Strategy

Does the DTC Industry Need an Advocate?

A new collective makes the case for creating standards to navigate the changing consumer landscape.

One of the less distinguished tech-centric moments in recent Senate history took place during the infamous Facebook hearings of April 2018. For those who’ve successfully blocked it out of memory, there were exchanges between Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and members of the Senate about chocolate, a shout out to one lawmaker’s son’s Instagram account, and a question about whether Facebook can hear a user’s voice when they are recording videos for the platform. 

But perhaps the darkest exchange came when Senator Orrin Hatch had to be told that Facebook is free, but makes its profits off of ads. Those watching at home with a sense of worry about the company’s practices might have gotten the sense that lawmakers were a little overmatched.

The Facebook hearings were also a reminder of the inherent danger in having a business model that regulators don’t fully understand. This is at least part of why those in the DTC community have found themselves suddenly vulnerable when far-reaching measures have been enacted. In the broader schemes of business, the challenge of not being understood is not uncommon. You might even call it a growing pain.

But with eCommerce on a meteoric ascent in the midst of a global pandemic and the paradigm of traditional retail completely on uncertain terrain, an advocacy group of eCommerce executives called the DTC Collective announced its founding this week. Featuring members from Google, QVC, Jockey, Brooks Brothers, Lane Bryant, and others, the industry collective will take on establishing standards for DTC retailers around data protection and general conduct as well as pushing for internal regulations.

This is the first time our generation has experienced a macroeconomic and health crisis simultaneously and had to react quickly to how it has drastically changed consumer behavior, seemingly overnight.                  
                                                                                                                                              - Fayez Mohamood

We reached out to Fayez Mohamood, the Co-Founder & CEO of Bluecore, who came up with the initial idea for the DTC Collective, to find out more about the genesis of the collective.

In a statement to DTC Magazine, Mohamood explained that the concept came out of discussions about the future of eCommerce and shifting consumer habits, which have since been accelerated during the pandemic. Mohamood outlined more of the goals and rationales below:

Our thinking was that we needed a group of retail leaders who would actively participate in shaping the trajectory of this sea change before another GDPR, CCPA or elimination of third party cookies hit the industry without retailers’ ability to influence their impact on their businesses.
Of course, then COVID hit and we all collectively found ourselves in exactly such a predicament, where the industry was again changing--except for this time, it was at the hands of something that no one had control of or could have predicted. 
This is the first time our generation has experienced a macroeconomic and health crisis simultaneously and had to react quickly to how it has drastically changed consumer behavior, seemingly overnight.
So, what we had originally conceived of as this driving force for self-regulation of retail and the ushering in of a universal code of conduct that’s mutually beneficial to consumers and brands, has now also shifted temporarily. In 2020, the DTC Collective’s mandate is to accelerate the rebound of the industry. We’re doing this by coming together and openly sharing what, in any other time, would be considered behind-closed-doors strategies for dealing with the effects of the global pandemic, supply chain crisis and hard-hit economy. 

Read more about the DTC Collective here and let us know your thoughts: info@dtcmagazine.com