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Website tips to help small DTC businesses scale

Website tips to help small DTC businesses scale

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Website tips to help small DTC businesses scale

If you are planning to launch a business, direct-to-consumer (DTC) can be a great way to get started and test your product. Alternatively, if you are already in retail, a DTC platform can also serve as a great marketing tool. “Bagelista is primarily a wholesale company. When we think of DTC, we think of it as a marketing vehicle to spread the word about our products. Our website is a destination that allows customers to learn more about the brand, explore and shop. It’s also a way to introduce the brand to new retail buyers,” Warren says.  

When creating a website for your brand, you’ll want your website to speak to customers. As for how to accomplish that goal? Warren offers up these three tips:  

  • Your website should be informative and easy to use. “Your website should read like a brochure and answer any questions a potential customer may have while showcasing product imagery,” says Warren. “If it’s well designed, at every interval it should give your visitors a chance to become a customer.” This includes ensuring there’s a firm call to action to make a purchase, with buttons like “add to cart,” “buy now” or “check out.” 
  • The site should legitimize the brand. “A brand website should pass what I call ‘the sniff test,’ meaning the customer should leave the site thinking that this is a legitimate brand,” Warren explains. Some things to consider highlighting on your website include recent press clips or mentions, authentic customer reviews and high-quality photography and videography. 
  • You should be able to easily capture email addresses. “If you don’t have a potential customer’s email, you have no chance to follow up with them to make a sale, create a conversation and bring them into your brand community,” Warren says.  

But how to put this all into action? There are a few ways small businesses can build an impactful website experience from the ground up, notes Warren. 

“When we were launching our business as a self-funded brand, we had to make the decision to pay someone to build out our site or do it ourselves and put that money towards other parts of the business. We ultimately chose to take the DIY route,” Warren shares.  

If you go that route, Warren warns that “it likely won’t be perfect at version one, two, or even version three. It can take years.” He suggests revisiting your brand website every six months and making note of changes to be made annually or semiannually. “It’s a great way to execute on a budget,” notes Warren.  

Platforms Warren recommends when building out your site include:  

  • Shopify: “There is a reason Shopify is the number one platform for e-commerce. You can start out with your first sale on Shopify and then grow with them to be a multi-million-dollar business on the same platform. It’s unbelievably user-friendly,” says Warren.  
  • Klaviyo and Mailchimp: “Both are great email marketing platforms, and allow you to speak and engage with your customers.”  
  • Yotpo: Yotpo allows you to easily collect and publish your reviews, which goes a long way in creating brand trust. Warren explains that “your positive user reviews are like gold for customer acquisition. When customers shop, they want to see trusted, authentic reviews.” 

Once you launch your site, Warren advises keeping your eyes open to customer acquisition costs and being mindful of spend vs. return. “There are a lot of organic opportunities for product discovery,” says Warren. “Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth. And when you have a potential customer on your site, try to get as much information as you can to better understand who is purchasing your product.” 

For example, Warren favors post-checkout surveys, which have been an important tool for Bagelista. “It helps us learn information that can help us better communicate with our customers. That said, these types of customer surveys can be a great source of data when DTC brands are ready to scale into retail.” The top three metrics Warren suggests reviewing in preparation to scale are as follows:  

  • Where are your customers coming from? Learning where your customers live (like region) can help you approach retailers to showcase customer demand for your product.  
  • What is the lifetime value of the customer? The lifetime value of your customer is an important metric for retailers because it allows them to better understand your business long-term.  
  • How often do your customers buy? Creating loyal customers and showcasing the frequency in which they buy helps showcase the value of your product to a retailer. 

Once you’re preparing for retail, Warren says that the biggest advice he would give founders is to avoid tension in pricing. “When making the jump into retail, your retail pricing should be lower than your website price in order to incentivize customers to shop at retail,” Warren says. “Figuring out the sweet spot in pricing for your multi-channel brand will allow you to have a healthy business.”  

Now that you have Warren’s expert advice, consider your next steps and perhaps order a pack of Bagelista bagels to fuel yourself for the journey ahead. 

Post topic(s): Business advice

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