The online economy is booming as consumer behavior continues to shift towards eCommerce at a rapid pace. Consumers are empowered, connected, and are increasingly more willing to experiment with brands and products since they are faced with even more choices than ever before. This means that brands need to own their destinies more than ever before to adapt to rapidly evolving consumer expectations. As a result of these social and cultural shifts, the direct-to-consumer (D2C) channel has become the crucial source of revenue, not only for the challenger and emerging brands but for many legacy brands too.
The last two years saw years of digital transformation happening in months, accelerating digital innovation in a way that puts brands back in the driver seat. A strong digital commerce strategy is not just a critical component of a business’s success anymore but a medium for the survival of the fittest. And within the broader digital commerce strategy, the owned commerce experience has become ever more important as more brands look at scaling their D2C channels. Modern consumers look for superior brand experiences that they can’t always find through reseller channels or marketplaces like Amazon. Research says that 82% of consumers expect to be able to transact with a brand on its website however, 72% are not fully satisfied with the current online shopping experience offered by their favorite brands. In other words, if consumers come to a brand’s site looking for information, it’s not enough to provide basic information to them or hide the brand story in obscure places they can never find (general practice is in fact to keep the blogs, resources somewhere in the footer, right?).
The separation between content, community, and commerce assumes the customer has a single objective (research, engage or buy) when they come to the site. But more likely, the customer wants to cross these boundaries and research both brand and community-generated content, and hopefully also make a purchase during their visit to a brand’s website. While heralding the importance of informative content and creating engaged communities may be old news, the key difference here is integration, one where the customer doesn’t need to switch apps or browser tabs to further the research or purchase.
Existing commerce platforms are incapable of delivering the desired commerce experience that winner brands need to script
In today’s digital economy, the D2C channel is the gateway to truly connecting with a brand’s consumers, and using that data to attract and grow that consumer base. This is where the brand engages with and rewards their super-fans and loyalists, a sandbox to incubate enriched user communities, a testing ground for new product launches. It’s a home for channel-only exclusives and a place for compelling branded content to connect with consumers in the intervals between shopping. To achieve this, brands need the right technology to combine data and content into one cohesive experience to truly leverage the benefits of and deliver experience-driven commerce. While for many brands speed to market, functionality, ease of use, and TCO (total cost of ownership) are often determining factors, a highly viable commerce solution for brands looking to take their D2C channels forward doesn’t exist today.
As more digitally native businesses launched with standalone online stores, they’ve looked toward platforms like Shopify — and Magento and WooCommerce, and Salesforce — as their tech backbone. While launching on these platforms is fairly easy — brands could pick a template, click a few boxes, and essentially have a ready-made online store— sustainable scaling and diversifying revenue is equally rigid and locked-down. At the heart of the issue is these platforms’ origin; they weren’t designed or built for D2C brands to start with. While Shopify and WooCommerce were designed and built for SMB businesses, mom-and-pop stores to rapidly go online with templatized sites; Salesforce Commerce, and other Hybrids were built for large enterprises and retailers who needed category-based discovery of hundreds of thousands of products. None of these platforms is suitable for any brand that aspires to deliver a very personalized experience to the consumers, forcing brands to depend on performance marketing and scaling their way inorganically.
An easy, templated and App Store-driven solution can just be an easy point of entry but as a brand scales, a commerce platform becomes very central to the growth strategy. D2C brands need to differentiate by scripting an experience that converges customer-centricity, community development, and a content-focussed approach with the ability to gain insights, respond quickly, and create similar delight at every digital touchpoint. One can’t tell such an experiential brand story in the templatized flows of Shopifys of the world or the legacy, monolithic, complex, and expensive platforms built for retailers. Moreover, performance marketing, social media marketing, influencer marketing — can’t offer the kinds of scale brands need to sustain growth.
It’s time to un-platform the tech with a purpose-built solution for D2C brands
The fact is that most developers are not designers, and most designers aren’t developers. Currently, brands have their blogs and communities being run by design teams while developers handle the site operations, disjointing the consumer experience right there. Brands should not be worrying about the integrations or complex tech problems or disrupting the backend system just to create innovative and differentiated customer experiences. What brands need is a purpose-built commerce solution to act as their tech backbone in their growth.
dotkonnekt is building an Experiential Commerce platform purpose-built for D2C brands to converge content and community to organically grow their commerce. Unlike traditional monolithic architecture, dotkonnekt’s Experiential Commerce platform is headless and composable to brands’ scale needs and unique story. The flexibility of a DIY platform, power of custom-build, combined with better long-term affordability, will be a success moat for brands to win in this high-stakes market.
To all the brands,
Attract and engage consumers, grow your D2C channel sustainably and organically, and have complete control over the experience of your commerce site for both your consumer and your admin users, with dotkonnekt’s an Experiential Commerce Platform, purpose-built for you!
konnekt with dotkonnekt https://dotkonnekt.com/
About the Author
Dhiraj Jain is the Co-founder & CEO at dotkonnekt. He is a seasoned Retail & Consumer industry leader with 20+ years of experience in building and scaling businesses at the intersection of strategy, product, and technology. His innate capability to lead and always challenge the status quo in the Retail & Consumer space led him to co-found dotkonnekt, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with a mission to turbo-charge growth for innovative brands in this Decade of D2C.
Having led global Retail product management & business solutions teams at Infosys, Wipro, TCS, and Tech Mahindra, Dhiraj is passionate about the infinite possibilities at the intersection of business and technology, and the potent mix of the art of storytelling & the science of technology to fuel exponential business growth. With pay-it-forward philosophy at heart, Dhiraj mentors tech startups at NASSCOM Deeptech Club.