D2C models were not new in 2016. Mail-order catalogues have been around forever, and allowed customers to browse and order wares direct from manufacturers. However, modern brands benefited from the rise of eCommerce in general, and the rise of extremely targeted (and affordable) customer acquisition funnels like Facebook and Instagram specifically. All of a sudden, it was possible and economical to target very specific customer bases – so brands could choose to speak directly to Lisa, no kids, late 20s, from Boston – rather than risk being lost in a “sea of same” on retail shelves.
Perhaps more importantly, D2C models allow brands to collect precious consumer data, to iterate messaging and perhaps target Lisa’s friends and family. That data is unavailable when selling via traditional retail outlets.
This all raises the question: Does D2C work for cannabis?