woman with headdress

How to Improve Customer Experience through DTC Channels

This article has been authored by Damien Lemaitre, Global Commerce Director, Media, dentsu. 


In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, people had no choice but to reconsider their lifestyles and shopping habits. As they increasingly shopped online, consumers developed new expectations from brands and platforms. Today, we look at retail-as-a-service and two powerful ways for brands selling online to improve their shopping experience: assisted commerce and payment/delivery services.



Retail-as-a-Service is the new norm 


The COVID-19 pandemic has led people to develop new habits in their daily lives. Some of these changes happened overnight, driving the need for trust, safety, convenience, and value in uncertain and worrying times. Shopping is no exception - and there is no going back. 



All businesses, including manufacturers want a direct route to their customers without having to go through third party distributors. 



According to dentsu COVID-19 Recovery Navigator, two thirds of consumers (67%) intend to continue to shop online as frequently or more often once the pandemic is over. More than half (56%) intend to continue to use contactless payment as frequently or more often. Close to half (46%) intend to use curbside pick-up or delivery as frequently or more often.


Source: dentsu, Taking the Pulse | COVID-19 Recovery Navigator, Wave 15, 1,000+ respondents in the US, January 2021



Many marketers have noticed this point of no return. According to the latest iProspect Global Client Survey, 61% of the marketers surveyed believe building a highly convenient experience for the consumer is the most powerful lever to generate business growth.



The critical question is how to offer more convenience through new services, new value for consumers? 



How to Improve Customer Experience through DTC Channels


Assisted Commerce augments digital shopping experiencesin an omnichannel world


Building a highly convenient experience for consumers is key to generating business growth. Because of this, assisted commerce is an efficient way for brands and retailers to engage with online shoppers. The acceleration in intelligent communication tools and the rise of live video has allowed the development of scalable solutions to interact in real-time, meaningful, and personalised ways with digital shoppers. 


Take Salesfloor, for example. They help customers browsing an online commerce website to connect with a local store associate in real time through video, live chat, e-mail, SMS and appointment requests (virtual or in-store). Tolstoy is another innovative platform that proposes solutions such as shoppable video quiz and face-to-face personal shopping through asynchronous video chat. These omnichannel and hyper-personalised approaches to clienteling enable a more seamless shopping experience for the user.


A perfect example of a successful brand transitioning to assisted commerce in the luxury car industry comes from Cadillac. Through Cadillac Live, the brand reimagined the showroom vehicle shopping experience by offering group and one-on-one walkarounds of their vehicles through live video conversation with experts.



Payment and Delivery services offer new levels of flexibility



Delivering convenient customer experiences does not stop with product discovery but extends to the entire journey.


Flexible payment, speed of delivery, and sustainable shipping options are now becoming the standards for mature direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands aiming to engage with more demanding customers.


For instance, Buy Now Pay Later is a booming financial service offered by more and more brands across a large range of industries, from fashion (e.g., H&M) to electronics (e.g., Sonos), to even luxury (e.g., Dolce & Gabbana). Klarna is a leading payment solution provider available to DTC brands willing to offer multiple flexible payment plans without interest fees to customers, such as Pay in 4 payments, Pay in 30 days, and up to 36-month financing solutions. For brands, offering more flexible payment terms can help convince new customers to try their product, or increase their average order value.


Additionally, delivery speed and sustainability can be important considerations DTC brands need to factor into their ecommerce proposition. According to a survey by Omnitracs, 65% of respondents would pay more for faster, more reliable deliveries (1-2 day shipping), 21% would pay more for a loyalty program that offered shipping discounts, and 40% would like to see more environmentally friendly delivery options, such as electric trucks.



In light of new shopping routines increasingly reliant on online environments, it is critical for brands to offer shopping services on par with consumer expectations in order to move from product consideration to transactions. Assisted commerce and payment/delivery services are two compelling ways for marketers to add the extra convenience that will make the difference.


At dentsu, we have extensive identity and commerce solutions to support your brand. Get in touchtoday to learn more.


Download Shopper DNA: The Future of Retail here