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Nov 17, 2021 | 5 minute read

How to Launch a New D2C Channel in 90 Days or Less

written by Hannah Jarrett

The Continued Rise of D2C Commerce:

In Gartner’s latest Digital Commerce Market Share Analysis, a key theme was continued exploration of new business models for brands looking to double down on their existing successful digital commerce businesses.  Specifically they shared:

“Exploration occurs into direct-to-consumer (D2C) for manufacturing and consumer packaged goods (CPG) verticals due to the disruptions in distribution channels.”

Brands in these industries, and others, have seen an opportunity to explore direct-to-consumer (D2C) commerce for the first time.  In this blog post, I share some top reasons for why we are seeing an increased investment in D2C. But, in short:

  1. Customers want to buy direct
  2. Brands are feeling the pressure to drive growth with digital
  3. A D2C model means brands can innovate and differentiate on their own terms
  4. The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated digital adoption & disrupted product availability

Fast & Flexible & Budget Friendly: Can You Have All Three?

10 years ago the needs of brands embracing digital were simple. Driving digital revenue was as easy as launching a basic website and the expected timeline to implement or make a significant change was 9-18 months. Traditional platforms were a perfect fit for these brands, it provided everything they needed to launch eCommerce out of the box and promised to scale with their enterprise business.

But, the digital world has drastically changed in the last 10 years. Now having a website is table stakes.  D2C brands feel the constant pressure to differentiate their digital presence through omni-channel experiences, out-innovate the likes of Amazon, and keep up with customer needs with engaging experiences that outshine the competition.

We are not only seeing the need to launch D2C, but the need to design unique brand-centric experiences and launch them fast, without breaking the bank. This is easier said than done. The reality is, the majority of eCommerce platforms on the market provide can’t offer all three.

  • Fast: Traditional platforms like Shopify might promise speed to market but, their technology is rigid meaning if you’d like to customize their base offering (for example: launch D2C in multiple countries or give merchandisers complete flexibility to create dynamic product bundles), it will require expensive and time-consuming workarounds.
  • Flexible: MACH-based platforms like Commercetools promise flexibility to design and launch the D2C experiences of your wildest dreams BUT, their offering is made up of 100s of APIs that only a company with an extremely high digital maturity could take advantage of.  We often hear from brands who have run a POC with Commercetools only to find the technology too complex to actually meet their unique needs in a timely manner.
  • Cost-Effective: While on paper both Shopify and Commercetools may seem cost effective, their inability to provide solutions that are both fast & flexible means that brands will have to compensate with custom work that drives up TCO.

For brands looking for a simple way to deliver their unique digital commerce experiences (even when they are complex!) in a cost effective way, there is no good option. This problem is exactly what we seek to fix at Elastic Path.  We provide Composable, API-first Headless Commerce solutions that make it simple for brands with complex requirements to deliver unique digital commerce experiences.

While our modular microservices-based architecture and business-centric core commerce capabilities provide flexibility, our Pre-Composed Solutions™ ensure brands can get to market rapidly, without blowing their budgets. These business-ready solutions are built on top of Elastic Path Commerce Cloud and pre-integrate core Elastic Path capabilities, 3rd party integrations, and any necessary customizations.  By pre-composing everything brands need to fulfill a specific use case, we eliminate the risk of having to custom-piece together your own solution and we ensure speed to market.

New: Pre-Composed Solution™ for Rapid D2C Commerce:

Today we are excited to announce the latest addition to our library of Pre-Composed Solutions™: a Pre-Composed Solution™ for Rapid D2C Commerce, also known as CommerceFactory, built by Elastic Path Partner TA Digital.  After the success we had with a similar Pre-Composed Solution™ on Elastic Path Commerce, it was a no-brainer for us to co-develop a 2nd Pre-Composed Solution™ for Elastic Path Commerce Cloud in order to take advantage of the explosive growth we’re seeing with our MACH-based offering for high-growth brands.

This solution gives brands the flexibility and speed to easily launch their unique D2C experiences, without blowing their budget. Key benefits include:

  • Reduce technical complexity by eliminating manual integrations and ground-up site builds
  • Launch in 90 days, guaranteed, with a fully-managed, pre-integrated solution
  • Reduce IT costs with “ready-to-launch" solution that removes the need for extra delivery or dev work
  • Drive customer loyalty & revenue with intuitive and engaging D2C customer experiences across channels

It reduces the risk and time commitment associated with embracing a multi-vendor solution by pre-integrating Acquia for CMS, Elastic Search for search, CyberSource or Stripe for payments, and Avalara & Vertex for tax and shipping.  Plus, since it is built on flexible microservices architecture, brands can easily customize their experiences at launch or months or years down the road.

Core features include:

  • Enterprise CMS functionality such as content workflow, drag & drop content, dynamic image scaling, support for multi-language, visual page builder and more
  • D2C experiential design focus including large imagery support, promotion banners, SEO friends, full width design, and more
  • Mobile optimized including cross-platform cart, PWA, and quick payment methods
  • D2C enterprise commerce functionality such as bundling, advanced promotions, catalog syndication, Google, Facebook, & Instagram integration, guest checkout, guided shopper, single page checkout and much more

We’d love to connect on how this Pre-Composed Solution™ for Rapid D2C Commerce could help you launch a D2C channel in 90 days or less. Reach out today to learn more.