In recent years, market interest has gradually shifted towards direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands. Stay-at-home orders and declines in in-store shopping caused by the pandemic significantly accelerating these shifts. Operating relatively few retail stores and already having an active online presence, many DTC brands were uniquely positioned to weather disruptions caused by the cross-industry impact of COVID-19. With DTC, consumers usually come for the convenience but ultimately stay for the value and experience.

One thing is certain, ecommerce is definitely having a moment. U.S. consumers have spent an extra $183b online—equivalent to an entire holiday shopping season—during the pandemic so far. In fact, 2022 may be the first-ever trillion-dollar year in U.S. ecommerce.

But how can DTC brands keep this momentum going post-pandemic?

 

Meeting Evolving Consumer Expectations

Last year, retailers were forced to rework their operational, merchandising, and marketing strategies to align with changing consumer shopping habits. Consumers can now research brands and make more conscientious, informed buying decisions. With more choice in products and purchasing options than ever before, brands now have greater pressure to meet the needs of their consumers, and stand out in the crowd to effectively connect with them.

 

Reshaping the Retail Landscape

The transition to digital that has transformed many businesses in the last two decades hit hyperdrive last year. By the time stores reopen and a new normal emerges, these new digital-focused preferences will not only be a habit, but an expectation. Brands need to evolve into this new retail environment. Now is the time for brands to invest in the combination of consumer behavioral change and technology acceleration, the key drivers shaping the future of the retail industry.

By investing efforts into expanding their offerings, digital presence, and marketing impact, DTC brands can ensure that customers remain engaged and loyal—both online and offine. Many traditional companies are looking to position themselves to take advantage of the growth in online shopping. For example, CPG giants like PepsiCo, Kraft, Heinz, and Nestle have recently established DTC channels to get their brands directly in the hands of consumers.

Ecommerce has become a top priority for many brands. Nearly half of U.S. retail CFOs said they are pursuing digital transformation in 2021 and much of that has already been underway for most of 2020. For example, 51% of respondents increased their ecommerce investments in the past six months and 64% said they plan to invest in the next six months.

The boundaries between the digital and physical shopping experiences are converging. The pandemic catapulted frictionless, contactless experiences—and consumers’ expectations—years into the future. The main focus for retailers moving forward will be how to evolve in-store experiences in a post-pandemic environment. Omnichannel features and experiences will present new life to brands with physical stores and allow businesses to take advantage of proximity to local consumers. This shift in focus will require a more detailed approach to attribution to measure all consumer engagement touchpoints (both in-store and online) and fully understand the effectiveness of this new hybrid shopping experience.

 

Eliminating Consumer Blind Spots

The DTC space has unique advantages and challenges that brands face. By cutting out any middlemen, DTC brands create a more direct relationship with their suppliers and can bring better quality products at lower price-points to their consumers. However, DTC brands need to continuously work to create value for shoppers. Given the high turnover rate in the space, DTC brands often strive to re-engage ex-customers and keep them in the funnel. This becomes difficult for brands with limited resources and capabilities and often requires creative targeting tactics and access to high-quality inventory sources to make an impact.

Digitally native brands will continue to adapt and evolve in the year ahead. In order to stay competitive in the rapidly-changing, increasingly-crowded space, DTC brands will need to establish strategic partnerships, utilize innovative digital media offerings to connect with the right audience, and leverage consumer data to make the most of their marketing efforts.

 

The Digital Remedy Approach

Similar to how DTC brands focus product offerings and marketing efforts on their customer pain points, Digital Remedy has developed our solutions with the main goal of making the daily media operations of our clients easier and stress-free. Our innovative solutions can help DTC brands unlock the full potential of their campaigns by providing the most engaging platforms and targeting tactics to effectively reach and resonate with their consumers. Digital Remedy solutions address the top needs of DTC brands, including:

 

Flexibility 

DTC brands are focused, nimble, and agile by nature. Following the pandemic, brands that are able to quickly adjust their marketing strategies to address changing circumstances will be at an advantage, especially at a time when no one quite knows what will come next.

How Digital Remedy Can Help: AdReady+ allows advertisers and agencies of all sizes with the flexibility to make changes to their media plans on the fly. The platform also provides personalized media recommendations based on your industry, goals, and budget by leveraging our full product portfolio. With AdReady+, DTC brands can create more intelligent media plans and make the most of their advertising dollars across different channels.

 

Full-funnel Attribution

Conversions can be difficult to nail down. DTC is notorious for its high consumer turnover. Although brands often provide free trials or other enticing offers, many shoppers tend to cancel after the free trial period ends. The long-term customer can be an elusive relationship for many online businesses and many brands struggle with gaps in their sales funnel.

How Digital Remedy Can Help: The Flip OTT solution optimizes campaigns in real-time—pinpointing exactly where actions are coming from by tracking impressions (aka ad views) to conversions (aka physical results), whether it is an app install, site visit, cart amount/site purchase, or in-store visit—providing brands with deeper insight, transparency into campaign performance, and most importantly, a full view of their consumer journey. Bottom line? Better measurement data, better insights, better campaigns.

 

Personalization

Given the on-going shifts in media consumption and purchasing behavior, keeping consumers engaged in an ever-crowded and competitive landscape has become increasingly difficult. Building an online presence requires constant trial and error, as well as significant time and dedication. Shoppers are gravitating more towards innovative brands that build authentic connections and boast the same values that they do. DTC brands need to communicate their values and differentiators, and reach their consumers in the right setting to establish a meaningful connection with them.

How Digital Remedy Can Help: Consumers want relevancy in the ads they see. By leveraging Flip, DTC brands can ensure that their messaging is being delivered to the right audience, at the right time, in the right mindset—driving action among audiences by effectively resonating with them. Flip provides valuable insight regarding what’s working in their ad campaigns and what needs to pivot, optimizing budget towards overperforming variables in order to eliminate any wasted impressions.

 

 

To stay updated on more industry trends and insights, be sure to follow Digital Remedy on TwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram.

 

Sources:

1. Adweek, “Americans Bought So Much Stu! Online Last Year, It Was Basically Another Holiday Season”

2. EMarketer, March 8, 2021, “Retailers plan to increase investments across digital channels as many solidify their omnichannel plans”

IP Zone: Leverage the relationship between users and the location of their IP addresses in a cookie-free, safe and scalable way.

Behavioral: Combine first party with network analytics and enormous scale to define custom audience channels that are optimized to sites with high brand engagement.

Demographic: Reach the right audience based on demographic characteristics such as age, gender and income.

Mobile Device: Target users by mobile device type (Smartphone, tablet, etc.), carrier and operating system.

Geo-Location: Target your audience residential cluster, proximity to retail locations, campaign level DMAs and more.

Contextual: Place a relevant ad in front of a user who is reading content that contains specific terms.

Buying Power and Quality

Let’s be honest. Your ad ops are limited by your access to only a handful of channels and DSPs. You want more reach and better prices, but don’t want to sacrifice quality in order to achieve those goals. Digital Remedy has access to a vast multitude of channels based on relationships we’ve cultivated over nearly 20 years in business. That means we get the best prices, have personal relationships, and don’t get sent to voicemail when we call.

It also means that we can execute omni-channel ad ops for better prices than an internal team, while ensuring the quality is up to industry standards. On top of access to all sorts of specific audiences we’re able to to leverage first- and third-party data across all your campaigns and pivot across platforms based on results. Any campaign, any budget, any platform, any audience. Digital Remedy backed by AdReady is restriction free ad ops….and what could be better than that?

Resources, Time, and Overhead

When was the last time you enjoyed balancing budgets, reading resumes, dealing with aggressive sales teams, or wasting years of time for small gains in performance. By partnering with Digital Remedy you get the full support of $30m in OPEX including marketing teams, sales teams, and a dedicated 24/7 ad operations team. No hiring new employees for media optimization, business development, or account management. No months of training and on-boarding. No long meetings crafting sales materials. Just your team focused on making deals, and our teams and tech focused on supporting and executing those deals in a tech-enabled, digital ecosystem designed to get the most out of any KPI.

Reporting and Support

How nice would it be to have all of your data and insights in one location. We don’t mean an excel sheet sent out once a week with complicated charts, or an XML file with pages and pages and pages of tables (what is this, 2003?). We mean a fully customizable dashboard reporting in real time, or as real time as possible. You get to decide the how, what, and when of the reporting you’re seeing. And that’s ALL of the how, what, and when’s. If you want to see breakouts of all of the individual campaigns in your system, done. If you want broad scope comparisons of all of the campaigns in the last year, done. If you want to see CTR’s for specific audiences and compare them to CPM for your best performing advertiser but limit the scope to campaigns greater than 30k, done. All of this is at your fingertips with the AdReady Dashboard, all in one place.

Jessica Cortapasso

With more than a decade of experience in human capital management, Jessica Cortapasso serves as VP of Human Resources at Digital Remedy. After graduating from Muhlenberg College, she quickly recognized her passion for people and entered the workforce in Human Resources where she gained expertise in employee relations, designing strategic benefit plans, and the development, implementation, and curation of corporate engagement initiatives for big-name brands and small companies alike. Becoming a member of the Digital Remedy family in 2013 while simultaneously acquiring her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management and Development from New York University, Jessica has steered company culture through significant events ranging from acquisitions and a rebranding, to the development and application of our Core Values that shape our daily business practices. Cortapasso resides in Brooklyn, plays competitive volleyball, and loves spending time with her nieces.

Erez Feld

Responsible for the financial and legal practices of Digital Remedy, Erez brings 22 years of experience in precision financial analysis, growth management practices, strategic acquisition, and investment leadership. A graduate of Hofstra University, Erez began his career modeling for corporate finance, and expanded his accounting prowess in the real estate sector. Erez joined Digital Remedy in 2008 as a senior accountant, and helped to create and build an accounting department that could support the rapid growth of the company and aligned with those needs. Over the past 12 years he has evolved through various positions at the company within the finance discipline, supervising and mentoring additional finance personnel, while growing under the tutelage of Michael Fleischman, former CFO of Digital Remedy. Today, he leads the Finance Department by supporting high-level projects such as acquisitions and restructuring, and is responsible for overseeing all financial assets, establishing financial procedures, controls, and reporting systems.

Michael Fleischman

After a successful career as an accomplished Fortune 500 financial professional leading Corporate Finance and Strategic Planning at Cablevision Systems Corporation and its programming subsidiary Rainbow Media Holdings, Michael currently plays a role in the overall management of Digital Remedy including direct responsibility for all financial-related activities including accounting, financial planning, M&A, legal, insurance, real estate and banking relationships. Michael brings more than 25 years of media experience at Cablevision and Rainbow Media and during his career was instrumental in the launching and managing of a number of cable television networks including 10 Regional Sports Networks across the US, American Movie Classics, Bravo, and the Independent film channel as well as the structuring of corporate partnerships with companies including Liberty Media, NBC, Fox/NewsCorp and MGM. Additionally, he was the finance lead on a number of professional sports team acquisitions including Madison Square Garden, the successful IPO of Cablevision and a tracking stock at Rainbow Media.Michael was involved in the creation and launch of Rainbow Advertising Sales which was one of the Cable Industry’s first Local Advertising Sales Divisions.

2021 Industry Trends Newsletter

2021 Industry Trends Newsletter

Join our mailing list for the hottest takes and deep insights into the industry trends for 2021.

You have Successfully Subscribed!