Each year eCommerce captures a larger portion of total retail sales. And, while big-name brands continue to play a major role, smaller brands and manufacturers are now joining the fray. And for those businesses that do so, direct-to-consumer fulfillment offers some significant advantages.
What is DtC Fulfillment?
In the traditional fulfillment model, manufacturers sell products to retail partners, who in turn sell them to the end consumer. In a direct-to-consumer (also called DtC or D2C) shipping strategy, however, the manufacturer sells and sends products directly to consumers, with no retailer or “middleman” involved.
A key benefit of direct-to-consumer fulfillment is that it gives manufacturers complete control over both the product lifecycle and customer journey. With the right automated EDI integrations for Acumatica, manufacturers do business in a whole new way, and streamline DtC fulfillment from start to finish.
Benefits of DtC eCommerce Fulfillment
Control of your brand experience isn’t the only advantage to DtC sales models. Offering your products directly to consumers also lets you:
- Control pricing, promotions, and provide exclusive products for consumers shopping from you directly
- Ship directly to your customers, in your own branded packaging
- Compile sales trend data to enable intelligent forecasting
- Create your own “endless aisle” eCommerce offering
For example, TrueCommerce customer Thanksgiving Coffee trades with retailers and restaurants, but also sells directly to customers via TrueCommerce’s integrated eCommerce platform. In addition to one-time orders of individual coffees, the brand also provides subscription services like their Roastmaster’s Select Club, which lets enthusiastic customers try exclusive micro-lot coffees.
Direct-to-Consumer Fulfillment Requires Strategic Thinking
Despite the benefits to a direct-to-consumer fulfillment model, manufacturers who jump into DtC fulfillment without the proper tools in place may be in for a rude awakening.
Often, a switch to direct sales results in a significant increase in order volume. This increase can be overwhelming and error prone, especially if your business relies on manual data entry. What’s more, shipping DtC usually requires manufacturers to switch gears from shipping pallets to stores and DCs to sending individual cartons and boxes to residences. Customers also expect fast delivery, which can be difficult to achieve, especially when working with legacy systems.
How to Win at DtC eCommerce Fulfillment
To find success in the DtC market space, your business needs to be ready to manage customer expectations. Acumatica’s powerful CRM capabilities offer a great start with complete visibility into customer data. The Acumatica Order Management Software is also helpful in reducing order turnaround times, so you can provide a great post-sale experience. However, the best DtC brands also leverage automated solutions that integrate with Acumatica for true, end-to-end control.
Here are a few ways that fulfillment solutions can help:
- Real-time communication with warehouses and 3PL partners
- Integration with the Acumatica that autofills and verifies key customer data
- Fast processing that gets orders out the door, fast
- Scalable systems that handle large order volumes easily
Looking for the right solution for your business? TrueCommerce Pack & Ship provides a suite of automated tools that can help manufacturers keep up with direct orders and get shipments out on time.
For more information, reach out to one of our shipping specialists to see how we can enhance your DtC fulfillment and help your business grow.