Any store
split in 4.

Retail Insights

Hilary Krutt

Foundermade’s Direct to Consumer Summit at Home took place on April 29, bringing together finance leaders and solution providers to share their expertise with high growth, innovative D2C brands. 

Zip had the opportunity to host a lively panel discussion during the event, moderated by Franchesca Gayadan, Zip VP of Enterprise Sales, and featuring two of our merchant partners: Alexandra Fine, CEO & Co-Founder of Dame Products, and Taran Ghatrora, CEO & Co-Founder of Blume.

What emerged from the discussion was a roadmap to D2C success, shaped by the challenges faced in 2020. We’ve summarized the top six takeaways for retailers looking to come out on top in the year ahead.

  • Equip customers to make an informed purchase decision.

It’s essential to strike a balance between offering consumers options, while also providing just the right amount of direction.

In the past year, Blume has homed in on a successful upsell strategy informed by user testing and customer data. Ghatrora describes it as a “nudge,” equipping the customer with important information—what’s most popular, what’s recommended and why, what products are often bought together, or what need is met by a specific product.

“The consumer marketplace is so noisy that even something as simple as a quiz helps to personalize the experience,” says Ghatrora.

  • Increase accessibility and conversion with buy now, pay later.

This desire for choice extends to the payments space, and both Dame and Blume have accommodated the demand by offering Zip’s buy now, pay later service to customers.

For Dame, the option to pay over time fits perfectly with the brand’s product offering. “We sell a durable good that will last a few years, so being able to spread out those payments to align with the life of the product is really helpful,” says Fine. “We want to make the products more accessible without lowering our price point and sacrificing product quality.” 

For Blume, BNPL was a perfect fit for the brand’s Gen Z customer base. With most products under a $30 price point, offering buy now, pay later allowed customers to stock up on additional items and buy bundles rather than a single product. 

This has proven to be a major win for the business: “Retention for Blume is stronger when people try more than one product, and the products are also more effective that way,” says Ghatrora. “Our average order value and retention have both gone up since implementing buy now, pay later.”

According to Fine, “launching Zip was a no-brainer to us. The offering made so much sense as a way to make our products more accessible, and aligned perfectly with our values and what we were trying to do as a brand. The decision was simple.”

  • Prioritize your team’s wellbeing.

As is the case for many companies this year, both Blume and Dame have been fully remote since March 2020. To create a sense of connection while also maintaining boundaries between work and home life, Blume launched daily wellness check-ins to focus employees on gratitude and self-care before diving into the workday. “That humanity and sense of connection on a deeper level is something we can take with us as the company grows,” says Ghatrora.

Fine echoes that sentiment: “We’re fully remote now, and are finding ways to take care of each other even virtually. Creating clearer boundaries with the team about how we’re going to work digitally has been really important.”

  • Support and learn from your community.

At Blume, supporting customers through this difficult period has been just as much of a priority as ensuring employee wellbeing. Over the past year, the brand launched a PPE drive, reached out to check in with individual customers, sent flowers, and empowered its customer service team to go above and beyond in every interaction. SMS has emerged as a new channel to build community and trust.

“One thing that always helps me tackle both day-to-day challenges and focus on our larger mission is talking to customers. You just learn so much about what people need,” says Ghatrora.

The team also took a sensitive approach to marketing communications, shifting their email strategy to provide helpful content and solicit feedback rather than pushing sales. In fact, Blume did not launch any new core products during the pandemic at all.

“As founders, it’s important to think about the world we’re shaping,” says Ghatrora. “Focusing on the ‘why’ keeps you motivated through the tough times.”

  • Get back to basics to ensure efficiency.

The COVID-19 pandemic shook us out of our well-worn routines, and for many, provided the clarity to reassess the status quo. As a young brand, Blume saw this as a moment to slow down, take a beat, and shift its focus from top line growth to efficiency.

“On the business side, COVID allowed us to double down operationally,” says Ghatrora. “We shifted warehouses and some of our manufacturers to improve margins and the basic unit economics of our business. This period has really prepared Blume for the next level of scale.”

  • Embrace instability and uncertainty.

One of the surprise silver linings of 2020? The opportunity to learn in real time. “Focus on creating clarity and planning ahead while acknowledging that things can change,” says Fine.

That approach is key to running a small business even under normal circumstances. By extension, it’s crucial to build an agile team and foster a culture in which it’s okay not to have all the answers.

“If I could go back in time, I’d say the instability we’re feeling is an opportunity to double down on what’s working,” says Fine. “Let the wind at your back guide you forward.”

Hilary Krutt
Hilary Krutt

Hilary Krutt oversees all content strategy and creative copywriting efforts at Quadpay. An avid reader, she kicked off her career in the publishing industry and has since led editorial efforts for a variety of clients across healthcare, higher education, and retail as well as in the insurtech space.