Today’s news that Stripe is headed to Europe is another sign of a quiet but fairly significant growing trend: direct-to-consumer online commerce is no longer the domain of the big guys.
Sure, PayPal’s been around seemingly forever, and big online content markets such as Amazon, Etsy and others allow for smalltimers to get their wares to a big audience, but nowadays more and more small indie merchants, creators and entrepreneurs are selling their products directly through their websites by simply plugging in a few lines of code from Stripe, Gumroad, and many more.
I wrote about the growth of direct-to-consumer in e-books, but the reality is going direct is happening all over the place. Much of the growth is a result of easy credit-card transaction processing with vendors like Stripe, but also due to the explosion in turnkey digital-delivery platforms like Gumroad, Spacebox and Sellfy.
Why the growth in direct-to-consumer? In part because it’s more profitable. Not having to pay 30% or more to Amazon, Apple or another digital marketplace is a big deal. Another is it allows direct access to the consumer. By having direct access to consumer information such as email addresses, phone numbers as well as place of employment gives an small entrepreneur much better understanding of who they are selling to and allows for direct relationship building.
Does direct-to-consumer options mean the disintermediators will be disintermediated? No. These platforms should be used as part of a multi-pronged sales and avoiding large platforms for selling goods is avoiding a potentially huge market, but it’s a good way for growing businesses to increasingly own more of the sale as they grow their market reach over time.