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New Research: Reviews, Discounts and Photos most likely to Drive Online Purchases for Direct-to-Consumer Brands


Study analyzes the digital customer experience delivered by 50 leading direct-to-consumer brands in categories such as fashion and beauty

NEW YORK and LONDON (February 18, 2020) - Customers of leading direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands in sectors such as fashion and beauty say reviews (76%), discounts (70%) and photos (61%) are among the top factors that make it easier for them to make purchase decisions according to new research. 63% also reveal they are more likely to make purchases from brands whose websites integrate social proof in the form of content other customers share about the brands on social media.

Where consumers mostly interact with brands
Where consumers mostly interact with brands

And while Voice is still a relatively new channel, one out of four (25%) of DTC brand customers who were polled say they are making voice purchases (5% often and 20% sometimes).

The study has been conducted by AI-powered commerce experience platform, Nosto, in collaboration with Yotpo, the leading eCommerce marketing platform, and Klaviyo, the owned marketing platform. It is based on a survey of 1,100 consumers who have had a relationship over the last 12 months with one of 50 leading direct-to-consumer brands, mostly firms within the fashion and beauty sectors.

Most customers want to interact across multiple channels

The survey suggests that people generally interact with DTC brands on multiple channels (only 20% of the sample say they stick with a single channel). However, the most popular choice for digital interactions is the brands’ own website (53%) followed by email (12%) and social media (11%). Very few shoppers care to interact with the brands via their native apps (8%) or through SMS or direct mail (both 1%) while 14% say they like to interact with DTC brands in-store.

Despite 63% of DTC brand customers revealing they are more likely to purchase from brands who feature social proof (such as reviews, user-generated content) on their websites, over a third (36%) said they were not seeing it on the brand websites they visit.

And with email being a popular interaction channel, 53% of consumers said they received emails from DTC brands weekly and 38% daily. Unsurprisingly, discount offers (64%) are what motivates them most to open emails from brands, with valuable content (13%) coming second.

“Social proof, reviews, images and email all need to feed into the overall goal of making the shopping experience relevant and easy for customers,” said Jim Lofgren, Nosto’s CEO. “While the analysis suggests DTC brands are having some success in this, it also points to areas where more can be done to improve relevance.”

A basic requirement for all ecommerce brands is to ensure the home page is relevant to visitors and 58% of the sample said the DTC brand home pages they frequent are usually relevant. However, 15% answered no to this and 27% could not recall. Perhaps suggesting there is more effort needed in making the homepage experience more relevant and memorable.

Product recommendations: one in five customers find they’re not relevant

Another way of creating relevance is showing customers product recommendations, whether they are personalized based on the customers’ previous transactions or their online behavior - or simply highlighting products that are trending or among the biggest sellers.

The majority of the brands in the sample are using some type of product recommendation - only 4% of the customers say they do not see recommendations from brands. 46% say they notice product recommendations on both the brands’ websites and via email. However, one in five (21%) said recommendations they are seeing are not relevant.

Third of customers open to making purchases via social media

Another important finding relates to social media ads on the likes of Facebook and Instagram, which many brands are using to retarget people that have visited their websites. 44% of consumers in the poll say they notice brands advertising relevant products on social media and more than a third (35%) say they would like to take this further and wanted to be allowed to browse products and make purchases via social media sites. 37% of the sample were indifferent about this development and only 28% gave a definite no.

“It’s a fact that one of the hallmarks of great DTC brands is that they are often executing better than most retailers on personalization initiatives,” said Lofgren. “However, there is still a gap in continuing to be more relevant and getting consumers down the path to purchase. It's clear from the data that one of the best ways to do this is to use a comprehensive multi-pronged strategy of relevant reviews, photos, social media ads and credible user-generated content, combined with creating a relevant personalized shopping experience across all channels.”

The full study can be downloaded here:

About the study
The aim of the study was to explore how leading DTC ecommerce brands can continue to differentiate themselves with exceptional customer experiences. It was based on an online survey of 1,100 US consumers who had a relationship over the past 12 months with one of 50 top direct-to-consumer brands. The consumers were asked to select a single brand (each brand was only allowed to be selected by a total of 22 consumers, which led to an equal amount of responses per brand) and then were then asked to answer a series of questions about specific aspects of the brand’s experience. Finally, they were asked to answer a series of questions related to their personal preferences when it comes to customer experiences in general. The brands in the study were primarily within the fashion, fashion accessories, beauty and cosmetics categories.

About Nosto
Nosto enables retailers to deliver personalized digital shopping experiences at every touchpoint, across every device. An AI-Powered Commerce Experience Platform designed for ease of use, Nosto empowers retailers to build, launch and optimize 1:1 omnichannel marketing campaigns and digital experiences without the need for dedicated IT resources or a lengthy implementation process. Leading commerce brands in over 100 countries use Nosto to grow their business and delight their customers. Nosto supports its clients from its offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Berlin, Stockholm and Helsinki.

About Klaviyo
Klaviyo is the world’s leading owned marketing platform known for accelerating revenue for online businesses using the channels they own like email, web, mobile and SMS. Enabling companies to leverage these owned marketing channels, Klaviyo makes it easy to store, access, analyze and use transactional and behavioral data to power highly-targeted customer and prospect communications. And unlike other marketing platforms, Klaviyo doesn’t force companies to compromise between advanced functionality or ease of use - so companies of all sizes are able to maximize their sales quickly. That’s why over 30,000 innovative companies like Unilever, Case·Mate and HYLETE sell more with Klaviyo.

About Yotpo
Yotpo, the leading eCommerce marketing platform, helps thousands of forward-thinking brands like Rebecca Minkoff, MVMT, Bob’s Discount Furniture, and Steve Madden accelerate direct-to-consumer growth. Our single-platform approach integrates data-driven solutions for reviews, visual UGC, loyalty, and referrals, empowering brands to create smarter, higher-converting customer experiences.

Media Contact:
Uday Radia
Cloudnine PR
+44 (0)7940 584161