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Can direct-to-consumer brands compete with Amazon?

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The most recognized direct-to-consumer brands can afford to resist Amazon. But that's just one approach.
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The world of consumer brands—those things we buy and use every day—is going through a period of dramatic change, as I chronicle in my book “Billon Dollar Brand Club: How Dollar Shave Club, Warby Parker and Other Disruptors Are Remaking What We Buy.” Direct-to-consumer brands are changing the landscape of consumer products but, as with so much of retail, one company looms over their success. Can these companies create a new type of e-commerce that Amazon doesn’t dominate?

A lot of the most successful new brands and their products—Dollar Shave Club razors, Warby Parker eyeglasses, ThirdLove bras, Quip electric toothbrushes—avoid selling on Amazon because they know they have a better chance at creating a strong brand identity via the direct to-consumer model than by going through the highly-commoditized Amazon platform.

A hugely important part of being a successful direct-to-consumer business is that you control your relationship with your customers by, among other things, providing a level of customer service shoppers can’t find at a large platform like Amazon.

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