Explosive growth in e-commerce has shaken up the retail industry, challenging traditional brands to find new ways to digitally engage customers.

As consumers spend more time online, marketers must consider how to make their brands more experiential via digital channels. Don’t fall into the trap of treating digital as a strictly transactional medium.

Traditional retailers and brands can learn a thing a two from digitally native vertical brands (DNVBs) – those that were “born” online, have a vertically integrated supply chain and don’t have a large physical retail presence (think: Glossier and Wayfair).

These companies never had to spend time overhauling legacy retail systems and had a much smaller barrier of entry into the digital space. As a result, digitally native brands have gotten a head start at things like data and customer intelligence, e-commerce, and omnichannel digital experiences.

DNVBs this year are likely to thrive after a Cyber Week that saw online sales surge almost 21% year-over-year, reaching $34.4 billion. That growth is about four times as much as the 5.2% that the NRF forecast for the entire holiday season. The global pandemic has accelerated a longer-term shift toward online shopping, with many traditional brands playing catch-up to the strategies already developed by DNVBs.

DNVBs generally share several characteristics that make them unique from traditional brands.

DNVBs drive loyalty through community
DNVBs place a big focus on branding and raising consumer awareness in marketing campaigns that drive online sales. Their goal is to build the kind of loyalty
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