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D2C - The direct line to your customers

For Reeham, coffee means a celebration. A celebration of friendship and togetherness. And what better way to show it than directly with our dear customers? As a direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand, we are aware of how important it is to be in close contact with our customers. Active dialog as an exchange is a matter of course for us.

The fact that we have adopted a D2C strategy and have already won over a solid number of coffee fans shows that every brand is capable of establishing a foothold in the online business independently of intermediaries.

More and more manufacturers and brands are selling their products directly to their end customers without resellers. The advantages are quite obvious: a higher profit margin.

Even more important is the independence from other retailers and parties in the distribution of its own products. For the most part, control is to return to the manufacturer or the brand.

In this article, we'll tell you exactly what so-called D2C - direct-to-consumer brands are all about and how you can best win and retain customers as such a brand.

To help us understand the D2C distribution channel again in detail, here is a definition:

Direct-to-consumer (D2C for short) is literally direct-to-consumer. In the retail context, this means that the products come directly from the manufacturer to the customer without a reseller getting in the way. So we can sell you our coffee directly. If we sold our coffee at Edeka, Edeka would be a middleman. More Information about distribution channels can give you the founder's encyclopedia.

Today, digitization is giving smaller businesses more and more opportunities. The barrier to entry into online commerce is lower than ever, opening up an easy path into the online world for the D2C sales channel. In the vast majority of cases, a D2C strategy is based on on online sales.

D2c example: reeham Coffee

For an accurate context, we would like to briefly share our D2C strategy in a short story:

Customers come first at Reeham Coffee. We try to meet every customer's request and expectations. We make them feel comfortable in our coffee shop and at home with their home brewed Reeham Coffee.

We want to bring the daily coffee pleasure only good and understand that coffee is not only a morning ritual, but also the perfect companion for the office or on the road with friends.

How this becomes visible for the customer and helps to make a quick decision?

  • delivery free of shipping costs
  • lower prices
  • Coupons
  • extraordinary product portfolio
  • Product Design
  • Customer dialog

These are both our own requirements and those of our customers. The needs and the consumer / buying behavior change again and again. Based on analysis and evaluation of data, as well as research, this story is always adapted.

The D2c trend

Thanks to digitization and rapidly growing technologies, new opportunities are emerging for smaller brands to position themselves better and, above all, more cost-effectively online. The easiest way to get started is social media. The major platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are all free and offer great potential.

They all have their special communities and requirements for successful marketing. You just have to be strategic to make the most of your invested time.

However, it does not have to mean directly that a D2C project bears fruit immediately. Rather, it is a long-term mix of marketing, communication, and also innovation to establish one's brand alongside 10000+ other brands.

Not necessarily innovative, but rather strong mixed in should be the brand. The more defined the niche, the higher the probability that a need will arise. But also the development of a strong brand makes it possible to distribute simple products.

By simple products we mean CPG - Consumer Packaged Goods. In other words, products that are small and conveniently packaged. For the most part, this includes packaged foods that are not easily perishable. Young food startups with fresh designs are the most noticeable here. These brands see food retailers as an extended distribution arm, among other things.

More control and independence

As already described, the old hands in wholesale have a much greater reach than a new small manufacture or brand. In addition, there is still a larger budget available.

Nevertheless, as a strong D2C brand, one has significantly more control over individual product marketing. In terms of distribution, even more target groups than those determined by the wholesaler, some of which are restrictive, could be covered. Prices can be set much more freely and higher. In general, the expansion can be kept very creative for any business process, as there is no middle man in the way.

What the customer sees from this is a young company that quickly adapts to trends, does good for the environment, pays attention to high quality, keeps itself open to customer dialogue and also shows itself to be an attractive employer. Each brand is different, but most of them show more personality and higher accessibility.

Any restrictions imposed by commercial contracts are non-existent and general ownership feels far more comfortable as a brand owner.

Brand building

As a manufacturer brand, we at Reeham give our product an individual touch. As with many D2C brands, the personal connection to the product plays a marketing-relevant role. Literally seen, this is with us Maher, associated with our coffee roasters. as well as partners and suppliers.

So there are many factors involved in building a brand. Factors that are left out of the wholesaler's equation. Only a small margin is left open for the partners. The product has to market itself - difficult for many brands.

Selling not just a product, but a feeling or lifestyle

While the middle man only wants to sell products, we as a D2C brand set higher standards. We all know that the coffee market is extremely saturated. Every coffee roaster claims to be the best, but where exactly is the subtle difference? Customers and especially laymen are mostly ignorant.

Of course, they then look at the price and make their decision based on that.

However, if the values and, above all, the advantages of the product are communicated to the customer, this could result in added value. The customer would then associate the product with a benefit for his need and be more open to the higher price.

In our case, how exactly does coffee in all its forms fit into the lives of our customers? We can combine several life scenarios with our coffee here:

  • Morning coffee
  • Coffee and cake
  • Coffee as or with dessert
  • Coffee on the go
  • Coffee for productive hours
  • Office coffee
  • Coffee as a pastime at work
  • Coffee for relaxing moments

Some of these scenarios will part also as good habits. For some, coffee is indispensable in the early morning. For them, in their opinion, coffee is the wake-up call par excellence. However, we think that it is a light-hearted moment or the calm before the everyday storm. Before the hectic everyday life begins.

So, if you have found a place in your target audience's life for your product, the higher the chances of picking up your customers without competition getting in your way.

Possibilities of D2C customer loyalty

Once the connection to the customer has been established, communication can take place openly and honestly. The community idea builds up and manufacturers have the opportunity to learn more quickly from their customers. This includes new consumer trends, suggestions for improvement and sometimes even partnerships.

A special side effect is the highly sought-after trust building. In addition, there is the likelihood that free word of mouth will be distributed.

How do we segment and manage our customers in the process? With customer relationship management - in short CRM Tool. This free software allows to store any data of a customer and save consumer behavior and other relevant data. Of course, with explicit prior consent.

The D2c total package should fit

With this article post, we would like to encourage you too to make your brand a strong D2C brand. Consumers are becoming more and more open to local manufacturers. The trend towards sustainability and healthier lifestyles is also opening up new opportunities for many entrepreneurs.

Start-ups, which have the green idea right from the start, have a much easier time in the decision-making phase than an established company. Rather, profit maximization still plays a greater role for these companies, without considering the sustainability aspect.

The agile way of working of the start-ups therefore brings a clearer advantage. They are more personal and may also know the younger generation better because they themselves belong to this generation.

So if you're thinking about it, start with a good story. Share your passion about the topic on social media. Create good content and start building a community around the product. 

Intermediaries include

Despite some drawbacks, the Way to wholesale can also be linked to undiscovered growth potential. On the one hand, you can increase your reach, i.e. it is not limited in the first place, and on the other hand, sales can be significantly increased if, for example, this also reaches customers who do not buy online at all.

For such brands that have a clear reach in their brand strategy, it is not unusual for the wholesaler to even contact the brand on its own initiative. The negotiations could thus look more positive on the manufacturer's side.

In general, middlemen are also just a means to an end. They, too, are only human. Greater negotiating skills = more luck.

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