DTC 100: 📦 Explode your AOV
May 21, 2023
Content Tag

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Can you believe it?! DTC 100! 🤯

We’re not going to get too sentimental on you… but we’re SO grateful to have you along for the ride.

Here’s to the next 100! 🍻

P.S. If you've received any value from these first 100 editions, reply to this email and let us know. We love knowing what’s working and what’s not.

If you’re new to DTC, welcome! You’re in good company with fellow newcomers from Daily Harvest, Stuart Weitzman, Spritz Society, Peet’s Coffee, Figs, Dropps, and Chewy. 😇

In this newsletter you’ll find: 👇

🤯 10 ways to explode your AOV.

🤨 Facebook dark posting.

🦷 Spotlight Oral Care goes viral on TikTok with co-founder Dr. Lisa Creaven and VP of marketing Siobhan Nolan.

☕️ Frozen coffee pods?!

Read till the end to access exclusive DTC swag. 😎

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Average order value (AOV) – the metric marketers look at almost every day and brainstorm ways to increase before the end of the quarter.

Well, put your brainstorming aside for now because we’ve got 10 ways to use cross-sells and upsells to drive up your AOV.

First, what’s the difference between upselling and cross-selling? 🤷‍♂️

⬆️ Upselling: Offering an upgraded version of what the customer is purchasing.

Ex. Whenever Apple comes out with a new phone, they’ll try to sell the most recent version to customers – not the version from two years ago.

➡️ Cross-selling: Suggesting relevant or complementary products based on what the customer is purchasing.

Ex. If a customer is purchasing a skin cleanser, you can show them a bundle with a full skincare routine.

Strategies to cross-sell and upsell:

There are many ways to encourage customers to purchase more using a mix of strategies across your website and marketing channels.

Here are 10 ideas sorted by channel: 👇

💻 Recommendations on your website:

1. Use a product comparison chart to upsell a better version of your product

Chances are, customers looking through your product pages haven’t made a decision on what to purchase yet.

If they’re bouncing around between two styles, a comparison chart can help them make their pick (and potentially the more expensive pick, too).

This is common for tech products, like Apple.

By adding a comparison chart with the Apple Watches, customers can easily see the benefits to buying the more expensive version – the Series 7 – because it has features the other two series’ don’t:

2. Offer a bundle of complementary items

Does your product line carry complementary items? Like a full skincare routine?

Let customers know by creating a "bundles" category on your website and putting these products together.

For example, Three Ships has a "kits" section in the products tab where customers can easily purchase routines, treatment kits, and gift bundles.

Aside from the bonus of customers purchasing two or three products instead of just one, a bundles page also makes shopping easier for new customers who aren’t sure what products you offer.

3. Add a product suggestions block to every PDP

Have a product that would be complementary with another? Let customers know by putting a suggestions block below the description on the product page.

Three Ships also does this cross-selling tactic well. The block under the description tells the customer the product they’re looking at "pairs well with" another product.

With a single click, customers can add the complementary product to their cart, too.

4. Show off complementary products on the checkout page

Similar to your product pages, you can cross-sell when the customer is checking out.

LoveSeen, a false eyelash brand, uses their checkout to recommend their tools to make applying the lashes easier.

LoveSeen also adds a "you are $3 away from free shipping" to help drive the cross-sell.

🎁 Incentives to offer:

A. Offer free shipping on a minimum dollar amount

If you don’t normally offer free shipping, it can be a great incentive to excite customers.

To increase your AOV at the same time, upsell customers by making the promotion only available if a minimum dollar amount is spent.

Bonus: The same kind of promotion can work for offering bonus loyalty points or a bigger discount as customers spend more money.

B. Create a BOGO promotion, but with buy two get one free

BOGO deals can be a great tactic to drive up your conversions quickly – and get rid of some leftover stock.

But if you want to make these kinds of deals even more profitable, turn it into a BTGO (buy-two-get-one).

Check out this example from Onsen: 👇

C. Create milestone offers

Cross-selling or upselling can be a long-term game, especially if you’re using milestone offers.

For CPG brands like skincare, food, and beverage where repeat purchases are more common, consider running a promotion for customers where they get a free product after they purchase X amount of times.

After customers make their first purchase, your follow up emails can remind them about how close they are to the next promotion, and cross-sell other items based on what they originally purchased to help drive the next sale.

Be on the lookout for part 2 coming on Saturday… See ya then!


You might be using the latest meditation app to dive deep on what brings you meaning –but what makes a DTC brand meaningful?

Well, there's no app for that, but there is Nine by Nine: 81 Brands Changing Our World, a report released by Future Commerce in partnership with Klaviyo.

Nine by Nine isn’t your run-of-the-mill, seen 'em all before list of brands.

This annual trends report spotlights brands that are distinguishing themselves by making a difference across nine categories that will shape the future.

Whether they're evolving from digital retailer to omnichannel business, providing greater access to customers of all sizes and income levels or putting the customer at the center of the experience, these are the brands that are redefining commerce as we know it.

👉 Download the report here and discover which DTC trailblazers are changing our world for the better.


While branded ads are AWESOME, the Pilothouse Facebook team has seen big success with dark posting.

First… What is dark posting?

1️⃣ Dark posting is running paid ads out of an influencer's Facebook and/or Instagram profile – these don’t show up on their (the influencer’s) timeline or profile –just as ads!

2️⃣ Whitelisting leverages a post created by the influencer for the specific product (meaning it lives on their profile or timeline).

You picking up what we’re laying down? 😎

Why we’re fans of dark posting:

It leverages the kind of social proof via paid ads to provide opportunities to show different perspectives in your funnel.

It also gives your media buying team more ammunition or what we call "levers" to pull when scaling.

Benefits of dark posting:

✅ If you’re seeing high engagement with branded ads at top-of-funnel but your conversion rate is looking lackluster, take the next step to convert those users with a custom influencer promo code!

✅ Dark post ads are a great way to create affiliate partnerships with influencers (and it’s a scalable strategy for brands who want to build an influencer network!)

Give them a discount code and a small percent of each sale where the code is used!

This incentivizes them to create performance-driven creative, and since it’s a dark post, followers won’t see the sales-heavy content.

✅ Dark posting (and any influencer ad) allows you to add first-person narrative into your mix of ad styles.

Again, this goes a long way for driving social proof.

FINAL NOTE: Some of Pilothouse’s brands see as much as 40–50% of their paid spend at profitable scale coming from dark posting.

It’s NO joke.


🤯 eCommerce subscription success begins before you launch.

Ancestral Supplements knows this well. After initially launching a cumbersome subscription platform, they decided to overhaul their entire experience. The results?

2x total subscribers and a 21% increase in enrollment. 💪

Because this subscription glow-up story is too good to keep to themselves, Ordergroove is here to share all the details in their latest on-demand webinar: How Ancestral Supplements Overhauled Their Subscription Program to Drive Growth.

In the webinar, you'll learn:

  • Why Ancestral overhauled their subscription program.
  • What to look for when selecting a good subscription program.
  • How Ancestral is now seeing subscription success.

It's a must-watch to help you understand the impact different platforms can have –and what to do when things aren’t working out.

🤔 Don’t have a subscription program yet? Not happy with your existing subscription provider? Schedule a call with one of Ordergroove's subscription experts here.


This week on the pod, we had Dr. Lisa Creaven and Siobhan Nolan to "drill down" on the success of Spotlight Oral Care. 🦷

In addition to creating clinically proven, sustainable oral care products, co-founders and dentists Dr. Lisa and Dr. Vanessa are on a mission to educate the masses about personalized, preventative oral care.

Four out of five dentists agree: This episode is packed with pearly-white insights. 😁

‍The Takeaways: 👇

👩‍⚕️ The benefits of having industry experts as founders:

Spotlight Oral Care has a unique competitive advantage in their industry…

They were founded by real dentists that are also willing to be faces of the brand –answering questions and engaging directly with their customers.

This creates a personal, highly educational customer journey that’s hard to beat.

Not only that, some of the most successful pieces of creative have been rough-cut videos of founder Dr. Lisa debunking "trends" in the oral care industry (not charcoal toothpaste! 😨)

"We wanted to do the heavy lifting of having those conversations because nobody else was… So why not us?"

💰 How Spotlight preps for BFCM:

VP of Marketing, Siobhan Nolan, believes one of the keys to crushing Black Friday is building an engaged, ready-to-purchase audience during the preceding months.

This is why –starting in August! –they start growing and nurturing their email list.

Here’s how they do it:

  • Partner with influencers and other brands to run several concentrated lead-gen campaigns (such as giveaways and sweepstakes).
  • Gather first-party data upon lead capture using surveys.
  • Create targeted, segmented email funnels based on data.
  • Nurture leads with educational content to prime them for purchase.

💥 Using these tactics, Spotlight Oral Care raked in 40% of their annual revenue during BFCM in 2020, and they’re on track to crush it again this year with similar tactics.

🎁 Gifts for gifters:

Spotlight shared some killer ideas to help get buyers in the gifting spirit this holiday season.

Our favorite?

Add a small gift with purchase, so the buyer gets something, too! 🥰

Now we’re all kinds of jazzed up for the holidays (Siri, play Mariah Carey).

👉 Listen to the full pod with Spotlight Oral Care here!

As a DTC reader, you can get 30% off here using the code below. 👇

🚨 Code = DTC30


Move over coffee grounds, there’s a new kid in town.

Let’s give a warm (or cold?) welcome to Cometeer. ☕️🥶

Cometeer is frozen, pure brewed coffee, and teamed with a flash-freezing process that captures the complex flavor and aromas you can't experience with any other fast-format.

The coffee arrives at your door in the first 100% recyclable capsule, and the coffee is sourced directly from some of the best farmers.

Pop your capsule into hot water or use it in your machine to get the perfect cup every time. 👇

Cometeer recently raised $35 million series B and is now out of beta and available to everyone!

Congrats on the launch! 🚀


🚨 Learn How to Stop a Scroll in 3 Seconds – a comprehensive guide on all you need to know about creating thumb-stopping video intros that capture attention, with insights from creative master Nick Shackelford.*

FTC sends out official warnings to over 700 brands over the use of fake reviews.

📦 Facebook adds new shipping options to Marketplace facilitating more eCommerce activity.

💬 Google My Business App gains edit welcome message & shows messages response time.

🎉 Celebrating five years of Facebook Marketplace with more ways to buy and sell.

🎥 Instagram adds live-stream scheduling to drive more awareness and viewers.

📊 Facebook will now count unconnected Facebook and Instagram accounts separately in ad reach data.


🔊 Have you heard our latest podcasts?

🦷 Spotlight Oral Care Goes Viral on TikTok with Co-founder Dr. Lisa Creaven and VP Marketing Siobhan Nolan.

🧵 Cornering the $4.2B Quilting Market, with David Mifsud from Missouri Star Quilt Co.

🚽 Why YouTube is the secret behind this DTC bidet brand’s success, with Thomas Lotrecchiano from Omigo.

👨‍🎓 Retention for Consumables, with Troy Petrunoff from Every Man Jack.

Don’t forget to rate the DTC Podcast on Apple (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

DTC Newsletter is written by Thomas Schreiber, Kelsey Hess, Tina Donati, and Rebecca Knight.

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