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DTC Lessons: Build a more resilient brand with Okendo (2022)

At Relo, we're all about helping DTC brands to grow and scale, but we don't confess to know it all. We're lucky enough to work with an incredible pool of agency and tech partners working on every Ecommerce specialism in the book and love to hear their tried and trusted insights.

One of those partners is Mat Bingham of customer review platform, Okendo. Okendo helps high-growth Shopify businesses to drive excitement, momentum and trust through customer reviews.

We caught up with Mat to find out how DTC brands can build a more resilient brand in 2022 and beyond.

What's your role and what do you do on a daily basis?

Head of Technology Partnership at Okendo. I manage our relationships with our integration and partner network. I love to help DTC brands connect with best-in-class tools to help improve their businesses!

What are the biggest challenges facing the DTC world right now?

The rising cost of customer acquisition combined with trying to improve customer retention in a crowded marketplace.

What has caused these things to happen?

Mostly the changes in iOS privacy (14.5) and the way customers are profiled. Scaling a brand through paid media is harder now than in 2015 or even 2020! Brands need to focus on spending advertising budgets wisely and being strategic with their acquisition methods.

Facebook and IOS updates are the primary factors in this space. Combined with some government changes like GDPR and CCPA. This will be an ever-changing field in the coming years for DTC merchants and place importance on KNOWING your customers better.

What 3 things should DTC brands be doing to retain their active customer base?

Zero-party data collection combined with personalization. The more data you can collect through various methods like forms, surveys, and reviews, the better. The more you know about your customers, the more you understand how to market to those segments of customers. Reviews are a great channel to collect that valuable zero-party data and help with social proof for increased conversions.

Okendo is centered around customer reviews. What industry advice can you share on this specialism?

Reviews are a powerful way to increase purchases from new customers. But having more reviews displayed on PDP pages or within marketing channels is just a starting point. With Okendo, you can collect additional data points around product or customer attributes. These data points are super valuable to newer customers who are trying to align product purchases with their own characteristics. The more insight you can provide can help with making a purchase!

What are the top 3 brands you’ve seen executing these strategies?

1. Scotch Porter

2. Wanderer Bracelets

3. Skims

What are the common mistakes you see DTC brands make when trying to drive more revenue from their current customers?

Lack of personalization in their marketing efforts. Consumers are savvy and looking for ways to engage with your brand. If you're not serving up recommendations based on individual characteristics then you are missing a big opportunity to build trust and become a long-time customer.

I would say a CLOSE second is over discounting to your customer base. This has been proven to de-value your brand and also turn people off quickly!

What do today’s customers want, according to Okendo?

Consumers are looking for brands that align with their beliefs. Whether that is socially conscious brands OR products that align with their primary interest. Consumers want to feel connected to the brands they are purchasing from. So take the time to learn about your customers and tell your story according to your shared interest.

Finally, what should DTC brands jump on to improve LTV?

Reviews are a great way to improve brand community. Brands should focus on collecting more reviews over the next few months while preparing for the holiday rush. The more reviews/data you can collect will help with social proof. But the more review data can be valuable insight to help with personalizing at scale.

Who do you look up to as an industry expert?  

I love the E-commerce network and there are a TON of insightful people in the space. I listen to

Some great insight and info to learn more!

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