If you’re launching your direct-to-consumer business, you need to think about how you plan on building stronger customer relationships with the people you hope to buy from you.
In general, D2C products are much more expensive as they can’t rely on a distributor placing them in department stores or online multi-vendor marketplaces.
Not only that, but you constantly have to deal with increasing amounts of competitors.
D2C companies that not only survive but thrive are those who emphasize doing right by their customers.
The only way to do that successfully is by finding ways to build good customer relationships with all of them.
In this post, we’re going to break down the process and provide you with 6 strategies you can start implementing today.
- the importance of interacting with your customers and how you can go about doing that
- Why you need to invest heavily in content if you want to win
- When you build stronger customer relationships, you can effectively justify higher price points.
- How building relationships with other vendors strengthen the relationship you have with your customers
- How to optimize every touchpoint along the customer journey
Remember your customers want interaction
There’s a reason some customers prefer to buy direct from the manufacturer than going to a multi-vendor site.
They feel that across the board from browsing the website, purchasing reaching out to customer support that they have a better chance at speaking with someone who understands their products.
But you’ll be surprised as to how many d2c vendors don’t take the time to interact with their customers (unless they reach out to them first)
It goes without saying that a stellar customer support channel will set you leagues ahead of your competition and show your customers that you have a willingness to support their needs.
But beyond that, what measures do you take to speak with your customers?
If you run a mailing list, why not try something different and instead of using your emails to sell your products or market your business, find out more about your customers, their frustrations and issues and overall, open a channel of direct communication.
In this email, the e-commerce vendor lets the customer know that an item they’ve previously looked at is now cheaper in price.
Keeping a constant line of communication open is a sure-fire way to build long-lasting strong relationships.
You’ll be surprised by what you can find out and use to your advantage to better serve the people that make your business possible in the first place.
Invest heavily in content
There’s a common misconception that when people say “invest in content” you need to go out straight away and write 109 blog posts in order to make sales.
While written blog content is good, and should be part of your larger customer acquisition and e-commerce SEO strategy, here we’re talking about a range of multimedia content.
This could be in the form of blog content, Instagram content, a podcast.
Outdoors company, REI, for example, has an entire YouTube channel where they post helpful, interesting content for not only existing customers but potential customers too.
They have almost 200,000 subscribers on YouTube and generate thousands of views per video. Now not everyone who watches their video will necessarily become a customer, but many will do.
The reason creating effective content is so important for D2C companies is because you show your customers that you understand not only their initial desire for a specific product, but you understand their interests on a wider level.
You need to justify your pricing
For the most part, D2C products are more expensive than average.
Take a look at this example. Harry’s is a D2C store that specializes in men’s razors and grooming supplies.
This Razor will cost you £18.
But if you go on Amazon and search for men’s razors, you can find a razor with 8 replaceable heads for much less.
If Harry’s wants to ensure their customers buy from them and not Amazon, they need to make sure they’ve built strong relationships with the people who are browsing for these products.
But to charge this high price point and succeed you do need a strong relationship with your customers, or show you’re willing to develop one. Consumers need a reason to buy from you at the price you set instead of going for a cheaper option.
If you have a good customer relationship with the people you’re selling to and they understand the reasons why you run your business, they’re much more likely to be willing to offer you their money, even if you do charge more than other vendors.
Build relationships with other vendors
You don’t just have to make it about yourself either. Many D2C companies are finding innovative ways to partner with other vendors on specific product launches that enables both e-commerce stores to generate wider reach and potential new sales.
If you know there is a product (not a competitor) that your customers might also have an interest in, why not see if there are ways you can partner with other vendors to give your customers something different.
For example, Glossier and Barkbox partnered up to create a new line of dog toys.
Now, these two vendors aren’t competing with each other, but their audiences are aligned.
Optimize every step on the customer journey
Before a customer decides to be a customer, they go through several stages. The first is awareness. This is where they realize they have a problem and seek out ways to solve their problems. The second is a consideration, this where they actively look for products and compare options. The third is the evaluation. This where they weigh up the pros and cons of one specific product to make their final decision.
Your role as a D2C e-commerce vendor is to optimize the entire journey to ensure that your business is the one they consider throughout the entire customer journey.
By creating helpful touchpoints where customers and potential customers can reach out to you directly you begin to build your relationships with them, even before they’ve become a customer.
Then, once you’ve made a sale, you need to keep them loyal. Many e-commerce vendors pay less attention to retention and think just getting the sale is enough to keep a customer happy.
In actual fact, to keep your customers happy you need to go above and beyond, even after the sale is made.
How are you going to build stronger customer relationships?
Now you’ve got some ideas about how you can build better relationships with your customers, it’s time to start taking action.
Whether you’re going to optimize your customer journey, create partnerships with other D2C brands or build a better brand, the power really is in your hands.
What are you doing to create stronger relationships with your customers? Leave a comment below.