Amazon aggregators are shifiting to DTC model as a survival method.

The Evolution of E-Commerce: The Shift of Amazon Aggregators to DTC Models

Superloyal

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The e-commerce landscape is an ever-evolving domain, characterized by relentless innovation and shifting paradigms. In recent years, one of the most notable trends has been the prevalence of Amazon aggregators. These entities have traditionally operated by acquiring smaller brands and leveraging Amazon’s vast marketplace to scale these businesses rapidly. However, a significant shift is underway as these aggregators, and the brands under their umbrellas, are increasingly turning towards Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) models. This pivot is driven by a need for greater autonomy and control, especially over critical aspects like customer data, brand narrative, customer relationship and revenue.

The Challenges with Amazon and Other Marketplaces

The dependency on Amazon has presented several challenges for brands. Firstly, the lack of control over customer data is a significant issue. On Amazon, brands only get product (including inventory), fulfillment, and orders data, no customer data, preventing brands from gaining insights into their customer base. This is a roadblock to creating personalized marketing strategies and building long-term customer relationships.

Additionally, Amazon’s frequent policy changes can disrupt business operations unexpectedly. Policies regarding product listings, shipping, and returns can change with little notice, leaving brands scrambling to comply.

Most notably, the financial burden of operating on Amazon is substantial. The platform’s fees, ranging from 15% to 40% per sale, slice a significant portion from the brands’ revenue. This high cost of doing business on Amazon, combined with the other challenges, has led many to seek alternative platforms where they have greater control and lower operational costs.

The Rise of Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Model

The DTC model offers a stark contrast to the aggregator model. By selling directly to consumers, brands gain complete control over their customer data. This access is invaluable for crafting targeted marketing campaigns and understanding consumer preferences and behaviors.

Moreover, the DTC approach allows brands to build direct relationships with their customers, fostering loyalty and repeat business. By controlling the entire sales channel, brands can also offer a more personalized shopping experience, which is becoming increasingly important in the competitive e-commerce landscape.

The shift to DTC is not just about control — it’s also financially prudent. DTC model allows for aggregators to use innovative platforms like Superloyal enabling cross-selling and brand synergy across all brands in group, lowering cost-of-acquisition (CAC) and increasing retention and customer life-time-value (CLV). This economic advantage is a significant driver for the shift from Amazon aggregators to DTC models.

The Role of Meta and Advertising Challenges

In the quest to establish and grow their DTC channels, brands have become increasingly dependent on Meta (like Facebook, Instagram) TikTok platforms for customer acquisition and engagement. While these platforms offer extensive reach and sophisticated targeting capabilities, they come with their own set of challenges.

One of the most pressing concerns is the financial strain imposed by advertising costs. DTC brands today are spending around 30% of their revenue on ad-based platforms. This substantial expenditure not only affects the bottom line but also raises questions about the sustainability of relying heavily on paid advertising for customer acquisition.

Moreover, despite the heavy investment in advertising on Meta platforms, brands do not own fully the customer data they generate. This lack of deep data ownership constrains their ability to understand and engage with their customer base fully. As a result, many DTC brands are exploring alternative marketing strategies that allow them greater control over their data and customer relationships.

Conclusion

The shift from Amazon aggregators to DTC models marks a significant turning point in the e-commerce landscape. This transition reflects a broader trend towards greater control, better customer relationships, and more sustainable business practices. As brands navigate this new terrain, the lessons learned from early adopters and successful case studies will be invaluable.

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Superloyal

Retention platform for multi-brand groups | Where your brands cross-sell and communities engage | www.superloyal.com