With Black Friday and Cyber Monday heavy on consumers’ minds, former Google sales chief turned entrepreneur, Tim Armstrong, has added another day of shopping to the list this holiday season. It’s called DTC Friday, and it occurs 2 weeks before Black Friday, falling on November 15th this year. According to an official statement released by Armstrong’s company, the dtx company, “DTC Friday is the first national shopping holiday that celebrates and empowers the DTC movement by connecting shoppers with direct-to-consumer brands and with their favorite charities”.
The holiday is complete with a charitable incentive; $5 for every purchase made at a participating company on DTC Friday will be donated to a charity of the customer’s choice. Armstrong hopes the charitable element and rallied support for the DTC community will be enough to compete with the steals offered by the biggest retail giants.
The question this new holiday poses is whether it will spark other companies to rethink their current distribution strategies. Ben Hordell, a partner of DXagency, has high hopes for the new shopping holiday, according to an interview with Marketing Dive. He foresees the Cyber Monday spinoff becoming a “virtual mall” of sorts, provided that DTX continues to bring in good companies with similar values. The DTC movement seems to be somewhat of a foolproof marketing venture for brands that already sell directly to consumers, as joining the movement comes at no cost to the companies themselves. Participating brands are not even required to offer discounts on DTC Friday; joining can be as simple as adding the brand name to the DTC website. This movement is all about creating a community of similar, non-competitive brands that challenges the “one-stop-shop” approach to online shopping revolutionized by Amazon. This allows each company to gain exposure, monitor its own brand image, and boost website traffic.
Armstrong cites Nike as an example of a company that has pulled its products from Amazon in order to sell directly to consumers. Last week, Nike confirmed that it would end a two year pilot between Nike and Amazon that aimed to limit the number of counterfeit Nike products in circulation. Nike agreed to sell a select assortment through Amazon- after years of refusing any deal with the online retail giant- in exchange for stricter counterfeit enforcement. However, after two years of testing this agreement, Nike has decided to end the deal in order to focus on upgrading the customer experience through more direct interaction with customers, both in Nike stores and on the brand’s website. Nike will not be joining the DTC movement any time soon, though. A Nike spokeswoman told CNBC that the brand will “continue to invest in strong, distinctive partnerships for Nike with other retailers and platforms to seamlessly serve our consumers globally.”
While major brands like Nike have not fully committed to the DTC community just yet, it’s only a matter of time before more and more brands decide to part ways with large retailers and online platforms. With so many competitors in the market and deals becoming harder and harder to beat, consumer experience is becoming the differentiating factor. The direct-to-consumer startups participating in DTC Friday are already on their way to forming personal and direct relationships with their consumers, but if Tim Armstrong’s new retail holiday is going to become a mainstream event next holiday season, some more well-known brands, like Nike, may need to follow their lead.
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