Direct-To- Consumer (DTC): A new age ‘Mom-and- Pop’ store paradigm?

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There’s this thing about retail marketing.

Much of the theories and practices that happen in this space today can well be titled, ‘Re-cycled! ’.

So, what then is the latest?

Take DTC. Direct-To-Customer approach.

Time was when the corner stores and the filling station takeaways ran their businesses just on the pulling power of ‘direct and personal selling’ by the owners – often a Mom and Pop twosome – whose ‘service with a smile’ was all what was needed to take their daily sales to high pitch.

For them, retail marketing and customer relationship came from their hearts, be it a long-time friend and client who came calling or just a fresh walk-in customer.

Well, after decades of change and growth and growth and change, the wheel has turned a full circle.

Today, from Warby Parker to Etsy and Everlane, more start-up consumer companies are making the choice to remove the middleman between themselves and the end user.

While Warby Parker and Everlane make their own goods, Etsy gives the power of selling directly to crafty individuals looking to create and sell to the consumer.

Basically, the realm of DTC enables businesses to both manufacture and sell their products without involving third parties – a modern day replication of the “mom and pop” concept.

There’s one difference, though. To this ‘back-to-basics’ approach has been added the new face of advanced technology with all its irresistible trappings of convenience, speed, and fancy lifestyle excitement.

Retailers who are already in, or are entering the DTC space, today have realized the power of customized offering. That, unique ‘personal touch’ that makes all the difference when a customer picks up a brand of choice.

With decades of mass production experience behind them, the brand marketers who have dominated the retail industry have also been studying the changing consumer behaviours, thanks to the e-commerce feedback and research-based inputs of their time.

What this digital world has opened is a new gateway into the insights of this consumer offering an opportunity to combine the mass production side with the personalized aspect of retailing the brand. Suddenly, the name of the game is DTC.

Enter: ‘The Internet’ as the protagonist.

At mind-boggling cyber speeds, the industry is now ready to enter homes and the mindsets of the largest marketplace the world has ever seen, with multifarious interests, preferences, tastes and likes.

Global reach makes it cut the middleman totally and in the process, save millions of dollars in infrastructure, commissions, expenses and other avoidable cash-drain down the supply chain.

The benefits passed on to the end-consumer in discounts and price-offs, the end-game soon became a win-win situation.

Moral of the story: listen to Mom and Dad for good old lessons in marketing.

Take a closer look:

Nike and Pepsi are already heading in the direction of DTC.

A recent edition of DTC News shared how luxury consumer brand Everlane has decided to open up its first physical store in San Francisco, as part of its reaching-out-to-consumer strategy, testing out new products and for enhancing brand experience.

Amazon has filed a trademark application to venture over into the prepared meal kit space.

Following on the heels of Blue Apron, Amazon will capitalize on consumers shopping from home.

Nike has already forecast a DTC business growth from US$6.6 billion in 2015, to US$16 billion by 2020.

Ditching the middleman has turned into quite the lucrative business.

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