5 Things We Learned After A Year With DTC Patterns

Barrel’s marketing and UX research project, DTC Patterns, has given the team an opportunity to sharpen our ecommerce knowledge through real life purchases and share direct-to-consumer marketing and UX insights. After a year, we’ve purchased 100 products from 80 brands, and written over 150 articles on DTC e-commerce experiences. Here are some of the things we have learned along the way and the 5 key takeaways we’ve gathered to help other marketers. 

Simulate the In-Store Experience

The in-store shopping experience delivers value, engagement, and high-touch service to both new and existing customers. Creating a personalized e-commerce experience will leave customers feeling more connected with the brand.

Athleticwear companies like Fabletics and MeUndies, include product photos with models of different sizes to cement the company’s mission of inclusivity. Sourcing UGC for product detail pages is fundamental to the customer’s online shopping experience. The ultimate goal of this feature is to reduce return rates by giving customers  a better visual experience with sizes that best represent their body shape. 

Fabletics' product detail page highlights the option to filter between different model sizes.
MeUndies’ swimsuit specific size chart

To personalize the buyer’s journey, On’s navigation provides multiple points of product discovery, ranging from their product finder to their store locator. Immersive landing pages give customers a consultative experience by highlighting the sustainability, use, fit, and feel of their shoes. The landing pages drive revenue by illustrating the details of the subscription program.

On Running's collection storytelling page

Elevate and Promote the Founders

For smaller brands, meeting the “faces” behind the company allowsfounders to represent their brand and build a personal connection with their audience. Promoting the founders provides a deep dive into the purpose and values of the business, which personalizes their marketing. 

Brands such as, Omsom and DEUX, use the Tolstoy app to communicate with their customers through an interactive video that brings authenticity to the brand. With Tolstoy, the application renders a series of general questions that will allow users to discover a variety of products to increase conversions. 

DEUX's Founder Videos using Tolstoy

The founders of KYTE Baby and ILIA Beauty share their deep passion for their products across their social channels. For example, the founder of ILIA Beauty, Sasha Plavsic, includes personalized tips on how to best use each product on the product page. Not only does this provide insightful expertise, but it also connects the founder’s story to the product and naturally engages prospective clients.

ILIA’s product detail page

Your Customers are at the Heart of your Brand

The power of UGC puts consumers in the spotlight and utilizes the community through reviews and social media interactions to maximize engagement. This increases trust between the community through authentic consumer feedback that can inspire prospective clients to purchase from their brand. 

Bloomscape leverages their Instagram community by reposting unboxing videos and answering personalized questions in their Instagram stories. They feature influencers showcasing their product in use as tutorials to optimize word-of-mouth marketing. 

Bloomscape community takes over

Similarly, Omsom spotlights their community through Instagram posts and stories with videos of influencers noting what their go-to Omsom products are. This tactic fosters a large social following and widens their digital presence.

Omsom's Influencer features on Instagram

Offering rewards demonstrates the company’s loyalty to their customers by rewarding them for purchasing from the brand. Fly by Jing and MilkBar encourages customers to sign up for their rewards program with a  landing page that features ways to earn points to redeem for future rewards. To further incentivize their loyalty program, MilkBar provides an interactive game in which loyalty members can play to receive points. 

Loyalty page for customers that have not signed up yet

Practice what you Preach and Really Mean It

Pushing for business practices that uphold the company’s mission statement is a key ingredient to sustaining loyalty and boosting brand value. Consumers are gravitating towards brands that are committed to actively working with charitable initiatives seeking to raise collective awareness aligned with their corporate mission. 

Razer, an American-Singaporean gaming hardware company, offers specific locations for users to return their old Razer products for free-of-charge recycling. They pledge to transfer their entire operations to 100% renewable energy by 2025 and aim to become100% carbon neutral by 2030.

Well known for its emphasis on creating sustainable products, Patagonia is an outdoor apparel company that has dedicated their entire brand towards promoting activism. On a landing page, customers can learn about Patagonia’s self-imposed Earth tax and 

initiatives, such as the Patagonia Action Works program. Customers can also expect to receive their apparel in a compostable brown paper bag with recycled shirt tags.

Surprise and Delight Through Unboxing

Adding thoughtful moments in the unboxing experience is an effective way to leave a lasting impression and make the customer feel celebrated. Through recyclable parcels and branded illustrations, unboxing allows for the brand to craft their narrative and leverage their marketing tactics. 

Seed – known for their gut-healing synbiotic – delivers compostable packaging with a helpful booklet that breaks down the transition period. They also provide a vial that makes traveling with their probiotics more convenient. To reduce waste, the styrofoam material is dissolvable in water. From each subsequent order, the shipping box, paper booklet, and bio-based tray are made out of biodegradable and renewable ingredients to illustrate its goal for sustainability.

Sustainability information on Seed's product detail page

With thoughtfully curated and empowering messaging, Blueland’s tagline “The future of clean has arrived” is displayed across their recyclable boxes when it arrives at your door. Their Clean Essentials Kit upholds their continued eco-friendly commitment with “refill is the new recycle” labeled in the interior of the box. The kit includes three pastel Tritan (BPA-free plastic) spray bottles with matching colored tablets in their recyclable pouches. The colorful, yet earthy tones of the packaging is aimed at combining both aesthetic and thoughtfulness in their brand.

Image of Blueland’s unboxing experience

Interested in collaborating on a project?

Get Started

Latest Updates

A New Customer Journey and Streamlined Experience for the First Wireless, Hands-Free Breast Pump


Strengthening Customer Relationships with Bobo's Reimagined CPG Site


Streamlining the B2B and DTC Customer Journeys for Aquor Water System's New Site


Understanding Shopping Cart Abandonment


Launching a New, Premium Ready-To-Drink Vodka Cocktail


Easier Navigation for Once Upon a Farm’s Growing Product Catalog


Reimagining Luxury Eco-Hospitality With Few & Far


Launching a Line of Luxury Skincare Products Laser-Focused on Hydration