With years of experience, huge marketing budgets, and millions of products, online marketplaces are your biggest competitors. But that doesn’t mean your D2C store can’t compete with them.
Growing shopper interest in D2C, outsourced fulfillment options that can achieve marketplace delivery speeds, and new social media commerce means sellers of any size stand a chance against big marketplaces — in fact, it’s key to long-term success.
The case for direct-to-consumer
Competing against big marketplaces means attracting customers to your own D2C store. It might feel like a tough battle, especially when just starting out, but your business needs to diversify into a sales channel you own as soon as possible.
Here are a few benefits to having your own D2C store.
Avoid marketplace fees
The more sales you make on your D2C store, the fewer marketplace fees you pay to platforms like Amazon. This gives you more cash flow to invest in stock, marketing, and shipping.
When you have multiple sales channels, you can reach more audiences and make more sales. Diversifying your business can help you stay resilient with different revenue streams. Merchants can even create a flywheel effect of improving SEO, generating customer reviews, encouraging referrals, and making even more sales.
Optimize the buyer experience
When you drive customers to your store, you have complete control over the customer experience, including what it looks like pre-and-post purchase and how you improve it.
For example, you can capture emails of interested leads who aren’t ready to convert. You can then stay in touch with regular newsletters, or enroll them into an automated workflow designed to nurture them to purchase.
Foster customer loyalty
D2C sales give you direct access to customers and their data. You can use this to increase customer retention while attracting new customers at the same time.
For example, you can set up post-purchase email sequences based on purchase history, remind shoppers about items in an abandoned cart, and offer seasonal promotions.
Become a brand, not a seller
Finally, driving direct sales helps you to build a global brand that isn’t restricted by marketplace policies. This protects your business from fluctuating marketplace rules, allows you to communicate directly with your buyers, and use your own voice and branding throughout the purchase process.
A D2C website will help you build closer relationships with your buyers and gives you more opportunity for growth.
How your D2C website can compete against big marketplaces
Competing with large marketplaces isn’t easy, but you can equip yourself with the right tools, strategies, and mindset to help set your store up for success. Here’s how to approach it:
1. Personalize the customer experience
Shoppers love a personalized shopping experience. Almost half of consumers will spend more money on a store that personalizes their experience and recognizes them as individuals, versus numbers.
This is excellent news for your D2C store. Since big marketplaces have such large volumes of customers, it’s difficult to truly tailor and personalize the shopping experience on those platforms.
Different ways to personalize the customer journey include:
- Product recommendations: Use a tool like RevenueHunt to make personalized product recommendations.
- Live chat: Install a live chat widget to answer questions, make recommendations, and assist shoppers with any queries.
- Shipping options: Allow customers to choose the delivery speed best suited to their requirements.
2. Offer 2-day and next-day delivery
Fast shipping programs like eBay Fast ‘N Free and Walmart TwoDay give customers fast, free shipping. To compete, you must meet or exceed these shipping speeds by offering 2-day or next-day delivery.
Fortunately, there are many ways to achieve lightning fast delivery on your Shopify or BigCommerce stores.
Here are a few ways you can achieve 2-day and next-day delivery in your D2C store:
- Outsource fulfillment: Use a third-party fulfillment service to store, pick, pack, and ship orders within a guaranteed 2-days or next-day.
- Distribute inventory strategically: Store inventory as close as possible to your customers using a network of warehouses (or those of your fulfillment partner’s) to reduce delivery distance.
- Use real-time positioning: Use real-time inventory intelligence to offer customers the quickest achievable delivery speeds on product pages.
3. Target customers on social media
A massive 81% of shoppers research products on Instagram and Facebook, making these channels the perfect place to beat marketplace competition on.
Shoppers use social media to connect with family, share stories with friends, and follow their favorite brands and celebrities. It’s where people make and grow personal connections — personal connections that help you stand out from marketplaces.
You can take advantage of this by:
- Selling: using Facebook and Instagram Shops to sell products directly on the platform.
- Advertising: supercharging your D2C Facebook ads using high-quality photographs, fast shipping tags, and catchy captions.
- Sharing: taking advantage of social media’s social nature by encouraging and sharing user-generated content about your products.
4. Make your product discoverable
Customers know Amazon stocks millions of products to suit all different needs. They also know this makes product discoverability on the platform hard — there’s just so much choice.
Enhancing product discovery on your website makes the customer journey easier, more pleasant, and quicker than shopping on online marketplaces.
You can boost product discoverability using:
- A straightforward and easy to navigate website design.
- Product categories and subcategories.
- Filter functionality on your search results.
Tip: If you’re a multi-channel seller, save some of your products to sell exclusively on your D2C website. For example, limited editions and custom designs can attract existing customers away from Amazon while also ranking well on search engines.
5. Focus on customer loyalty
One of the biggest strengths a D2C brand has against large marketplaces is the ability to foster customer loyalty. The longer you can extend your customer lifetime value, like with subscription sales or pre-scheduled orders, the better positioned you are for steady revenue.
There are many ways to boost customer loyalty, but you should start by focusing on how to deliver a personalized, enjoyable post-purchase experience.
- Ensure reliable fast shipping: Deliver orders quickly and on time, every time, by optimizing your BigCommerce or Shopify fulfillment processes.
- Show your appreciation: Show customers you appreciate them choosing you by sending a thank you email, shipping updates, and other relevant post-purchase emails.
- Make their purchases count: Tell customers about the positive impact of their purchase, whether that’s a donation match, raising awareness about a cause, or simply helping you grow a small business.
- Incentives: Give people a reason to return to your store, like a loyalty program, customer community, or discount on a 2nd purchase.
Merchants of all sizes should invest in building their own D2C store, establishing a sales channel where they own the customer journey and can tailor their brand touchpoints. Provide a memorable and enjoyable experience with fast fulfillment, a well-built website, and personalized messages.
About the Author
This is a guest post from Rachel Go, senior content marketing manager at Deliverr. Deliverr provides fast and affordable fulfillment for your Shopify, Walmart, Amazon, eBay, Wish, and BigCommerce stores, helping to boost sales through programs like 2-day delivery for Shopify, Walmart 2-day delivery, eBay Fast ‘N Free, and Wish 2-day.
Deliverr’s FBA-like multi-channel fulfillment comes with clear pricing, easy onboarding and a hassle free experience so you can focus on growing your eCommerce business.