5 questions for Stefan Ramershoven from kjero about the potential of D2C

In conversation with Stefan Ramershoven: "Manufacturers are missing out on opportunities in D2C"

Björn Zaske Managing Director
02.03.2022 5 min reading time

Björn Zaske, Managing Director of Moccu, in conversation with Stefan Ramershoven from kjero on the topic of Direct to Consumer (D2C).

D2C has picked up speed in recent years and some European companies have also jumped on the bandwagon. Stefan, just like us at Moccu, you are involved in D2C for your customers, please briefly introduce yourself and your company.

I'm Stefan Ramershoven, entrepreneur and founder of Kjero. That's right, we at Kjero are experts in the field of direct-to-consumer marketing and I am also the author of the book "D2C Growth Revolution - The No. 1 Growth Strategy for Consumer Brands". Together with partners like you, we implement direct-to-consumer strategies for clients such as ThermaCare, Nivea, Manner, Nestlé and Bosch.

Thank you, we are talking about "D2C", how do you define that?
Traditionally, the term "direct-to-consumer" refers to the direct sale of products and services by manufacturers. According to the motto "Kill the middleman", the middlemen are cut out and manufacturers come into direct contact with their customers. However, it would be too short-sighted to reduce D2C to a sales channel. Direct-to-consumer means building a relationship with end consumers and utilising first-party data to create unique, profitable customer experiences. It offers brands the opportunity to put the end consumer at the centre of their business activities. For those who would like to read more about this, we have prepared a free white paper entitled "Direct-to-Consumer Transformation of Consumer Brands".

For whom is D2C an opportunity?

For all brands and products that are aimed at consumers and are available in retail stores, for example. Also for brands that were previously only active in wholesale and now want to open up a new sales channel with direct-to-consumer.

The classic marketing model of using mass channels to advertise mass products on a massive scale, which we know from Procter & Gamble, Mars and Nestlé from past decades, no longer works today. Brands find it very difficult to reach consumers via these channels. Conversely, the classic distribution model of selling exclusively through retail partners makes brands very dependent. This even goes so far that branded companies can easily be delisted by retailers. A prominent example of this is the conflict between Kraft Heinz and Edeka a few years ago.

D2C, on the other hand, offers the opportunity to transform the old business model, collect first-hand data on your own customers and exchange information with the target group. Ultimately, this increases customer loyalty and brands can build a strong community that remains loyal to the brand.

I hope that many of the brands we grew up with seize this opportunity. Otherwise, one or two traditional brands may soon no longer be on the shelves, and very few will even notice.

Are there any positive examples of D2C in Europe or even Germany?

For me, Nike is definitely a positive example that can be emphasised. Nike was one of the pioneers and today generates around 30% of its sales via D2C! Caspar, Walby Parker and Ace & tate are also good examples, as are Snocks and Kapten & Son in Germany.

I would also like to highlight the dog food brand tails.com. It implements the principle of customer-centricity very well by taking the complexity out of the purchasing decision process: It's usually the case that consumers are faced with a huge choice of different dog food offerings. Dog or cat owners who go into a Fressnapf shop can certainly understand this.

Choosing the right food for your dog from this mass is incredibly difficult. At tails.com, on the other hand, there is no choice at all. There is just a website with a button for a questionnaire. If the user fills in the questionnaire, they receive a food mix that is customised to their dog and meets their needs. For me, this is certainly one of the prime examples of how you can rethink the buying experience for your own consumers and optimally serve your target group.

When a customer asks you how to approach D2C, what do you say?

The first step is to seek direct contact with the target group and build relationships. And by that I don't just mean using channels such as Instagram or Facebook. I'm talking about my own data here: What are my customers' names, what products do they buy and how can I best reach them? The result will be a kind of CRM, as we already know it from the B2B sector. The aim is then to utilise this data in the best possible way. For many, an online shop is a very good solution, for others a brand community and still others set up a loyalty programme or points system.

Which D2C strategy fits best depends on the individual brand or product. How often is the product purchased, what customer lifetime value (CLV) do I have and how high can my customer acquisition cost (CAC) rise?

These essential questions help to define the business model for D2C.

And yet there is another key component that plays a role in all successful D2C approaches: Social media always plays a large part. The Süddeutsche Zeitung recently wrote about D2C, describing Instagram as the "eternally open, global shop window" and that's exactly what it is. The only difference is that - unlike offline - you can shop at any time and not just stand in front of the shop window.

Do you have any other tips, podcasts, books or similar on the subject of D2C?

There is actually very little specialised literature and even less in German. I would advise companies that want to tackle D2C to take a closer look at growth and funnel hacking and to follow the well-known D2C brands. It can also be helpful to get involved with one of the D2C brands and take part in the process from the customer's perspective. By experiencing customer-centricity first-hand, you can learn a lot of new things.

Further links:

Sounds interesting? Arrange an initial consultation.

Björn Zaske Managing Director & Partner

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