The D2C world is highly competitive. If a D2C brand wants to stay relevant in the marketplace, it must shine through its own D2C app. But how is an app going to help a D2C brand cut through the tough competition? And how much does it cost to build a D2C app?
Let’s address all these questions in this blog, starting with the basics of the D2C business model.
The term D2C stands for ‘Direct-to-Customer’ and refers to the businesses that sell their products directly to the end users under their brand, mostly via the internet and sometimes through physical platforms as well. The digital channel of sale includes social networking sites, marketplaces, or enterprise e-commerce sites.
The D2C business model eliminates the role of intermediaries; complete control of product range, sales strategy, and brand image. Generally, D2C brands specialize in a smaller range of products and customize them according to the customer’s needs.
Traditional D2C shops like Nike, Gap, Apple, etc., had their brick-and-mortar retail stores to make sales. However, in this digital era, contemporary D2Cs are changing the paradigm. They are increasingly using the online platforms to attract and engage with the audience.
This is even the right strategy considering the time people spend on their smartphones and the online shopping habit that was formed owing to the pandemic. In fact, D2C growth has been fuelled by the eCommerce market.
However, eCommerce is not necessarily D2C. For example, Amazon is both a retailer as well as a middleman for a lot of products. Similarly, brands like Etsy and Kohl’s are not purely D2C but are eCommerce.
Contemporary D2C brands are making sales to their end consumers through their eCommerce shops, where customers can view, try, purchase, and engage with their chosen brand directly. This is an example of a pure D2C business model.
A lot of Indian startups doing well as D2C are Mamaearth, Wakefit, Boat, 82°E, BlissClub, etc.
During the pandemic, people indulged in online shopping and as a result, consumer-facing businesses with online stores experienced traffic and a resultant boost in sales and revenue. With more than 5,217 eCommerce startups active in India, it is important and equally challenging to stand out.
However, in this world driven by smartphones and mobile apps, a D2C business could stand out and lead the D2C space with an app for its customers. Not only us but the consumers feel the same. Around 55% of consumers prefer to buy directly from D2C brands rather than some multi-brand retailers.
This is not it. D2C apps have a lot of direct benefits to the business as well. Let’s have a look at some of these advantages:
It is reported that smartphone users spend more than 3 hours a day on their mobile devices. Through a mobile app, a D2C business could schedule and send push notifications to its consumers from time to time to stay connected with its clients and update them about product and business developments.
An app would further facilitate faster feedback, through integrated features such as chat or via traditional ways such as call-to-action buttons i.e., call customer service, send an email, etc.
This would allow the D2C brand to maintain its relevance and visibility because out of sight, out of mind!
The D2C business model is for and by customers. Customer demand is its key driving force. Thus, enhancing customer experience is the topmost priority.
Furthermore, to cut through the massive competition in the D2C world, a brand needs to offer a seamless mobile shopping customer experience. With advancements in technology and the latest integrations, mobile apps could provide this experience.
They act as portable stores for any time, anywhere user needs. Moreover, they are made user-friendly to allow customers to operate or shop on the go or even with poor connection, apps are reliable. For a similar reason, all call-to-action buttons should be always located in the ‘thumb zone’ for easy accessibility.
Thus, an app is an investment for any D2C brand following a business model that reinforces ‘Consumer is the king’!
D2Cs do not have the marketing prowess as well as budget of big brands like Amazon or eBay. Thus, it is difficult for these D2C brands to convert leads into clients/customers. The only way they can initiate lead conversion is through the option of checkout. This option should be secure and easy to proceed with.
In research by Baymard, 21% of consumers said that they abandoned carts due to complicated checkout processes.
One-click payment, other identities, and contact details in apps encourage lead conversions by just being at the right, convenient place. Card details could be saved for future purposes so that customers do not have to re-enter them every time they make a purchase.
Push notifications can further assist with lowering cart abandonments by sending reminders to users to come back and complete the purchase of the top-selling items that they have recently viewed or added to their cart.
Interestingly, conversions through ads are 50% higher on mobile phones than on desktops and the cost per conversion is 25% lower. The stats are reason enough for a D2C to jump on the mobile app bandwagon and grow with boosted sales.
Apps can further enhance user experience through the augmented reality (AR) feature that allows consumers to try before buying. This has been a game changer for the eCommerce market.
Emerging technologies like AR/VR, etc., allow consumers to make a fully informed decision, reduce exchange and return rates, and thus save business resources, time, and effort.
Applications are gold mines for fetching consumer data and enhancing the services accordingly. Businesses can leverage user data to learn about his/her tastes and preferences, behavior, shopping patterns, preferred shopping time and payment option, etc., and personalize the shopping experience for the user.
These insights further allow businesses to run targeted marketing campaigns and gain the most out of them. D2C brands that have a particular set of users and audiences can use these insights to better serve them and attract similar categories of new customers.
Also Read: Mobile App Development Guide
Since apps are the means to reach a wider audience and engage with them, constant efforts are being made to make the User Interface (UI) more user-friendly and interactive. A UI design that is easy to navigate through and understandable helps businesses optimize their mobile apps.
The mobile apps of D2C brands should come with a well-structured and designed UI to facilitate smooth search and navigation through the wide range of products showcased in the catalog.
Further, the apps that come with a smart search tend to enhance user experience. The feature helps in displaying search results that perfectly match the search terms.
Apps are contending with the tight schedules a person is running on. Hence, the ways that make the usage of technology easier through even another technology is accepted by humans to save time and effort. Because time is money!
Therefore, voice search and assistants are being used to streamline the shopping experience and the future they hold is brighter than any light.
People are using voice search to research products and services, place orders, and track shipments and delivery. Additionally, voice searches are being used for customer support, adding reviews and feedback, and reordering or exchanging items.
With 27% of voice searches taking place on mobile devices, D2C brands should make the most out of the voice search trend and add this feature to their mobile apps for enhanced customer experience.
The convenience and quickness of a voice search make it an attractive feature for an online shopper.
Cryptocurrency has been a buzzing word in the financial world for quite a long time now. The global cryptocurrency market is projected to be valued at $2.2 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 7.1% during the forecast period.
As crypto evolves, so would blockchain technology. Thus, D2C brands must consider adding blockchain wallets to their mobile app payment systems. Crypto facilitates QR code compatibility, faster transactions, lower costs, anonymity, and enhanced security.
More and more D2C brands are also adding features like subscriptions or upgrades in the app for better shopping experiences and added benefits.
Lenskart, for example, offers a gold membership to its users on the web and mobile app. It incentives the user to buy the membership with some complimentary items, offers, and discounts. This is a way to attract more users, persuade them to install mobile apps for better accessibility, and boost sales.
Thus, a D2C brand can create a mobile app and incentivize its users with offers, deals, and discounts to download and make orders from the app.
Let’s now look at the costs involved in the development of a D2C app.
The cost of a mobile app development usually depends upon multiple factors such as complexity, features, design, integrations, etc.
A basic D2C eCommerce app would include an admin panel, buyers’ and sellers’ profiles, a reviews page, a search system, a product page, messaging feature, notifications, a payment gateway, a shopping cart, and search filters as follows:
|Authorization and Authentication||$5,000 – $21,000|
|Admin Panel||$18,000 – $25,000|
|Search with Filters||$15,000 – $20,000|
|Product Pages||$10,000 – $14,000|
|Shopping Cart||$12,000 – $17,000|
|Product Recommendations||$10,000 – $40,000|
|Payment System||$15,000 – $20,000|
|Shipping||$10,000 – $20,000|
|Geolocation||$10,000 – $16,000|
|Photoshopping||$10,000 – $20,000|
|Virtual Placement||$16,000 – $30,000|
|Customer Review||$12,000 – $18,000|
|Notifications||$10,000 – $20,000|
The exact costs would further depend upon industry and marketplace type, target audience, and preferred D2C platforms.
According to research, 40% of consumers expect that more than 40% of their future spending will go towards Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) brands in the next 5 years. So, the D2C brands should be able to capitalize on the situation through quick accessibility, ease of shopping, and a 24×7 engagement option.
Thus, along with websites and social media pages, D2C brands should definitely invest in an app to enhance visibility and user experience.
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A Direct-to-Customer or D2C app is an application that facilitates D2C brands to sell their products and services directly to customers. There are no intermediaries or middlemen involved in this business model.
These apps allow users to view, try and buy products through mobile devices.
The benefits of a D2C app are:
1. These apps help the D2C brands to stay connected with their customers through push notifications
2. Enhance user experience through easy accessibility, features, and emerging technologies such as AR
3. One-click payment option increases the conversion rates
4. Mobile ads enhance engagement
5. Data analytics provide customer insights for a more personalized experience
No. D2C and B2C apps are different.
D2C (Direct-to-Customer) app facilitates the exchange of products in a way that the product reaches the customer directly through digital channels without a middle distribution channel.
Whereas, with B2C (Business-to-Customer) the product or service reaches the consumer with a middleman or distribution channel involved.
To make a D2C app stand out, add the following features to the app:
1. A user-friendly, easy-to-navigate UI/UX
2. One-click payment and details options; secure and quick payment gateways
3. Latest technologies like AR/VR, blockchain, etc.
4. Smart search
5. Voice search
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