How DTC transformation drove +79% digital revenue

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The pandemic turned digital transformation from a growth tactic to a necessity for survival. While online sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday broke records, in-store sales declined by 52% vs. 2019. Brands that typically sold via owned or third-party retail locations like department stores began building direct relationships to reach consumers where they shop now. 

Here’s how Kepler helped one client transform their customer journey to drive DTC success.

Challenge: When a retail brand’s in-store sales fell to virtually zero in the spring, it needed to make up the shortfall with online sales.

Solution: Kepler worked with the client team to execute a comprehensive marketing plan that focused media, CRM and merchandising on four strategies:

  1. Align Stakeholders: Pivoting to DTC requires coordination across tech, merchandising, digital, analytics, and other teams. It’s a change management challenge. Recognizing this, the client shared insights on creative, featured products and audiences with the broader organization, enabling more real-time decisions and facilitating its record-breaking 2020 digital performance.

    Ask: How can you use rapid insights from digital to inform merchandising, store experiences, and technology?
  2. Learn from 1st Party Data: Kepler’s analysis of the brand’s first party demographic and interest data showed that a very different audience than the brand's usual retail buyer was driving the lion’s share of paid social sales: 86% in fact. With this insight, the team promoted top products trending with these newly identified digital buyers. 

    Ask: Are your newer direct customers the same as your typical shopper?
  3. Consider the Full Funnel: The brand already ran a robust paid search campaign for shoppers in consideration mode, but now it needed to reach a broader digital audience. Kepler identified platforms in which the DTC audience over-indexed and the brand shifted investment accordingly. Over the holiday period, one of these new paid channels delivered a 50% increase in revenue.

    Ask: Where are my digital-first shoppers streaming, researching, and shopping?
  4. Be Nimble with Creative: When the Kepler search team noticed certain items emerging as winners in paid search, they worked with the client’s creative team to highlight these products in other channels. The new creative worked especially well at introducing new consumers to the brand, delivering 71% of featured products’ revenue. 

    Ask: Which products are breaking through online, and how can I amplify them across channels and tactics? 

Result: Breakthrough performance in a rocky year.

  • 79% higher e-commerce revenues vs. 2019
  • 2x holiday weekend revenue vs. 2019
  • +89% site traffic across brands vs. 2019 

Digitizing the experience is not just relevant to retailers. Assuming consumer behaviors never revert to pre-2020 patterns, DTC strategies are relevant to marketers in almost any vertical.


How DTC transformation drove +79% digital revenue

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The pandemic turned digital transformation from a growth tactic to a necessity for survival. While online sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday broke records, in-store sales declined by 52% vs. 2019. Brands that typically sold via owned or third-party retail locations like department stores began building direct relationships to reach consumers where they shop now. 

Here’s how Kepler helped one client transform their customer journey to drive DTC success.

Challenge: When a retail brand’s in-store sales fell to virtually zero in the spring, it needed to make up the shortfall with online sales.

Solution: Kepler worked with the client team to execute a comprehensive marketing plan that focused media, CRM and merchandising on four strategies:

  1. Align Stakeholders: Pivoting to DTC requires coordination across tech, merchandising, digital, analytics, and other teams. It’s a change management challenge. Recognizing this, the client shared insights on creative, featured products and audiences with the broader organization, enabling more real-time decisions and facilitating its record-breaking 2020 digital performance.

    Ask: How can you use rapid insights from digital to inform merchandising, store experiences, and technology?
  2. Learn from 1st Party Data: Kepler’s analysis of the brand’s first party demographic and interest data showed that a very different audience than the brand's usual retail buyer was driving the lion’s share of paid social sales: 86% in fact. With this insight, the team promoted top products trending with these newly identified digital buyers. 

    Ask: Are your newer direct customers the same as your typical shopper?
  3. Consider the Full Funnel: The brand already ran a robust paid search campaign for shoppers in consideration mode, but now it needed to reach a broader digital audience. Kepler identified platforms in which the DTC audience over-indexed and the brand shifted investment accordingly. Over the holiday period, one of these new paid channels delivered a 50% increase in revenue.

    Ask: Where are my digital-first shoppers streaming, researching, and shopping?
  4. Be Nimble with Creative: When the Kepler search team noticed certain items emerging as winners in paid search, they worked with the client’s creative team to highlight these products in other channels. The new creative worked especially well at introducing new consumers to the brand, delivering 71% of featured products’ revenue. 

    Ask: Which products are breaking through online, and how can I amplify them across channels and tactics? 

Result: Breakthrough performance in a rocky year.

  • 79% higher e-commerce revenues vs. 2019
  • 2x holiday weekend revenue vs. 2019
  • +89% site traffic across brands vs. 2019 

Digitizing the experience is not just relevant to retailers. Assuming consumer behaviors never revert to pre-2020 patterns, DTC strategies are relevant to marketers in almost any vertical.


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