With the rise of Instagram in 2010, high streets and shopping centres, once the epitome of youth shopping culture, have seen a decline. As glossy prints wane and social media emerges as the prime source of inspiration, traditional beauty, fashion, and lifestyle brands, many of which expanded their physical footprints significantly in the past decade, found themselves at a crossroads: pivot or persevere. However, the 2020/21 lockdowns became a watershed moment. Ambitious entrepreneurs recognised this shift as a pivotal opportunity, positioning themselves to lead the industry into a new era of DTC (Direct-to-Consumer) brands.
1. Cutting out the middleman
With the emergence of eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, Squarespace, and WooCommerce, entrepreneurs found a streamlined pathway to compete alongside industry giants. For as little as £30 per month and minimal technical expertise, launching a brand and achieving profitability became more accessible and appealing than ever before. Insider Intelligence reported that by the close of 2020, e-commerce constituted over 17% of total global retail sales, a figure projected to climb to 19% by the end of 2021.
This emerging wave of eCommerce startups eliminated the need for intermediaries like traditional retailers, selling directly to their consumers. This model enabled them to offer products at more competitive prices without skimping on quality, shifting their primary focus from markups to maximising profits.
2. A little goes a long way
With basic knowledge savvy beauty and wellness startups were able to use analytics, Google Ads, social media, Ads and email marketing platforms, to gain custom acquisition and navigate their way to the frontline.
3. Retention over anything else
The truth it’s hard to acquire new customers so DTC beauty and wellness brands are taking a new approach of retaining existing customers over new. Why? Since the data privacy updates from Apple and Google in 2021, to prevent the tracking of consumer activity across the internet, it has made it harder to target look-alike audiences. But again this was a blessing in disguise, as retaining and re-engaging existing customers, actually sees a better financial return.
4. Create a highly engaged community
One DTC beauty brand that’s successfully leveraging the landscape is Trinny London. She has expertly developed a word-of-mouth marketing ecosystem calling her extremely loyal community the ‘Trinny Tribe’, congregating on her Facebook group and where the administrators organise global yearly meet-ups for the members to chat all things ‘Trinny’ products related, over coffee or bubbles. She knows her target demographic (aged 45+) inside and out, their dreams, fears, and desires. She expertly gives them a platform to voice the conversations they want. Learn more about community building – 4 Powerful Brand Strategies Indie Beauty Brands Swear By for Success.
5. Leveraging ‘The Branding’ Age
While the 60s and 80s heralded the era of advertising, and the 90s to early 00s celebrated the age of marketing, the period from 2010 onwards has unmistakably been the age of branding, propelled by the surge in social media. Today’s DTC brands maintain a keen intuition about their audiences. They forge deep connections by aligning their personal narratives with those of their followers, creating an authentic bond rooted in shared experiences. They command their realm—quite literally—and possess the power to redefine not just industry norms but also the broader responsibilities brands hold in societal and economic contexts.
In the realm of DTC beauty and wellness, branding transcends surface appeal. It’s about embracing vulnerability, celebrating and advocating for the consumer, and fostering positive change. Above all, it’s an empowering force that encourages individuals to embrace their authentic selves.
In an ever-evolving landscape of branding, particularly within the beauty and wellness sector, staying ahead requires more than just keen observation—it demands action.
Are you a DTC beauty/wellness brand looking to launch successfully? If yes, and you want to dive a little deeper into the branding strategies of beauty and wellness brands then you may want to consider my Brand Planner & Workbook is crafted to guide you through building a brand that has depth, style and story, allowing your brand to connect authentically and resonate deeply in today’s digital world.
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