The current health and economic crisis has provided all kinds of trials for individuals and industries around the world, and retail is no exception. As plenty of people contend with store closings and financial hardships, traditional retailers (even those with a strong online presence) have felt the blow. It’s becoming increasingly common to see brick and mortar stores close shop while eCommerce retailers ramp up sales and promotions.

Direct-to-consumer has risen as an eCommerce best practice, giving retailers the ability to cut out the middleman and build a direct relationship with consumers. As a Forbes article on the matter laid out:

“According to Gartner, 89% of companies now compete primarily on the basis of customer experience. That means that if your experience is more meaningful and emotionally impactful than your competitors’, it will win over customers regardless of price—PWC found that buyers will actually pay up to 16% more for a better customer experience.”

Direct-to-consumer approaches are a growing part of the tech transformation we’re seeing unfold in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. The retail world is shifting and predictable deliveries are more popular than ever. Companies will want to turn to direct-to-consumer operations in order to stay afloat. 

We’re seeing this work especially well with subscription programs. Consumers are relying on subscriptions not only for necessities like reliable groceries and food deliveries, but also for things like beauty and household items. 

“Consumers are using subscription to have shopping experiences that they can’t now have in stores…We are seeing consistently high growth in subscription during the shutdown,” Chris George, the chairman and cofounder of the Subscription Trade Association told Forbes.

D2C subscription services are a win for both the consumer and the retailer: consumers can expect the goods they want to be delivered in regular, predictable intervals, without stressful shopping situations or closed stores. Conversely, retailers form long-lasting, lucrative relationships (subscribers are an average of 217% more profitable than one-time customers) with consumers by embracing Relationship Commerce best practices and focusing on their recurring revenue programs. By prioritizing subscription and membership packages, retailers invest in a lasting, stable future with their customers.

Combining your direct-to-consumer approach with subscription is the best way to capitalize on current retail trends and meet consumers’ needs while setting your organization up for a profitable future. As consumers become increasingly empowered in their purchasing decisions, it’s more important than ever for brands and retailers to prioritize their consumer relationships in order to stay competitive.