New study shows why direct sales are gaining ground on multi-brand shops in the field of online commerce

Do brands stand a chance of eroding the dominance of giants like Amazon, Otto & Co. with their own online shops? A study recently released by KLU professors Jan Becker and Christian Barrot shows: yes. Brand-operated online shops that sell directly to customers (D2C) can indeed compete with major merchants, especially when it comes to exclusive and personalized products, where customers intensively inform themselves before making a purchase. The study shows how brands can get their online shops in the best possible shape, and who has the competitive edge at different points in the purchase decision-making process.

In the dynamic, big-business field of digital retail, navigating potential customers is vital to success. As the study “Understanding customers’ choice for digital D2C versus multi-brand operations,” recently released by a team led by Jan Becker and Christian Barrot, KLU professors and marketing specialists, shows: consumers prefer the personalization, additional information, and selection offered by D2C online shops – even before they’ve given any thought to the product they’re looking for.

Concrete tips for retailers

The most decisive factor is the personalization of the customer’s experience at the online shop, as the study concludes. Retailers can flourish by focusing on product categories with more product mix depth when setting up their D2C online shops. At the same time, they should pursue selective marketing strategies for exclusive products.

“Direct sales strategies hold considerable potential,” says Prof. Jan Becker, “Understanding consumer preferences and properly integrating the category qualities of their products means staying competitive on the digital marketplace. Our research offers valuable insights for branded companies looking to optimize their omnichannel strategy and D2C operations.”

Publication: Kalayci, Eda, Jan U. Becker and Christian Barrot (In Press): Understanding customers’ choice for digital D2C versus multi-brand operations, Journal of Retailing: