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21 Jul 2021
Industry Trends | 5 min read

4 Lessons Learned From DTCx Virtual Summit

Rockerbox - Alyssa Jarrett Written by Alyssa Jarrett
on July 21, 2021

I t was all about the future of customer experience (CX) in e-commerce at last week’s DTCx Virtual Summit, which was a real who’s-who with top industry leaders and thousands of attendees from around the world.

Speakers from some of the hottest DTC brands discussed the challenges in today’s marketplace and provided expert advice on how to take a proactive approach to enhancing your company’s CX.

In case you missed it, here are our top takeaways from the event on how you can optimize your CX across the entire customer lifecycle, from awareness and acquisition to retention and loyalty.


1. “This is a game of community”

Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, told it like it is in his hard-hitting opening keynote, leaning into his theme of accountability. He bluntly stated that DTC entrepreneurs and marketers must take responsibility for their customer experience, rather than blame the recent privacy updates in iOS 14.5 that prompt users to authorize ad tracking, stating, “Apple has made it harder for you, but you knew it was coming.”

Not one to back down from a challenge, Vaynerchuk reframed these changes as opportunities for marketers to create a more thoughtful, 360-degree customer experience. He recommended building “an army of enthusiasts” and diversifying your marketing efforts in a variety of channels, such as TikTok and Discord. When he entered the e-commerce scene in the mid-’90s, he admitted that he over-relied on email and regretted “falling in love with one move.”

“People who are one-dimensional will lose,” said Vaynerchuk. His parting advice for attendees was to lean into curiosity and humility, to get their hands dirty, and to try new strategies and tactics to cultivate a larger community of loyal customers.


2. “Stop selling, start telling”

Nik Sharma, founder of Sharma Brands, a consulting firm that works with DTC brands from pre-launch to the Fortune 500 list, introduced the concept of Performance Branding and explained how to build brand equity on the backs of performance dollars. In other words, if your brand is how your company is perceived, then performance branding tells your customers a story of who you are, why you exist and how they can get what they need.

Tushy, the popular bidet brand on a mission to improve the American bathroom experience, deeply understands the power of storytelling. As Ren Fuller-Wasserman, Director of Customer Experience at Tushy explained in her session on how to convert the average customer into a loyal brand amb-ass-ador (nice), “Customers are yearning for real human connection and interaction.”

A leader in brand voice, Tushy serves its customer base of VIPoopers with best-in-class support and an intelligent sense of bathroom humor that goes viral, garnering comments like, “this is by far the best ad I’ve seen on Reddit.” When the “TP crisis of 2020” prompted a shortage of Tushy products for months, their team leveraged the moment to rise to the occasion, lead with a sense of doo-ty and craft memorable experiences.


3. “Get used to a lot of no’s”

One of the most impressive aspects of the success stories told at DTCx Virtual Summit was how many of them were achieved by bootstrapping their businesses. Connie Lo, co-founder of Three Ships Beauty, a vegan beauty brand based in Canada, started her company at 23 years old with only $4,000 to its name. One of the biggest lessons she learned while building Three Ships into a seven-figure brand was to appreciate rejection. 

“Hard no’s are better than soft yes’s,” she explained because they help you refine your pitch and get closer to reaching your goals. As you’re working with limited resources, it’s important to “be flexible but unwavering in your vision.”

Eric Bandholz, co-founder of Beardbrand, a men’s grooming company that serves what he calls “the urban beardsman,” also bootstrapped his business, starting with just a $30 Shopify subscription and growing it into a multi-million dollar company. He explained the freedom that comes with bootstrapping, which allows Beardbrand to provide unique touches, like a Book of Reminders, quarterly planners and other items that share their brand values about how to be an awesome dude.


4. “Good CX is a marketing channel—allocate spend to it”

Eli Weiss, Director of CX at OLIPOP, a beverage company that supports digestive health, discussed the differences between “old school” and “new age” retention. The former involved expensive, time-consuming tactics to win back customers, while the latter is all about listening to consumers and iterating quickly in all facets of the customer experience, from the website and ad copy to shipping, delivery and returns. As the cost of acquisition increases, Weiss explained how to scale empathy and grow sustainably, and it all came down to “letting the voice of the consumer be part of all decisions.”

But how do you allocate spend to a product that hasn’t even launched yet? Conor Lewis, founder of FORT, which offers fort-building kits for kids, revealed step-by-step how he launched the business and achieved $2 million in presales in just ten hours.

Their secret? They identified design-savvy consumers who would be undeterred by their higher price-point and ran Facebook ads to lookalike audiences. They also ran giveaway campaigns to offer a chance to win a fort to those who signed up for their communications. With a whole swath of parents dying to find new ways to entertain their children during lockdown, the result was over 80,000 email leads already primed prior to launch.


Want to Measure the Success of Your CX?

If you’re wondering how to optimize your marketing spend and invest in the channels that are going to move the needle for your business, then we’re here to help. Rockerbox is the attribution and measurement platform DTC brands trust to understand their path to conversion across paid, organic, digital and offline efforts.

To learn more about how Rockerbox serves as the single source of truth for hundreds of DTC brands, schedule a demo today.



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