Direct-to-customer (D2C) eCommerce is the business of selling products under its own brands directly to the final consumer, usually online, and increasingly via mobile apps. D2C eCommerce cuts out the distributor middleman to go direct to potential buyers, and consumers are liking it. Research has also shown that 55% of consumers prefer to shop directly with the brand manufacturer over retailers.
The D2C eCommerce market has been growing rapidly. In part due to platforms like Shopify. Which, is making it even easier for D2C brands to launch a mobile store and start reaching consumers right away. Many brands are launching their own apps in the top app stores like Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and Amazon App Store, where users can simply download the app and start shopping.
There are countless D2C eCommerce apps in app stores globally. Here are some of the best-known D2C eCommerce apps in the market today:
D2C eCommerce Apps
Dollar Shave Club
Dollar Shave Club sells — you guessed it — razors and other personal grooming products to customers by mail. It delivers razor blades monthly and offers additional grooming products for home delivery.
Glossier is known for simplifying the process of buying beauty products. They have a narrow product range of about 40 SKUs. Primarily focused on skincare, with color cosmetics and fragrance rounding out the line. Glossier celebrates its customers’ natural beauty, not the artificial, painted-on kind.
Warby Parker’s D2C model eliminates the hassle of shopping for eyeglasses by sending you multiple pairs. Letting you return the ones you do not like. The convenience of choosing eyeglasses in your own home is Warby Parker’s biggest selling point.
BarkBoxcaters to urban dog owners who do not have the time or means (i.e., transportation) to shop for or with their dogs. Unlike other pet subscription services like Chewy, BarkBox sends pre-packed, themed boxes to customers each month — customers do not designate what they receive.
Cards Against Humanity
This is a party game in which players complete fill-in-the-blank statements using words or phrases typically deemed as risqué or politically incorrect printed on playing cards. It originated from a Kickstarter campaign in 2011 and went D2C with its taboo card game.
Casper is an online bed-in-a-box maker that launched in April 2014. Their concept is simple: Produce the best mattress possible at an affordable price, sell a single model, and deliver it quickly, for free, with a 100-day trial period.
Blue Apron sources, ships, and simplifies the process of making healthy, local food for customers. The brand includes ready-to-use recipes that correspond with each subscription box’s ingredients. The company faces a lot of competition nowadays from other subscription meal services, including HelloFresh, Green Chef, and Plated.
Acquiring Users for D2C eCommerce Apps
Acquiring users will depend largely on platform distribution. Distribution is typically in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, with other app stores like Amazon available as well. For D2C eCommerce apps, marketers typically focus on acquiring users through Facebook advertising and Google App Campaigns, as they’re highly effective channels for acquiring app installs.
For many advertisers, Facebook offers the highest volume and quality source of advertising traffic through D2C Ecommerce App Install Campaigns. Fully capitalizing on the potential of the Facebook platform requires heavy creative testing and, more importantly, continually adapting to changes in Facebook’s advertising strategies and algorithms. Over the past few years, Facebook has ramped up the frequency of advertising product changes, and top D2C eCommerce app advertisers have followed suit by ramping up the frequency of strategy changes. Looking back historically, the strategy we deploy today is very different than the strategy we deployed six months ago. Interestingly, this statement would hold true for any backward-looking period over the past five years. Put simply, our strategy is always changing to keep up with Facebook’s best practices for D2C Ecommerce App Install Campaigns.
Alongside Facebook’s ad solutions are Google App Campaigns, which let advertisers create ads where people can download an app directly from an ad. App Campaign ad – and all the settings available for Google App Campaigns – are designed expressly to generate app installs, such as for D2C eCommerce apps.
You can use other campaign types, like display ads and even text ads, to advertise apps. But the conversion rates for those campaigns are terrible comparable to App Campaigns. You are just way more likely to get people to install an app if they only must make a couple of clicks.
Planning an Advertising Campaign
D2C eCommerce app advertising campaigns work much like any other advertising campaign, with a few key differences.
Know your audience.
Mobile interfaces may be simplified compared to desktops, but they have got just as many (if not more) distractions. If you want your message to get through all the noise, you will need to know what type of messaging will appeal to your ideal users. You will also need to know which channels and publishers your ideal users flock to.
Find out which channels and ad formats fit your budget.
Don’t blow your budget on a display ad on The New York Times if a few in-app ads will work.
Get your tracking and reporting dialed in.
Data-driven marketers love D2C eCommerce app advertising. It is a blend of art and science. With the art driving the creative development and science requiring a lot of number crunching. While it’s rare to find someone, who can manage both aspects, we have tools that can make up for any shortcomings in your teams’ skillset.
Develop great creative. A lot of it.
Creative is your most effective lever to improve performance. Especially now that Facebook and Google have effectively taken over intraday bidding and budgeting. We also simplified media buying with improved machine learning algorithms. As a result, advertisers need superior creative to achieve breakthroughs, and experienced Facebook and Google partners can provide it.
The problem for startups and SMBs, until now, has been the expense of creating enough high-quality ads to produce runaway successes (i.e., the 5% of ads capable of beating previous high performers) and manage creative fatigue.
A 5% success rate means 19 out of 20 ads will fail along the way. That is a lot of creative. Without human talent driving the process, social advertisers stand to lose a lot of money in their efforts to strike gold.
Use Optimization Algorithms to Their Advantage
Facebook and Google UAC have improved its optimization algorithms. So much in recent months that advertisers of all sizes can access sophisticated optimization algorithms without becoming social advertising experts. Both new and established companies can automate the most repetitive aspects of campaign management and achieve comparable financial results.
This means social advertisers are now free to focus on what really counts: creative development, creative testing, and audience selection.
But in each of these areas, there is still a big service gap for startups and SMBs. It is difficult to find agencies offering experienced, affordable, robust creative, and rigorous testing in-house. The exact capabilities you need to ensure efficient advertising spend.
To help close the service gap and allow startups and SMBs to compete more effectively, we recently began offering three tiers of managed user acquisition and creative services for Facebook, Instagram, and Google UAC. All D2C eCommerce app developers and lead generators, regardless of budget size, now have the means to get profitable and scale their user acquisition on Facebook and Google App Campaigns.
Takeaways for D2C eCommerce App Marketers
For D2C eCommerce apps, Facebook D2C eCommerce App Install Campaigns and Google App Campaigns are the best tools to acquire valuable users. If you are not squeezing every drop of opportunity out of Facebook and Google ads, it’s time to up your D2C eCommerce app.