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TOP 5 Tech Trends DTC Brands Should Watch for in 2024

7 min read
Jun 5, 2024 9:55:37 AM

Successful DTC brands are learning how to adapt and leverage technology to drive growth by catering to current customer preferences. 

With the billions of dollars that are transacted on our platform, we’ve been able to see transactional trends from the brands on our platform as well as the retailers buying from them. 

We’ve grown our B2B wholesale retailer community to over 38,000 in the last several years, and we see how retailers are shopping brands, what they’re on the lookout for, and what trends could potentially impact their operations the most this year. 

So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at the five most influential trends for DTC brands in 2024.  

Top 5 DTC Tech Trends

2024 is shaping up to be pivotal for DTC brands: whether it's relying on AI for personalised shopping, omnichannel cross-links or prioritising eco-friendly practices and data privacy, a lot of tech is coming your way. 

1. AI-Powered Enhancements

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For the foreseeable future, every conversation on transforming digital experiences will include artificial intelligence. Enhancements in AI are already impacting the shopping experience for brands and will likely continue to expand as the technology continues to evolve. 

Here’s a few ways AI will affect brands: 

AI-Generated Photo Shoots

o   There are already AI products that can generate background for your physical products. You just simply provide an image of your product and the AI will generate a variety of backgrounds to place it in. The results currently are hit and miss, but are still good enough to show optimism for how it’ll improve in a few years. Software like this can help you if budget or logistics don’t allow for on-location shoots or studio hours. The next step for this AI will be where you’ll also be able to generate models to showcase your apparel. 

Logistics and Inventory Management

o   The first thing you'll want to keep in mind is efficiency. This means knowing your numbers and allocating your resources effectively to ensure product availability and fast deliveries while reducing costs through optimised processes. With e-commerce and omnichannel retail stepping in the spotlight, you can depend on AI to streamline the process by automating tasks, predicting demand and personalising the shopping experience.

Automated Pricing Strategies

o   Big data and AI work hand-in-hand to ensure competitive pricing and maximising profit margins. Brands can adjust prices in real-time based on competitor pricing, changes in demand and prevalent customer behavior. By offering the best deals at the right time, you'll stay agile and responsive to market fluctuations, aligning your supply with customer expectations.

2. Next-Level Customer Experience

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Online shoppers are fickle, discerning and quick to move on. Browsing multiple tabs, comparing prices and skimming reviews, they rely on convenience and personalised experiences to finalize their purchase. Ensuring their loyalty is no small feat; one misstep, and they're off to your competition. The best way to do that is to cater their shopping experience to ensure loyalty. Here’s how: 

In-Store Augmented Reality

AR is at the forefront of an advanced try-before-you-buy experience. By allowing customers to visualise their choices in a virtual environment, brands can reduce uncertainty of purchases and provide an immersive and engaging shopping experience. Fine-tuning the process will ensure customer loyalty, reduce returns and boost sales.

For wholesale brands, RepSpark’s Virtual Showrooms offer a tailored shopping experience where buyers can watch product videos and place orders directly through a digital catalog.

Personalised Shopping Through AI & Machine Learning

Nowadays, customers are on the lookout for tailored shopping, which means a one-size-fits-all strategy won’t cut it. AI and machine learning go deeper than the traditional shopping experience by analysing customer data to offer unique recommendations. Brands can use this to suggest products based on browsing history, purchase patterns and preferences. By keeping the customer center-stage, this level of personalisation increases satisfaction and encourages repeat business.

3. Seamless Omnichannel Shopping

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Shoppers carefully balance in-store exploration and online browsing. They might research a product online and then head to the physical store or, vice-versa, discover it in-store then review options on their phone. This back and forth is the essence of omnichannel shopping and caters to the ever-shifting customer journey. Here's what you need to know.

A Unified Customer Journey

The end-goal for brands and their buyers is an effortless and interconnected shopping experience. You can achieve this by investing in integrated systems that provide a reliable vantage point of inventory, customer data and sales across all channels. This ensures a consistent and satisfying experience, regardless of whether a customer shops online or in-store. Brands can further optimize their offerings through consistent messaging, real-time stock levels, streamlined support and incentive programs that strengthen trust and incentivise omnichannel shopping.

RepSpark provides real-time inventory through integrations, online order entries, customisation options on specific apparel, and a community of tens of thousands of retailers shopping brands on our platform. 

Retailers can join here for free to start shopping brands. 

Brands can head over here to learn how RepSpark could drive your wholesale experience. 

4. A Focus on Sustainability 

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An increasing number of customers are choosing brands that have sustainability efforts as part of their business model. As this trend continues to grow, you need to think about the customer's relationship to the environment and analyse the efforts your company is putting into sustainability. Focus on the following:

Tech Solutions for Environmental and Social Responsibility 

Wasteful practices are getting a green do-over through tech. Brands are using AI software and data analytics to optimize their supply chains, cut down on emissions and minimize on used materials. This allows for a significantly reduced environmental impact while driving both circular economy initiatives and business development. Wasteful packaging, inefficient delivery routes and single-use products are becoming a thing of the past, benefiting both you and the consumer.

With RepSpark, you can use digital catalogs to immediately make an impact on the planet. A study by the Environmental Paper Network found that a 100-page catalog with 3,000 copies had this environmental impact: 

  • About 30 trees 
  • 36.7M BTUs of energy - equivalent to the energy of 44 refrigerators
  • 28.4K pounds of CO2 - equivalent to the emissions of almost 3 cars
  • +34.8K gallons of water - equivalent to 35 loads of laundry 
  • 1.8K lbs of solid waste - equivalent to 407 people generating solid waste.

Integrating digital catalogs into your business would allow you to create meaningful environmental impacts while still allowing you to distribute your catalogs to buyers. 

One of our customers, Straight Down used our Microsites feature to completely revitalise their method of selling merchandise at events. Previously they had two trailers that they drove around the country for events. Apart from the logistical challenge, it also presented the environmental impact of the emissions and gas consumption costs. 

When they moved to our digital Microsites, they not only saved on the costs of moving trailers around the country. They were also able to service more of their customers, as the Microsites presented curated product offerings for the events they serviced. 

Transparency in Sourcing and Manufacturing 

Today’s DTC environment is all about data-driven storytelling and clear labeling. Shoppers want to know where your product comes from, how it’s made, what it’s made of and its overall impact on the environment or communities. It’s up to you to provide them with these details in order to empower their shopping decisions. Implement blockchain and IoT tech for a transparent read on your business practices, tracking every stage of production transparently. Showcase  your efforts to further connect with potential shoppers by allowing them to make informed decisions about the products they buy.

5. Security and Data Protection

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When it comes to emerging tech, you’ve heard the talking points and read the glowing reports. However, these advancements rely heavily on customer data, so while the optimism holds true, progress shouldn’t come at the expense of customer trust. Underneath the slick interfaces and personalised recommendations lies sensitive information and customers need to know their digital footprint is handled responsibly. This is where comprehensive data protection comes into play.

Customer Data Privacy

With e-commerce and digital transactions slowly becoming the norm, customers are exchanging more and more information online. This is why you need to make sure your approach to security is, in no uncertain terms, bulletproof and your practices compliant with regulation. Safeguarding data will be an ongoing and complex effort, but prioritising it is non-negotiable. In this respect, transparency is key. Be upfront with your customers about what information you collect, to what end, how you use it and systems you have in place to keep it safe, including encryption and multi-factor authentication. This level of openness will ensure long-term trust and loyalty.

It’s important to note that you should also pay attention to the level of compliance your partners and vendors have with data privacy as well. RepSpark, for instance, is fully GDPR compliant. 

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