Bonobo was launched in 2007 with a single idea—to create better pants—and it took the US fashion market by storm. Bonobo is now acquired by Walmart and has expanded to sell swimwear, formal wear, shirts, and more fashionable clothing.
Bonobo is a brilliant example of a Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) fashion brand that paved its path to success right from the beginning. D2C brands are changing the way people shop for fashion today. They offer consumers access to affordable products with the same quality as traditional retailers but without the middleman markup.
What are the D2C brands?
Direct-to-Consumer or D2C brands are businesses that sell their products directly to consumers, bypassing the traditional distribution and retail channels. D2C brands can range in size from a single product line sold online or through mobile apps to complex, multi-product businesses with sales forces across multiple channels.
Direct-to-consumer brands can be a great way to reach a large audience quickly, as they don’t have to go through a third party like a retailer or distribution channel. Additionally, D2C brands often have a higher margin than traditional brands, as they don’t have to pay commissions or other fees to middlemen.
Direct-to-consumer brands can be a great way to reach a large audience quickly. This is because they don’t have to go through a third party like a retailer or distribution channel. Hence, it allows them to build a strong brand image and expand their reach through innovative marketing tactics.
Why D2C brands are gaining popularity
The Direct-to-Consumer model has been around for some time. However, in the last decade, D2C brands have steadily gained popularity and preference among consumers.
Here are a few reasons why:
- D2C businesses have greater control over product quality.
Direct-to-consumer brands can ensure that the quality of their products is top-notch because they are not reliant on retailers for distribution. This allows them to create products that meet the specific needs of their customers without having to worry about consequences such as low sales or poor customer feedback. Consumers note this and reward several D2C brands with loyalty and repeat purchases.
- D2C businesses can serve a broader range of consumers.
Because retailers’ marketing restrictions do not bind them, D2C businesses can reach a broader range of consumers than traditional retailers. It allows them to tap into larger markets and increase their chances of success.
Further, D2C brands are more inclined to experiment with innovative marketing strategies to nurture a strong relationship with their customers.
- D2C businesses can generate more revenue
Direct-to-consumer brands can generate more revenue by selling directly to consumers than through retailers. They can control their costs by eliminating intermediaries and cutting extra costs.
How does the D2C model differ from traditional businesses?
So what makes D2C brands unique compared to traditional brick-and-mortar or e-commerce businesses? Direct-to-consumer brands have a direct relationship with their customers. This means that the brands control all aspects of the customer experience, from product selection to shipping and customer service.
In addition to this, here are a few key ways D2C brands stand out:
- Direct-to-consumer brands are often built on a very personal connection with customers. Brands like Zappos and Warby Parker focus on creating an intimate relationship with their customers and providing them with top-quality products.
- D2C brands do not usually have a physical presence. They rely on online sales and marketing to reach their target market. It means that D2C brands require a lot of creativity and flexibility in their marketing strategies. Many brands do this through social media marketing and influencer relations.
- D2C brands typically have lower overhead costs than traditional businesses. It allows them to price their products to offer higher margins to their customers.
- D2C brands typically have shorter product cycles than traditional businesses do. It means that they release new products more frequently and change them more often than larger companies do.
- D2C brands face different challenges than traditional e-commerce brands when it comes to growth and scaling. Still, these companies are aging successfully because of their excellence in understanding their customers and delivering exceptional customer experiences.
D2C brands in fashion
D2C brands have been growing in popularity as consumers search for fashion options that are unique and affordable. In the USA alone, D2C sales are expected to reach 213 billion US dollars by 2024.
There are a few reasons why D2C brands are popular with consumers. One reason is that these brands offer a unique selection of fashion options compared to traditional retailers. It means that you can find more unique styles of clothing that you wouldn’t be able to see at a conventional retailer.
They are also more innovative in fashion because they don’t have to worry as much about budgeting and production restraints as traditional retailers.
Further, D2C brands are often more responsive to customer feedback. It is because they don’t have to conform to specific standards or guidelines set by fashion companies.
Finally, D2C brands can be more affordable than traditional fashion brands. It is because D2C brands don’t have to spend money on marketing or distribution expenses. D2C brands also offer lower prices than traditional retailers, which means you can get high-quality clothing without overspending.
How can D2C brands scale and grow their business?
Direct-to-consumer brands are the new kids, quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. If you are a D2C brand looking to grow and scale your business, here are a few strategies that can help you:
- Integrate e-commerce into the customer experience.
Direct-to-consumer (D2C) fashion brands can establish an online presence and include e-commerce capabilities within their customer experience so that customers can purchase products directly from the brands. This integration can provide customers with a more personalized shopping experience and allow brands to collect data about customer behavior.
- Pursue scalable innovation.
Direct-to-consumer (D2C) fashion brands can pursue scalable innovations that allow them to expand their product offerings and reach new customer segments. For example, some D2C fashion brands have developed VR/AR capabilities to create immersive experiences for their customers.
- Activate influencer marketing campaigns.
Influencer marketing campaigns can help to promote the brand and drive traffic to the website by mobilizing influential individuals who can share positive comments about the brand on social media. In addition, influencer marketing allows D2C fashion brands to target specific demographics and reach high volumes of engaged consumers
- Create exclusive content.
Keeping consumers loyal means providing them with exclusive content they can’t find anywhere else. For example, Lululemon offers in-depth product reviews that aren’t available to the general public.
- Create a unique customer experience for your brand.
By understanding consumer behavior, D2C brands can ensure that each customer has a seamless shopping experience. Personalization can be a powerful marketing tool for D2C brands to establish a strong brand. Many consumers want to wait until their item(s) arrive before making a purchase. D2C brands can capitalize on this by offering pre-order privileges or even launching contests that give consumers an incentive to wait.
- Build a customer base through social media platforms.
D2C fashion brands can benefit from using social media platforms to build a customer base. These platforms allow brands to connect with potential customers and develop relationships with them. This strategy can also help to promote new products and update customers on the brand’s latest updates.
- Invest in compelling product photography.
Businesses of all sizes, especially those focused on building solid direct-to-consumer brands, need to pay attention to this. Direct-to-consumer companies build strong customer relationships through their websites and social media. Professional product photography speaks volumes about your brand and often distinguishes you from your competitors.
Wrapping Up – Scaling your D2C fashion brand
Fashion is a hypercompetitive industry with millions of brands trying to win trust and loyalty. With D2C brands on the rise, consumers have the opportunity to buy high-quality fashion directly from manufacturers. Not only does this result in affordable choices, but the overall experience is much more intimate than in traditional e-commerce businesses.
When it comes to growing your D2C fashion brand, one accessible way to do this is through quality product photography. While you can do this in-house or hire a photographer to shoot your products, the associated costs can be excessive. This is especially true when you have an extensive product line to hit. For a D2C brand, this can mean revenue loss and other business operations slowing down.
This is where AI-powered product photography can be a brilliant way to achieve hundreds of professional images for your website. Platforms like FlixStudio do this through AI-generated on-model imagery to save time and money for your fashion brand. FlixStudio is an end-to-end photography platform that offers stunning product images customized to your e-commerce needs.