Consumers may find their online shopping habit hard to break after the lockdown supercharge. The dominant retail trend of recent years has been fuelled by necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic. From our A2P SMS traffic volumes, we have seen DTC e-commerce brands in particular flocking to SMS, more than traditional brands or other sectors. People are pivoting away from flashier marketing channels going with something that, whilst almost 30 years old, drives genuine engagement like no other channel in isolation. It just works.

Not so long ago, the primary challenge within many organizations was that Digital and the benefits of data were not being fully recognized by management as being initiatives of value. How times have changed.

Marketers across a wide range of industry verticals have been pushed by their management to accelerate their development of direct-to-consumer (DTC) models that directly engage customers using digital channels, social media and mobile in general.

Here to stay, DTC brands need to leverage Mobile Engagement channels (whether SMS, chat apps, Push, RCS or anything else) for all their worth. But where to start? Authenticity is a great first step.

The days of companies communicating with us one-way are long gone. Brands need to build trust with us and, just as a budding friendship requires, two-way dialogue feels natural and is what makes people feel truly comfortable. The Marketing game has moved on and many brands now focus on their mission rather than their products. Appealing to a consumer’s lifestyle and even shaping it is front and centre and the likes of SMS, with its ubiquity and unassailable engagement rates, cannot be ignored to help achieve all this.

To be supremely focused on the customer experience, nothing beats owning one’s own consumer data. This links seamlessly into having full control of one’s brand image. Collecting data first-hand enables all this. Think Facebook, Google and Amazon. Knowing the exact likes and dislikes of your client base is priceless and never ignore reaching out proactively to ask them directly. Creating short surveys using A2P mobile channels lends itself perfectly to this. Building a constant feedback loop of actionable insight guarantees continuous innovation. And without innovation, no organization can hope to stay on top.

Moving to a DTC sales model puts the spotlight firmly on your business to deliver a superb customer experience end-to-end. Your client support needs to be top-notch. We all know things don’t always go right but it is how brands deal with us during these times in particular that really separates the good from the bad and the ugly. Whilst removing the middleman and other supplier processes saves costs instantly, it requires a solid investment to ensure clients don’t go anywhere else: a channel such as A2P SMS might cost more than email but its ROI cannot be underestimated. It just works.

The goal of all this work has to be to more directly support, accelerate, or enhance any customer journey by adapting to the changes in customer behavior and differentiating the brand experience. Some brands are trying to displace traditional paid media, intermediary and retail channels that distance them from their customers, preventing them from learning more about them. Others seek to supplement the retail, promotional and partner channels they rely upon with personalized experiences and education.  

Whatever your aims, the results of a well-executed DTC strategy are disruptive and measurable. Owning your own data and being able to create deeper relationships with buyers has precious little downside. And Mitto has a great product suite which ensures you remain firmly in control, whichever approach you may take. Join the many brands globally who have found this out already.