Customers of leading direct-to-consumer brands in sectors such as fashion and beauty say reviews (76%), discounts (70%) and photos (61%) are among the top factors that make it easier for them to make purchase decisions according to new research.

63% also reveal they’re more likely to make purchases from brands whose websites directly integrate ‘social proof’ in the form of content other customers share about the brands on social media (but over a third said they were not seeing it on the brand websites they visit).

And while Voice is still a relatively new channel, one out of four (25%) of DTC brand customers who were polled say they are making voice purchases (5% often and 20% sometimes).

The study, conducted by commerce experience platform, Nosto, in collaboration with Yotpo, the leading eCommerce marketing platform, and Klaviyo, the owned marketing platform. It is based on a survey of 1,100 consumers in the US who have had a relationship over the last 12 months with one of 50 leading direct-to-consumer brands, mostly firms within the fashion and beauty sectors.

Other findings include:

  • People interact with DTC brands on multiple channels (only 20% of say they stick with a single channel)
  • When it comes to social media ads on the likes of Facebook and Instagram (which many brands are using to retarget people that have visited their website) 44% of consumers in the poll say they notice brands advertising relevant products on social media and more than a third (35%) say they would like to take this further and wanted to be allowed to browse products and make purchases directly via social media sites.

Most customers want to interact across multiple channels

The survey suggests that people generally interact with DTC brands on multiple channels (only 20% of the sample say they stick with a single channel). However, the most popular choice for digital interactions is the brands’ own website (53%) followed by email (12%) and social media (11%). Very few shoppers care to interact with the brands via their native apps (8%) or through SMS or direct mail (both 1%) while 14% say they like to interact with DTC brands in-store.

Despite 63% of DTC brand customers revealing they are more likely to purchase from brands who feature social proof (such as reviews, user-generated content) on their websites, over a third (36%) said they were not seeing it on the brand websites they visit.

And with email being a popular interaction channel, 53% of consumers said they received emails from DTC brands weekly and 38% daily. Unsurprisingly, discount offers (64%) are what motivates them most to open emails from brands, with valuable content (13%) coming second.

“Social proof, reviews, images and email all need to feed into the overall goal of making the shopping experience relevant and easy for customers,” said Jim Lofgren, Nosto’s CEO. “While the analysis suggests DTC brands are having some success in this, it also points to areas where more can be done to improve relevance.”

A basic requirement for all ecommerce brands is to ensure the home page is relevant to visitors and 58% of the sample said the DTC brand home pages they frequent are usually relevant. However, 15% answered no to this and 27% could not recall. Perhaps suggesting there is more effort needed in making the homepage experience more relevant and memorable.

Product recommendations: one in five customers find they’re not relevant

Another way of creating relevance is showing customers product recommendations, whether they are personalised based on the customers’ previous transactions or their online behaviour - or simply highlighting products that are trending or among the biggest sellers.

The majority of the brands in the sample are using some type of product recommendation - only 4% of the customers say they do not see recommendations from brands. 46% say they notice product recommendations on both the brands’ websites and via email. However, one in five (21%) said recommendations they are seeing are not relevant.

Third of customers open to making purchases via social media

Another important finding relates to social media ads on the likes of Facebook and Instagram, which many brands are using to retarget people that have visited their websites. 44% of consumers in the poll say they notice brands advertising relevant products on social media and more than a third (35%) say they would like to take this further and wanted to be allowed to browse products and make purchases via social media sites. 37% of the sample were indifferent about this development and only 28% gave a definite no.

“It’s a fact that one of the hallmarks of great DTC brands is that they are often executing better than most retailers on personalisation initiatives,” said Lofgren. “However, there is still a gap in continuing to be more relevant and getting consumers down the path to purchase. It's clear from the data that one of the best ways to do this is to use a comprehensive multi-pronged strategy of relevant reviews, photos, social media ads and credible user-generated content, combined with creating a relevant personalised shopping experience across all channels.”

The full study can be downloaded here

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