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FACEBOOK HAS BECOME THE STOREFRONT FOR DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER BRANDS

July 08, 2019 / Adam Kleinberg

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) business models have been heralded as the antidote to disruption. From the moment Unilever wrote a billion-dollar check to a unicorn, virtually every brand that sells a product in a store has been tripping over themselves to figure out their DTC strategy before they get Dollar-Shave-Clubbed upside the head. The promise of DTC is that brands can own the relationship with customers directly to avoid paying a huge "tax" to retailers or Amazon. For established brands, it offers the opportunity to stave off upstart competition from start-ups as well. For brands new and old, however, the concept of owning the end-to-end relationship with consumers is an illusion. You can own the relationship with customers once they give you their email—and you give them a cookie—but you still have to pay for the introduction.