How do you make D2C successful?
August 7, 2020

Industry AnalysisHow do you make D2C successful?

D2C companies continue to appear, but what's the secret to success? Customer obsession.
Key takeaways
    • Psychographics are more valuable than demographics, but understanding the taste and psyche of your individual audience members will serve you best in the long run. Taste profiles are powerful.
    • Recognise and nurture your community. Closed feedback loops between businesses and their audience are powerful. Build for your audience, not for yourself.
    • Use social media to power your feedback loop- a method of truly speaking to your audience. This can empower your business to respond and adapt, faster than ever.


What is D2C?

In a simple nutshell, it means “direct to consumer”, and it’s an alternative method of business to the traditional B2C i.e. “business to consumer”. D2C means that companies sell, and market directly to their consumers, without a middle man. For example, selling directly through your business’ own website and stores, and marketing through their own social media.

There is of course, much more detail on this business model. Read up in this Harvard Business Review article.

Nurturing and listening to your community will maximise D2C success

While psychographics are ever growing in importance, taste profiles are even more important. People are unpredictable, we’re emotional creatures, often driven by the irrational. While psychographics are certainly a brilliant place to start understanding your target audience- researching your audience’s tastes on an individual basis, and extrapolating from this would give you an even deeper understanding of who buys your product/service, and what they actually need and want. This is how to understand your brand’s relevance- PAY. ATENNTION 🙂

While PR and advertising have their place, a different kind of marketing is required to really earn your stripes in D2C. Building, nurturing and listening to your community will maximise your chance of success.

Who’s doing it well?

We’ve seen endless brands appear over recent years claiming to adhere to the D2C business model. Glossier, Warby Parker, Dollar Shave Club and Casper are just a handful.

Many D2C brands have a smaller product range, which alleviates people of the dreaded choice paradox. Ain’t nobody got time to be making unnecessary decisions. offer something, stay focused, and offer it well. Less but better.

Casper sells 3 types of mattress, and they are doing smashing it. They expected to sell about $1.8M worth of mattress in their first year, but instead they reached that number in just 2 months of business.

There are 2 brands I want to focus on in more depth though – Emily Weiss’s skincare brand, Glossier and shoe (and mask) brand, Atoms founded by Waqas Ali and Sidra Qasim.


Glossier has become somewhat of a household name… Particularly for households with any skincare and makeup fanatics in. Founder, Emily initially started her entrepreneurial journey with Into The Gloss, a website that provided a fly on the wall look at women’s skincare and routines. Editorial content covered many influential womens’ favourite products and shared little know beauty hacks. It was and still is brilliant!

Emily gained such a deep understanding of so many women’s beauty needs through this- as a result Glossier was born. Glossier products are inspired by its audience. The loop is closed- Glossier is inspired by its audience, so makes the ideal products for this audience, who then provide feedback, and the loop continues.

Crucially, Glossier products can only be purchase through the e-commerce store and through it’s Instagram worthy shops and pop-up shops across the world. Since these stores first started cropping up, you’ll always see a queue snaking round the corner (the key reason I still haven’t ventured to the Covent Garden London store).

Glossier also strives to represent the diversity of its audience in its visual campaigns- something it is constantly responding to feedback on.

In 2019, Glossier was was valued at $1.2B – Emily is rightly celebrated for being one of the rare female founders and CEOs of a “Unicorn” company. –
The proof is in the pudding – human-centric business is the one – caring, and building for your audience pays off.


Those of you from the USA, and especially San Francisco Bay area, will be very aware of new sneaker brand Atoms. Move over All Birds, these are the sneaks of choice for Tech Bros now.
For the uninitiated, Atoms is the simplified and hyped shoe brand founded by Waqas Ali and Sidra Qasim.

D2C can only work if your brand is obsessed with your audience and getting to know them – or their shoe size. All of us have wildly different shoe sizes, and may compromise on fit without even realising it. Atoms solves this issue, and also solves the choice paradox. They offer shoes in quarter sizes so you can get the perfect fit- and the comfiest shoes you’ve ever worn in your life. They only offer jet black, pure white or black and white, they use copper threads inside the shoes to keep your sneaks smelling fresh, and you can only purchase via their website.

They’re not cheap, at $179 a pop, but from those who’ve bought into the hype, they are worth every penny. Atoms has paid so much attention to its audience’s (OUR!) feet and lifestyles that Atoms went viral in the USA even before they officially launched.

To ensure they are maintaining a closed feedback loop, Atoms have set up a private Instagram account where they are sharing behind the scenes info and asking for audience input.

Atoms D2c private Instagram


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