ShopTalk Meetup for Women: The Direct-to-Consumers Trend

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I had the privilege of being a ‘consumer behavior expert’ and a roundtable moderator for ShopTalk Meetup for Women earlier this month. One of the things I love about events like these, aside from getting the chance to connect with a range of diverse and motivating women across North America, is the opportunity to hear the critical questions that are popping up across different industries.

The common thread across nearly all of these conversations was the hunger for more consumer behavior intel post-COVID. Though it has been over a year since lockdowns began, brands and retailers still want and need to know: which behaviors are going to stick, and which will not?

While we don’t all have crystal balls – though I certainly wish I did, so I could play the lottery – the one thing everyone agreed on as a ‘here to stay’ were the changes in digital acceleration. Within this topic, it was clear that one of the benefits of digital acceleration is the ability to bring the brand and customer closer together with Direct-to-Consumer (“DTC”).

The DTC trend is projected to maintain a 19.2% growth this year. Numerous brands and manufacturers have recently expanded into this space. Bimbo Bakeries, owner of much beloved brands such as Entenmann’s and Sara Lee, launched Due to the COVID-19 shortages in grocery stores, Bimbo saw an opportunity to ship directly to consumers’ homes to fulfill those needs in a more convenient way. Now, they are able to gather valuable consumer insights as an added benefit.

Constellation Brands, whose portfolio includes brands such as Corona and SVEDKA vodka, also has been transforming its omnichannel strategy and a key part of that is getting closer to consumers. Last year, they acquired Empathy Wines, a DTC wine brand which talks very directly to the benefits of cutting out the middlemen and is now building out standalone webpages for its brands. According to Constellation’s CEO, being “consumer obsessed” is key to their strategy, which includes “building a direct relationship with our consumers, [and] meeting them where they are shopping and engaging today.”

Google also recently announced their partnership with Shopify, a direct-to-consumer e-commerce platform for smaller mom and pop shops to help make these brands more accessible to consumers

Clearly, there is a rising desire by brands to have a closer relationship with their consumers. Through selling directly to consumers, brands have a direct link to the shopping behavioral data rather than going through a third party such as retailers like Walmart or Amazon. With this information, brands can innovate and respond to the needs of consumers better, including potential for personalization and customization.

The theme is clear: brands want to get closer to the consumer. But how?

To understand which digital touchpoints are worth investing in, brands need to identify those critical moments of the path-to-purchase first. Where are your customers? What are they doing there? What do they want and expect from each channel? How can your brand meet and guide them along that journey? To learn more on how to drive your omnichannel success, check out OmniPath®, which helps brands to diagnose the full omnichannel shopper journey to understand the causes, triggers, and holistic factors to be able to influence consumers at key points of the path-to-purchase.

Staying on top of consumer behavior is more important than ever. Companies that succeeded and grew during COVID-19 were ones that acted quickly with agility. However, COVID-19 only accelerated trends we were already seeing here at Behaviorally.

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Lauren Davitt is a Vice President at Behaviorally (Formerly PRS), partnering closely with clients to help drive business outcomes. She is passionate about using best-in-class behavioral techniques, the latest thought leadership, and gaining a true understanding of the consumer to enhance the shopper journey and its touchpoints. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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