If there is one truism in every time period, it’s that people are going to buy housewares. Even in the worst of economic downturns, people need housewares. They need pots to cook in. They need cleaning supplies. If they’re a single male, they may even want an indoor grill, like the George Foreman Grill.
The trick of selling housewares is not so much to convince a future customer that they need to buy a housewares product. It is to show and convince them why your product is superior to all others and has to be the one that they purchase.
This is not as easy a task as it used to be. For many, shopping for housewares consiste of visiting their favorite online shopping portal and just picking the product with the best reviews in their price point. For others, it is going to their local retailer and buying whatever is on sale. Brand loyalty has taken a backseat to point of sale convenience.
The Big Question
So how can your company change that?
Your company can be the trusted retailer!
Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) marketing was an economic disruptor leading into the pandemic of 2020. It is now an economic necessity. If you are selling products without a DTC revenue stream, not only are you not maximizing your immediate ability to generate sales, but you are stifling your ability to form a relationship with your customer base.
DTC marketing has had many different names in the past: Direct Response, DRTV, Brand Response and even the Infomercial. While an Infomercial might sound like an old way of advertising, its principles and methods remain one of the most reliable ways to market to a prospective customer.
Creating a trusted bond with your customers on the brand level is the best way to create customer loyalty. The days when a customer would go to Sears to buy a Mr. Coffee coffeemaker, because Mr. Coffee makes the best priced coffeemakers, are long over. The most effective way to build a bond with your prospective customers is by establishing and optimizing a sales channel where you can speak and sell to them directly through marketing channels that your company controls.
Creating that marketing message is a little different than the way a traditional equity marketing campaign does. Generally, a traditional advertising spot isn’t created to directly sell a product, but to generate a feeling towards that product. The goal is to make you associate a good feeling with a product. When it is time to purchase, the hope is that you see the product and remember that good feeling.
How DTC Is Different
Branding is an essential part of the goal of a DTC advertisement. But even more so, the goal is to educate the customer as to the benefits of your product and give them a call-to-action to make a purchase. A good DTC commercial does not leave a potential customer thinking “Other people like Product X.” It should have that prospect thinking “I am going to purchase Product X.”
DTC advertising is not limited to a single marketing platform. This strategy requires a company to market wherever their customer happens to be consuming media. This means media in digital, print, radio and television.
Cleva North America
A good example of a housewares company that is having success with a DTC marketing strategy is Cleva North America. Cleva is a mid-sized company based out of South Carolina with a portfolio including floorcare and lawncare technology.
Cleva recently embraced a new challenge — reintroducing bagged vacuum technology back into the marketplace, using the venerable Kenmore product name. This challenge was made more difficult by a few facts.The first is that the American public has been almost uniformly sold over the last several years on the concept of bagless vacuums. While experts and professionals almost always say that bagged vacuums are the way to go, the market is mostly made up of bagless vacuums, even at the most expensive end of the market. Bagless vacuums don’t require purchasing bags, but bagged vacuums offer far superior suction power for the dollar and better control over dust particles thus creating a healthier, more efficient clean.
The other challenge was that while Kenmore is still a trusted name in housewares and home appliances, it is primarily associated with Sears as a retailer. The last time Kenmore sold vacuums, it was exclusively at Sears. Obviously, these perceptions would have to be changed.
By creating DTC advertising, Cleva was able to have a little more time to counter both those perceptions. They were able to explain and show the benefits that bagged vacuums had over bagless through a combination of demonstrations and testimonials.
The DTC sales approach also allowed Cleva to leverage the Kenmore brand, while directing customers both to other retailers, and its own DTC sales channel. Customers were given special offers to buy directly from the company, but still had the opportunity to purchase from a variety of retailers like Amazon, Target and Walmart.
Cleva was able to successfully demonstrate to customers that bagged vacuums are superior to bagless ones. They were able to utilize the Kenmore name as a trusted brand, but not be tied down to a single retailer. In addition, because they utilized a DTC sales channel, not only did they profit off sales immediately, they were able to create their own customer database. We all know how retailers use customer data to predict trends and fulfill needs for new products. When product manufacturers have that data, however, it allows them to create new products based on the wants and needs of those customers for themselves. A DTC sales channel is not just a way to sell more products. It becomes a part of the funnel in how those products are created.
Direct-to-Consumer is not just a buzzword. It is a marketing strategy and channel that has been used successfully to launch new products and create customer loyalty. It brands while it sells. It also allows access to a vast wealth of research to be at your company’s fingertips. Shouldn’t you be looking into it now?