Nike and Nespresso at top 100 of direct-to-consumer online ranking

June 6, 2019 by
Nico Hoeijmans

NikePracticology assessed 100 consumer brands who sell online directly to customers and identified the best practice. These brands compete against other retailers and marketplaces for online customers. In Practicology’s report, how brands compete against marketplaces as well as omnichannel retailers, and from this, become more advanced in selling directly to the end consumer, are highlighted.

Offering personalised products and attracting the customer with value-adding services like auto-replenishment or subscription is what positions the best sites as experts in their product categories.


Practicology designed the scoring for the report so that they could identify how well brands tackle the challenge of attracting customers to purchase from their website directly instead of from a retailer or marketplace (such as Amazon). The first place is shared by Nike and Nespresso, who both have a very clear direct-to-consumer strategy.

The following table provides an overview of the top 15 brands, which are mostly categorised in the footwear or skin care industry.

Brand Score out of 100
Nespresso 80%
Nike 80%
Adidas 79%
Timberland 77%
Asics 71%
Clarins 71%
Speedo 71%
Dermalogica 70%
Fossil 70%
Shiseido 70%
Dr Martens 68%
Jo Malone 68%
Liz Earle 68%
MAC Cosmetics 68%
Tea Pigs 68%
Other findings

The report features key benchmarks for brands who are either trying to launch a D2C website for the first time or trying to improve their performance. For example, of the 100 brands in question, 72% combines their brand- and e-commerce site rather than confusing customers with a transactional and non-transactional site.

In order to help consumers in making a purchase decision, 75% provide products with a detailed description. For the same effect, more than half of the brands shows good quality reviews and product ratings on their website.  Less than one-third of the e-commerce brands offer free delivery as standard, while 59% only offers free delivery when the customer spends a certain amount of money on their order.

To attract customers to the brands’ own website instead of another retailer, 32% offers exclusive products in their webshop that cannot be purchased anywhere else. A quarter of the brands offer product bundles that can only be exclusively bought online from the brand.

Allowing the customer to personalise a product increases attraction as well. 17% of the brands use this strategy, such as Nike with its ‘Nike By You’ design tool or online jewellery stores allowing customers to engrave products.

29% of brands (mostly beauty brands) offer free samples that a customer is able to choose from a selection when they make a purchase. However, in order to build long-term relationships, 17% offers an auto-replenishment or subscription service.

Video instructions and guides are offered by approximately 58.5% to help customers with their purchase and in the right choice of products.

The researched brands are operating in the following product categories: Accessories, Alcohol, Consumer Electronics, Food & Drink, Beauty & Healthcare, Luggage, Petcare, Supplements, Swimwear and Toys. For this report, the usability, e-commerce proposition and product information of each brand were reviewed.

Particular attention was paid to three areas where brands can add value through product, services and content.  


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