How to get your first DTC order 
Venkatragavan Srinivasan · Sun Mar 20 2022
The Rise of DTC in India
Direct-to-customer (DTC) brands are brands that sell directly to consumers without middlemen like distributors or retailers. If you are starting something similar and can't figure out how to get your first DTC order, this article will help you find the answers to some of your questions.
What is DTC?
Direct to Customer or DTC service is a type of business model in which a seller can sell directly to the customer without the involvement of any middle steps. This gives the seller more control over the entire sales process and reduces the overall business expenses. Besides, any customer would prefer buying directly from the manufacturer rather than a third-party or middlemen.
No matter the product or service, there are some obvious reasons why both the manufacturers and the buyers prefer this model of business. Here are some of them:
1. For Sellers/Businesses.
Besides the advantage of eliminating middlemen, there are several other reasons why DTC is a better business model and is here to stay.
- Greater Control over the customer journey:
The number of steps in the supply chain automatically reduces when you eliminate retailers and middlemen. You gain more control over the supply chain processes and get to come in contact with the customers directly. This way you get to know their demands and shopping experiences up-close, helping you improve your services to your customers' satisfaction.
Reducing the number of steps involved also leads to reduced time-to-market. Launch your products in the market sooner and get direct feedback from customers on the product. This way you also stay updated with the market trends and customize your products as per consumer needs.
- Better Retention:
The marketing strategy for DTC models involves promoting and selling directly to the customers. Coming in direct contact with your customers will allow you to build long-term relations with them, increasing customer loyalty and retention rates in exchange.
- More control over the brand image:
How your brand looks and feels on the outside is influenced by the processes and people involved in marketing. Usually, the retailers and third parties involved in traditional retail models set conditions on functioning mutually, which means giving them space in your promotions and marketing strategies. However, DTC brands experience a sense of individualism because it gives them the freedom to create their brand image. You are in full control. From promotions to sales, you define and manage the whole customer journey.
- Increased use of digital marketing:
As a DTC brand, you would have to rely on the internet to spread the word about your business. Not having allies also has some shortcomings, you are your sole advertiser. However, digital marketing has its perks. The new generation is digitally native. Therefore, the reach you will get a reach through social media and the internet, which is not possible manually. Digital marketing is a highly targeted tool that helps you reach your target audience at affordable prices.
- Increases revenue with Subscription-based pricing models:
Subscription-based pricing models started back in the 17th century and it's been on the continuous rise ever since then. This model has gained popularity among DTC brands because it assures a continuous flow of revenue. Even if you don't get any new customers for a while, your existing subscription customers will help you maintain your revenue to keep the business running.
2. For Customers.
- Reduced Costs:
The more steps involved in a business model, the more taxes and costs applicable to a product. Most DTC trends and policies are focused on customer acquisition and retention. Most DTC brands offer free shipping and many reduced costs on the products, which helps the customers save money.
- Assured Quality:
When manufacturers sell products through the retail model, the steps involved may cause damage to the goods, or worse, they might get lost in the process, never reaching the customer. The DTC model helps eliminate this. These brands focus on increasing customers' purchase experience by making the products available to them directly. This way the product will also reach the customer faster.
- Subscriptions and Offers:
Staying loyal to a brand offers benefits to the customers as well. They can enjoy retention programs and special offers for subscription-based customers. Early access to sales, both online and in physical stores, and many such offers are available for loyal customers.
How to get the first DTC order?
It's easier to think of a business idea and get started. The real challenge comes when you have to land your first customer and make the first sale. Where do you even begin searching? Who are the people you should be selling to? Why would these people want to buy from you when there are already well-established companies in the market?
Well, let us tell you a little secret. The answers to all these questions are what will help you find your first client. Here's a list of steps that can help you get your first client and make the first sale.
Sell Local First:
What else could be a better place to find customers than local people. Start talking about your product to people you know and collect their feedback first. Based on this feedback, you can improvise your product and sell the first few products at reduced prices. This initial feedback will help you understand your customer's thought process and choices, making your further sales easier.
Create a unique brand identity:
Just like you, there are millions of others who are trying to start similar businesses. Your brand identity is how people perceive your brand. Even small details like the font color and font size can highly affect this perception. Make sure you have uniquely selected color themes, font styles, colors, and designs that help people recognize your brand even from a distance. Maintain the same tone and image across all social media and offline platforms.
Make Data-Based Decisions:
Keep in mind that the market operates on consumer data. Monitor market trends actively and access the tools and technology to collect data about your consumers and gain insights into useful consumer information. Divide your audience into categories and sub-categories and monitor their behavior and work on creating tailored products for each category. Learn about the latest trends and create offers and discount vouchers to attract customers.
Leverage Social Media:
Almost all consumer-based brands would agree that social media is a lifesaver when it comes to promoting products. Once you have figured out your target audience, all you need to do is invest a little in your social media marketing strategy. Learn about what is trending on every platform and include that in your marketing strategy.
Social media also helps you collect data about your customers through their reviews on social platforms. Today, you can also sell directly from these platforms. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, all these platforms allow businesses to sell directly to customers. First, try to gain followers organically before turning to paid promotions and advertisements. Not to mention, your social media contributes majorly to your brand identity, so make sure you work on syncing your social media accounts with the rest of your brand identity.
Focus on Personalized Products and Marketing:
According to a report from smarthq, 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product or service from brands that provide personalized services. People would prefer products that are more inclined towards their needs. Moreover, personalization is the key to customer retention.
Leverage social media polls, add quizzes to your website, provide online testing of products through advanced AR techniques to gain insights into the likes and dislikes of your customers. Create offers and discounts on relevant products based on their previous purchases. Ensure that you are also providing omnichannel services such as Instagram and Facebook selling to make the products even more accessible.
Build Meaningful Partnerships:
Join hands with brands that provide similar or complementary services to provide multiple services to your clients and gain access to a wider audience. When you partner with a brand, you can promote and market twice. On your platform as well as theirs. Partner with influencers or celebrities to increase your reach and once you start selling, partner with your customers and ask them to share their views on your products. This helps increase your brand image among online customers.
Leverage Email Marketing:
Despite the hype about social media, email marketing is a powerful tool even today. According to campaign monitor email marketing generates $38 in ROI for every $1 spent on it. From welcome emails to delivery notice, review request emails, and win-back emails, email marketing has still got so much more potential than you can imagine.
According to a study from HubSpot, there are 4 billion daily email users worldwide. Send relevant product suggestions, offers, and discount notices via emails and see more and more customers rolling in each day. Set up personalized automated emails using email marketing tools like Klaviyo and Mailchimp.
Don't forget to promote to offline customers:
It's easy to get lost in the world of digital marketing and forget that you may be losing your potential offline customers because you are not paying attention to them. Work on offline marketing campaigns and try to attract local customers to improve word-of-mouth marketing.
Create a Subscription Service:
As we explained above, subscription-based pricing models can be a game-changer for your business. These pricing models ensure a consistent flow of income for your business even when the number of customers is low. Offers like combo deals, occasional offers, extra discounts, early access to sales, and much more attract more customers than individual products because they offer more value at lesser prices.
Establish a reliable communication channel:
The biggest concern of the customers buying products online is how can they reach out to the seller in case there's an issue with the product. To overcome this problem, set up reliable communication channels on your store and social media platforms where your customers can easily reach out when they face any issues.
Getting the first customer is always tough in every business. However, if you take the right steps and formulate a strategy beforehand, you would surely make your first sale sooner than you expect. We hope this article could answer some of your questions.
If you would like to read similar blogs around the DTC business model check out other articles on our blog
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