Digitally native vertical brands (DNVBs) like Warby Parker and Dollar Shave Club have become as familiar to consumers as Kleenex and Nike. Compelling storytelling, commitment to customer experience and a strong brand value proposition attracts shoppers and investors alike. The DNVB model’s success also draws entrepreneurs with dozens if not hundreds of new businesses entering the market each year.
While it may seem as easy as securing a supplier, opening an Instagram account and starting a storefront, DNVBs face the same challenges as any startup. Brand exposure, proper pricing strategies, marketing budget constraints and attracting a core audience are hurdles for all new businesses.
Fortunately, there are some basic ways DNVBs can get off on the right foot and capitalize on eCommerce conversions from the start.
But first, let’s level-set.
What is a Digitally Native Vertical Brand?
A DNVB is a direct-to-consumer brand that is born and exists online. These brands also control every level of their businesses from suppliers to delivery to customer service. Because they control their supply chain and cut out middle men, they offer high quality goods at low prices. DNVBs also invest heavily in social media to tell their stories. They leverage micro-data to target a core audience and build a loyal following.
For some DNVBs, entering the physical retail space is a logical step to market growth. Some, like the aforementioned Warby Parker, open brick-and-mortar storefronts is strategic locations. Others, like Harry’s razors enter into agreements with retailers like Walmart and Target and offer products alongside CPG competitors.
What’s the Difference between DNVB and DTC?
DTC is the method by which a brand sells its merchandise, but the brand may or may not own the entire customer experience. A traditional CPG brand can choose to add a DTC channel in addition to its retail or wholesale operation.
A DNVB, by definition, starts in the digital space. Some DNVBs, like Allbirds, choose to add a brick-and-mortar channel but their digital roots define the brand. DNVBs are DTC companies by default. DTC is the method, DNVB is the identity and model.
How Can DNVBs Increase Conversion Rates?
Since DNVBs operate solely online, conversion rates are the lifeblood of the venture. Finding the ideal customer, conveying a compelling message and generating website traffic is only worth it if brands attract buyers and not shoppers.
In addition to the ultimate conversion (a completed purchase), brands seek other conversions like newsletter signups and account creation. These conversions let merchants capture zero and first party data that they can use to create targeted campaigns and promotions.
In the flurry of activity of starting and launching a new business, it is easy to overlook details that could be costly in the long run. To have strong conversion rates from the start, DNVBs should have the following pieces locked down.
Brand Identity that Connects
A vague or complicated brand identity is a sure way to turn away buyers. Design and copy should be cohesive and consistent across properties. Colors, typeface, graphics (or lack thereof) all speak to who a brand is and what a brand offers to customers. A brand’s tone and voice also create identity. Is a brand educational? Fun? Irreverent? Helpful? Edgy? Casual? Design and copy should combine to communicate a unique identity.
Consistent Product Photos
Brands put so much effort into getting shoppers to a product page but risk losing sales if that product page isn’t optimized. Designing a great product page is mainly about consistency. Each product should be displayed similarly. For example, products can be displayed on a plain background, in-use, held or worn by a person or even illustrated.
Brands should choose a merchandising design strategy that preserves brand identity and clearly displays or depicts the item.
No Gaps Between Platforms
It’s common in the startup phase of any business for a logo or tagline or corporate colors to change and evolve. It’s important to land on the right look and feel. Brand should keep in mind, however, that if a change is made on one web property, all web properties should be updated.
Consider all the elements of the social channels – profile picture, bio and links. Brands should update for consistency, keeping in mind the purpose and audience of each platform. TikTok favors short bios, while Facebook allows lengthy text.
Brands should keep an inventory of all their social channels to streamline updating and make sure a seldom-used platform doesn’t stay active with out-of-date branding.
A brand’s social media bio is part of its brand storytelling and should be compelling. By nature, bios are and should be short and snappy descriptions of the brand and its value proposition. Merchants should be careful, however, to include all of the information a customer is looking for. Brands should clearly state what they sell. A bio like “All eyes on us since 2018” could be for a company that sells anything from contact lenses to cameras. The challenge is to be brief, clear and clever.
Conversely, brand should not offer extra information in a bio that customers do not care about. For example, “Toledo-made custom tube socks that benefit the community” is too specific. Unless a customer is from Toledo, they may not care. If domestic production is part of a brand’s story, the brand should determine if that information is a value-add in a social bio.
Nail the Details
High conversion rates come from attention to detail. DNVBs should take the time to evaluate their brand identities and create a consistent, cohesive story from website to TikTok to newsletters. Consistency tells customers that a brand is trustworthy and attentive. Brands that foster a relationship based on integrity create customers for life.
Ready to improve your brand’s conversion rates? Air360 by Scalefast gives you the information you need to make data-driven decisions that drive conversions. Stop guessing about how shoppers experience your site. Get deep, actionable user experience data. Schedule a time to talk to us about increasing your conversion rates.