Simplify for success
Direct to consumer retail became popular in the late 90s – but in the broadest sense of the word, as in retailers that sold directly to their customers online without the need to visit a physical store.
The idea then was Amazon-style warehouses where hundreds of thousands of products could be stored and dispatched – something a bricks and mortar store could never do – giving shoppers more choice than they could possibly handle.
Of course, Bezos’s Amazon continues to slay in the world of e-commerce and, as of 2020, the company holds the highest global brand valuation.
The modern D2C brand is considerably more refined, well thought out and doing extremely well.
Gathering huge momentum in the past few years, countless entrepreneurs have been savvy enough to corner specific markets, often starting out small by focusing on just one product and using carefully considered strategies to reach, connect with and build their audiences.
Gymshark is the perfect example of such a brand taking the retail industry by storm.
Founded in 2012 by school friends Ben Francis and Lewis Morgan, who initially distributed bodybuilding supplements to their online customers, they soon turned to produce their own fitness wear range, all sewn on a machine in Ben’s parents’ garage and made to order.
Today the company is valued at more than £1billion.
Non-reliant on third party retailers, wholesalers or any other middle person, D2C brands like Gymshark can focus on customer relationships and ensure their products specifically meet shoppers’ needs.
Keeping product ranges more niche is a smart move as, not only is less choice often a good thing, but it also means customers will likely return again and again to a specialist brand if their experience has been a positive one.
And despite their seemingly faceless approach, D2C retailers are becoming increasingly creative in finding ways to meet customers IRL (look that up if you are over 40) through engaging pop-ups and other live activations.