the enormous potential for the industry. At Spotlight Recruitment we are connected with talented professionals who are experts in ecommerce, so if you have a vacancy then please do get in contact to see how we could assist you.