Direct-to-consumer e-commerce in appliances: A strategic growth opportunity

| Article

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales have been a significant growth driver across various industries. Companies are recognizing the multitude of advantages that come with this approach, such as significantly improved customer loyalty and higher margins. Appliance companies are no exception, and new data show they have a large opportunity to increase their share of DTC sales. Recent analysis reveals that while 32 percent of customers visit manufacturers’ websites during their purchase journey, only 1.6 percent make an e-commerce purchase from them. As a result, it is no surprise that 80 percent of companies in the appliance industry have identified increasing their share of DTC sales as a priority over the next three years.

DTC e-commerce: The key to growth and higher margins

The direct-to-consumer (DTC) channel is a key growth driver across industries.
McKinsey’s DTC benchmark research indicates that, across industries, companies are embracing the DTC e-commerce channel.

Transforming the customer journey: From visitors to buyers

Today, 32 percent of customers visit a manufacturer’s website during their purchase journey, but only 1.6 percent buy from it.
Customers visit manufacturers’ websites primarily to get product details, reviews, and service information.

Meeting consumer expectations and differentiating offerings

To convert visitors to buyers, websites must offer price and delivery options competitive with other channels and differentiate themselves on service and accessories.

Would you like to learn more about our Consumer Packaged Goods Practice?

Overcoming organizational barriers to DTC expansion

Appliance companies say there are three main barriers to expanding their DTC e-commerce sales.

A strategic and holistic approach to DTC success

In addition to current initiatives to expand their DTC e-commerce share of sales, appliance companies should focus on strategic planning for success.
Companies that make successful DTC transformations approach the process holistically, aligning on four key factors.
Scaling DTC involves a clear strategy, a distinctive customer experience, and cross-functional enablers.

Critical questions for companies to evaluate

Even with the above four key factors for successful DTC transformations, there is a series of critical questions that appliance companies will need to address and align around. These include:

  • What does the aspirational omnichannel journey look like? How might offline retail and omnichannel play complementary roles in the consumer journey?
  • How can DTC economics be optimized and integrated across channels—including post-purchase installation, services, and maintenance—rather than operate in silos?
  • What are the key points of differentiation between channels? What services and offerings could be made available on the DTC website besides sales-side commerce—such as configure-to-order, customization, and trade-in?
  • How does the DTC website leverage traffic from other content websites (seeding on YouTube, Instagram, professional review websites, online communities)?
  • How can the DTC website experience itself be a positive differentiator (for example, through live commerce or video)?
Explore a career with us