Want to Sell Direct to Consumer? Here’s What You Need to Know

We explore the essential considerations for manufacturers looking to sell DTC.

By Miva | July 25, 2019



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The case for manufacturing brands selling direct to consumer has never been stronger. Today, all aspects of manufacturing, marketing, selling, and distribution can be managed by small, intelligently organized teams employing the latest ecommerce toolkit. A product’s total journey, from concept to unboxing, can be imagined and executed by a single entity. 

With no big-box retailer or online marketplace to siphon off margins in the middle, every independent merchant has the potential to achieve true market control through a DTC strategy. Manufacturers that don’t leverage the latest ecommerce tools to seize control of their own destiny may find themselves subject to increasingly steep distributor margins, and may find it harder to remain competitive in the evolving ecommerce climate.

Here’s what manufacturers should know about how to sell direct to consumer.  

What is DTC?

A direct-to-consumer, or DTC, sales model is one where a manufacturer markets and sells their product to end consumers, instead of going through a third-party retailer, reseller, or other middleman. Selling direct allows manufacturers full control over the end-to-end journey of their product, with opportunities to connect meaningfully with consumers, drive brand loyalty, and encourage repeat business. 

Examples of Manufacturers Selling Directly to Consumers

DTC brands have seen massive growth over the past several years, with total DTC ecommerce sales expected to reach over $151 billion in the U.S. in 2022. Examples of successful DTC brands include Dollar Shave Club, Warby Parker, Casper, and Glossier.  

Benefits of Selling Directly to Consumers

Manufacturers selling direct to consumer have the potential to experience a number of benefits that aren’t typically attainable with traditional wholesale. Here are just a few:  

It’s easier to be found.  

Manufacturers don’t have to depend on third parties to market and sell their products anymore. The ubiquity of digital communication has led to stunning developments in the way all consumers find, research, and purchase products. With the rise of social media and search engine marketing, the cost of implementing an effective digital marketing strategy has plummeted and become more accessible than ever to manufacturers.  

Manufacturer brands no longer need the marketing muscle of retailers or ad agencies to get their products in front of buyers. This allows for better development, more nimble marketing, and the ability for every manufacturer to establish their brand identity within their target market. 

You’re able to build customer relationships. 

Instead of only communicating with a handful of distributors, manufacturers selling direct to consumer will have the opportunity to connect with a much wider audience: their end consumers. Digital DTC channels can provide striking insights about your customers’ demographics, shopping data, and preferences. By using this data to create multiple touchpoints throughout your buyer journey, you can communicate directly with the end users of your products, building strong relationships and establishing the unbeatable experience they’re looking for.  

By expanding this direct communication, you’ll gain further insight into what your target market is looking for, helping you adapt your channel to best serve their needs. This will help to increase your bottom line as your business continues to innovate and scale.  

You can get more done with less.  

More and more manufacturers are realizing that they now have the power to sell products direct to consumer with unprecedented ease and effectiveness. Today’s manufacturers can design and control bespoke, automated ecommerce systems to manage many aspects of branding, production, the DTC sales process, marketing, inventory, fulfillment, and customer service. 

While it used to require an army of workers and a major cash investment to gain this degree of control over product development, sales, and distribution, a small team with the right ecommerce tools can now pull it off for a fraction of the cost. In addition, sophisticated ecommerce automation gives your team more time and resources to invest in expanding the quality, reach, and distribution of your products. 

DTC vs. B2B

Manufacturers that want to start selling direct will need to significantly adjust their strategy in order to fully reap the benefits of a DTC model. Here are a few differences between B2B and DTC strategy.  

  • DTC vs. B2B Marketing: While B2B marketing typically focuses on logic and expertise, a DTC marketing strategy will often win over shoppers by appealing to their emotions. You’ll want to leverage digital channels to drive brand awareness and convince your shoppers to buy directly from you.  
  • DTC vs. B2B Sales: B2B manufacturers often work long sales cycles to build a handful of strong relationships. DTC sales involve shorter cycles focused on driving quick conversions, boosting average order value, and encouraging repeat purchases.   
  • DTC vs. B2B Distribution: Manufacturers adding a DTC channel may be fulfilling products directly for end consumers for the first time. You’ll want to form partnerships with carriers, determine shipping rates, and establish warehouse locations to get products to your customers efficiently. Convenient shipping options and flexible returns policies can further build trust with your customers.  

Online B2B wholesale is still catching up.

Inefficient, outdated wholesale business practices are starting to take a noticeable hit from new direct sales channels. It’s up to each individual business to decide which side of this trend they want to be on. Seeing stalled growth in your wholesale revenue is not a red flag, it’s an opportunity. 

So how do you sell directly to consumers alongside your B2B channels? You can close the gap between manufacturing and wholesale profits by using an integrated ecommerce platform to open direct sales to all available channels, including both B2B and B2C. By using integrated ecommerce software to manage and facilitate all levels of the supply chain, you can offer a unified omnichannel brand experience while collecting all profits from your product’s entire journey. 

 For many manufacturers, selling direct is the future. To learn more about how you can adapt your business to take advantage of the changing ecommerce landscape by adding DTC channels, check out our free guide. 

CTA offering, "Free Ecommerce Guide: Adding Direct-to-Consumer to Your Business"

This blog was published on July 25, 2019 and updated on October 25, 2022. 
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Author's Bio


Miva offers a flexible and adaptable ecommerce platform that evolves with businesses and allows them to drive sales, maximize average order value, cut overhead costs, and increase revenue. Miva has been helping businesses realize their ecommerce potential for over 20 years and empowering retail, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer sellers across all industries to transform their business through ecommerce.

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