by Ashley Pinto - direct to consumer
3 minute read

The majority of brands consider direct to consumer (D2C) as just selling products directly to customers in a non-retail environment. That is the foundation for D2C but there are many variations of this model. This raises questions like how do brands reach customers and how do they gain trust as a D2C seller? These can be answered by taking a closer look at what some successful brands are doing. There is an ample number of brands selling D2C and a vast number of them are Digitally Native Vertical Brands (DNVB).

Some current digitally native vertical brands
Allbirds Logo
Blue Apron Logo
Blue Apron
Casper Mattress' Logo
Casper Mattress’
Rad Power Bikes Logo
Rad Power Bikes
Dollar Shave Club Logo
Dollar Shave Club
Warby Parker Logo
Warby Parker

What is a Digitally Native Vertical Brand (DNVB)?

Let’s take a closer look at some of the key differences that make up a DNVB vs. just D2C.

Key features

  • Have direct sourcing of materials.
  • Control overall brand experience with customers.
  • Control the distribution methods.
  • Strong customer engagement.

They are responsible for sourcing materials.

Brands who procure their own raw materials are closer to their products. Whether they manufacture the products themselves or pay for the labor, ultimately, they are in control of their inventory. Through this they have a developed relationship with their suppliers and have an inventory which in turn makes them ready for situations like improving product design and streamlining the manufacturing process.

What might be D2C but not DNVB?

A brand might import products into the country then print their logo on it in order to call it their own. This is called drop-surfing. The problem with this is you no longer control your direct source of materials and you no longer control your supply chain, similar to drop-shipping.

Enhanced brand experience.

DNVB’s know their customers trust them and love their product. To the customer, the brand is one of the most important things. Brand is a key factor when the customer chooses to make a purchase. This is why it’s important that the brand has complete control over the customer experience from end to end. Having control of materials and inventory allows the brand to take a step back to the manufacturing process if there is a problem with a product. This creates a better overall experience for the customer.

Control the distribution Methods

DNVB’s have customers buying directly from the brands website or retail location which leads to increased engagement with that customer. Marketing and advertising are consistent when a customer see’s an ad, receives an email about a sale or steps into that brands retail location. It is a more pleasant experience and leads to more recurring customers.

Overall increased engagement.

Fulfilling and delivering the product is a major part of the customer experience. DNVB’s have control of this step when customers who are creating orders are doing it directly with the brand. There is no middleman or retailer getting in the way of the customer ordering the product then receiving it. This raises the question is multichannel D2C? Not really… If your customers are buying from Amazon or Ebay they are no longer interacting directly with your brand.

Overall a digitally native vertical brand controls all aspects of the vertical supply chain. Rather than just selling products directly to customers like an average D2C, a DNVB controls it all. From materials and manufacturing to orders and fulfillment the customer receives the product and has a positive purchasing experience with the brand end to end.

Ashley Pinto
Ashley is the Head of Marketing for ChannelApe, a warehouse and fulfillment service provider that specializes in D2C eCommerce fulfillment. Ashley's experience is in eCommerce, sales and marketing. She enjoys gardening, cooking, and snowboarding in her spare time.