Direct to consumer (D2C) brands exploded in popularity in the past few years due to social media, lower prices, customer-friendly policies, product quality, better customer engagement, and more.
With such a high demand, D2C brands are primed for success. There are no retail locations involved (for the most part), so costs are often cheaper than going through traditional retailers.
D2C brands grew so quickly that they realized managing their own warehouses and self-fulfilling orders would eventually slow their growth. That’s why many of them partner with 3PLs (third-party logistics) to help them grow faster by taking retail order fulfillment off their hands.
By partnering with a 3PL, D2C brands can offer Amazon-like logistics by tapping into services and capabilities such as 2-day shipping, faster delivery speeds, and fulfillment automation to quickly scale. This helps them compete against Amazon and other major ecommerce marketplaces.
Learn more about how 3PLs partner with fast-growing D2C brands.
What are direct-to-consumer (D2C) products?
Direct to consumer is a way of selling products so that the middleman is lessened or eliminated entirely from the buying process. The supplier sells directly to customers, without any retailer or wholesaler in the middle.
Why direct-to-consumer products have experienced massive growth
D2C brands grew for many reasons: social media, pricing, referral marketing, digital advertising, better customer experience, and a whole host of other reasons. D2C brands also have competitive advantages over traditional retail brands.
Because of their smaller size and a more streamlined supply chain, they often have lower prices, consumer-friendly policies, and high-quality assurance for their products. D2C brands also grow quickly by embracing social media and building online communities of brand advocates with high influence.
In traditional retail, products have to go through manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, warehouses and retail stores. This gets costly, so businesses have to charge accordingly. With D2C, there are no retail middlemen, so the prices stay low for customers.
It’s easier to get refunds, exchanges, or repairs when you are dealing directly with the company who makes the product. Successful D2C brands are known for their customer-centric policies that go the extra mile in keeping their customers happy.
If buying on a brand’s website (as opposed to Amazon which can be full of fake or counterfeit products), online shoppers can tell exactly what products are made of, who made them, where they’re made, and what material is used. Not even brick-and-mortar retailers may know that level of detail.
Successful D2C brands have mastered social media to build a loyal following. They often engage with their customers directly and turn them into brand advocates. Many D2C brands also embrace the greater good. They often build brands based on a certain set of values and support charitable causes, which helps them connect with customers on a more personal level.
Lower barriers to entry
Starting a D2C business has never been easier. Ecommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and other platforms have made starting a new business an easy process. All you need to do is create an account and your business will be ready to start taking orders.
Why D2C brands fail: they lack the ability to scale
D2C brands can experience huge amounts of demand when marketed correctly, but they’ll fail to realize a sizable profit if they don’t have a logistics partner in place. This happens because D2C brands don’t have the time and resources to scope out new warehouses and/or hire labor while fulfilling a high volume of orders.
ShipBob is experienced in growing D2C brands through logistics
ShipBob is a tech-enabled 3PL that works with D2C brands to help them grow faster by handling the entire order fulfillment process for them. This way, they can spend more time on business development, marketing, and other business growth initiatives.
Here are other ways 3PLs like ShipBob help D2C brands grow:
Your packaging can make a big impact on how customers experience your brand. At ShipBob, we partner with a variety of custom packaging companies. With unique packaging, you can stand out and leave a great first impression. In this age of social media, influencers who make “unboxing” videos with your products can improve your D2C brand’s image.
Amazon dominates because of 2-day shipping and it’s a huge competitive advantage. They have the logistics network capable of fulfilling orders quickly and delivering them within 2 days which helps drive conversions. Most D2C businesses don’t have the ability to offer 2-day shipping, so they can lose out against Amazon.
ShipBob offers a robust fulfillment network (with more locations coming!), which means you can affordably deliver to customers across the world. With ShipBob, your orders are sent to the warehouse closest to the customer, which results in faster shipping times and lower shipping costs. You don’t have to be a billion-dollar corporation to have an Amazon-like reach.
No hidden fees
Most 3PLs charge hidden fees so they can make more money. At ShipBob, we don’t charge hidden fees. Our pricing is transparent so you can forecast costs and see just how profitable working with us is.
Real-time inventory tracking
From setting reorder points to ensure stock levels don’t drop below a certain level to viewing real-time inventory counts across fulfillment center locations, ShipBob can take the pressure of managing inventory off your plate.
Don’t take our word for it, ask D2C brands
Some of the fastest-growing D2C brands partner with ShipBob to handle order fulfillment. Here’s what they have to say:
TB12 (Tom Brady’s D2C brand)
TB12 was working with another 3PL when they reached a point of extensive growth. They switched to ShipBob so they can easily expand geographically while keeping shipping costs and other fulfillment expenses down.
“Even our previous 3PL was unable to scale at the level we needed years ago, which became apparent my first holiday with them. This past holiday season would have been completely unmanageable for both our old 3PL and us. ShipBob does it seamlessly.”
Michael Peters, VP of E-Commerce Operations at TB12
Synchro is a health and wellness brand that initially partnered with 3PL, but as they grew they decided to explore other providers. They soon found out that ShipBob is the only 3PL that could follow through on promises.
“We definitely see benefits with ShipBob’s 2-day shipping capabilities. With Amazon Prime and shoppers expecting 2-day shipping at this point, it’s definitely being chosen when it’s offered on our store.”
Lindsay Louise, Fulfillment & Retail Manager at Synchro
After selling out when the pandemic hit, hand sanitizer brand Touchland was able to get US-based customer orders delivered quickly by splitting inventory across multiple fulfillment center locations.
“Touchland sells flammable goods that need to be shipped via ground, so ShipBob has been a great ally as they have fulfillment centers all over the US, facilitating a 2-3 day delivery time for any customer in the US.”
Andrea Lisbona, Founder and CEO of Touchland
Ready to grow your D2C brand?
If you’re running a D2C business and struggling with fulfillment, it may be time to switch to a 3PL. ShipBob offers a robust fulfillment network powered by best-in-class fulfillment technology to help D2C brands grow fast.
To learn more about how ShipBob can help your DTC brand grow, click below to request pricing.
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