The Biggest Direct-to-Consumer Fulfillment Challenges & How to Solve Them

Jul 01, 2021

Brands of all sizes have been doubling down on their direct-to-consumer (DTC) strategy over the past year to capture the massive growth opportunities in e-commerce.  

The main problem for many direct-to-consumers brands is their ability to create a powerful DTC fulfillment strategy that can propel them to achieve higher levels of sales, customer satisfaction, and brand loyalty. A weak direct-to-consumer fulfillment strategy causes brands to miss out on the significant growth opportunity in e-commerce, making it a crucial aspect for retailers that can often be overlooked.

Fulfillment is a process that seamlessly delivers customers’ orders from the point of an order being made to the point where it is delivered to the customer. A quality fulfillment experience that offers fast, successful deliveries and multiple delivery status updates to the customer is crucial for brands to maintain long-term relationships with customers

As such, direct-to-consumer fulfillment is one of the biggest challenges for direct-to-consumer brands because it directly affects the customer’s experienceEven with a great marketing campaign, customers refuse to stick around if they have an unsatisfactory fulfillment experience, such as delayed deliveries or a lack of delivery status updates.

Read on to learn more about the top DTC fulfillment challenges, as well as how some brands have created exceptional direct-to-consumer fulfillment strategies!

Top Direct-to-Consumer Fulfillment Challenges

Operational Challenge – Too much time is spent on managing multiple logistics operations

From managing prices to processing orders and payments, to even handling inventory, shipments, and returns, the many aspects of DTC fulfillment can be time-consuming and put a strain on businesses’ resources. For some retailers that are building a direct-to-consumer channel for the first time, having to manage so many variables can be overwhelming and a source of anxiety. 

Many direct-to-consumer brands may end up spending more time on redundant, administrative tasks rather than focusing on more crucial areas of business like growth and strategy.

Additionally, manually managing DTC fulfillment can result in slower order fulfillment which decreases customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

Experience Challenge: Delivery experience and customer retention

It is difficult to create an engaging and satisfying delivery experience for the customer in order to improve customer retention rates and brand loyalty.

With 84% of consumers unlikely to make future purchases after a poor last-mile delivery experience, ensuring customer satisfaction at every point of the shopping experience is crucial, even after the purchase has been made. In our exclusive interview with Nabil Malouli, VP of Global E-Commerce at DHL, he shares that the post-purchasing experience becomes “the only experience [customers] have with your brand.”

Watch the full episode of our Fireside Chat: Role of DHL in DTC Fulfillment with Nabil Malouli, VP at DHL Global E-Commerce

With fulfillment being brought closer to the consumer in e-commerce — as opposed to traditional fulfillment where consumers are more distanced from it — it is even more important to make sure that the fulfillment experience is satisfactory. This allows DTC brands to build stronger relationships with their customers.

A poor last-mile experience, such as delayed deliveries, is one of the common concerns expressed by top executives worldwide in DTC fulfillment. Delayed deliveries can end up disappointing online shoppers, resulting in a loss of customers for DTC brands. 

How You Can Improve Your Direct-to-Consumer Fulfillment

Operational Challenge: 3PL or Outsourcing 

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