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Direct to Customer: The New Era of Commerce is Here.

Direct to Customer (DTC) is one of the most powerful tactics in a brand’s selling toolkit. By sharing a brand’s story, developing its personality and creating experiences, a well-executed e-commerce site can create loyalists. DTC is unique in its ability to deliver sales, drive intelligence and manage a brand’s message in ways more successful than a brick-and-mortar store — with a potentially larger audience and a route to market that’s exponentially faster and cheaper.

Building Foodservice Success with DTC

Building a direct to customer experience can give your brand the unique ability to engage operators with easy-to-shop navigation, suggestive upselling, fast answers and more. Selling touchpoints can be educational opportunities, moving a customer from a one-time buyer into a brand loyalist.

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Build It

Our team designs and builds the infrastructure for your direct to customer e-commerce solution. We create best-in-class user experiences that enable, not distract from, your customer’s purchasing. We’ll even maintain, update, and populate your site’s content, and user experiences. 

Connect It

We’ll connect your brand with your customers where they live, work and play! We bring the stories and products on your site to operators, distributors and digital marketing channels used by your audience to remove the barriers to purchase.

Amplify It

We are content creators and storytellers who craft compelling marketing strategies, product photography, demonstrations and sampling videos designed to make your products stand out above the competition and create brand loyalty. We use the most sophisticated digital media and retargeting tools to attract and promote ongoing interest in your brand!

Case Study

Lundberg Family Farms

In Their Own Words

What our clients say about our direct to customer work we deliver speaks volumes more than pretty pictures on a page ever could.  



Our unique approach and end-to-end capabilities ensure consistent thought and strategy. By connecting your operations, sales and marketing objectives, we are uniquely positioned to carry them through to every stage of the direct to customer journey.

The past 18-24 months have exponentially accelerated the shift to e-commerce, driven by the culturally-redefining pandemic. In the first 8 weeks of the U.S. lockdown, “U.S. e-commerce penetration grew more than the previous 10 years!” *

This shift in behavior and the responses of brands to move their sales online has amplified the need for excellence in this channel for both brands and manufacturers.

Even before the pandemic, DTC sales growth was expected to continue to accelerate through the first half of this decade.

We have entered a new era of digital commerce. Product presence on the web alone is not enough. Complete control of your messaging, your content and your digital commerce platform is the cost of entry. The real power of a DTC digital ecosystem is in its ability to amplify the marketing intelligence of your operator while also selling at every point of engagement.

There are many benefits of Direct-To-Customer. Beyond connecting a brand to its target customers, a strong online presence also creates:

Insights and Innovation Engines

  • Advanced analytics to generate operator insights
  • Social listening and search scraping
  • Test-and-Learn

Platforms to Control User Experiences

  • Brand strategy, with online as central component
  • Content development and management
  • Predictive analytics for personalization
  • User experience design

Omnichannel Marketing and Sales Engines

  • Digital customer acquisition strategies
  • Advanced analytics to generate insights

Sales Drivers

  • User experience design
  • Advanced analytics (to anticipate SKU exhaustion, recommend products, etc.)
  • E-commerce operations
    (ex. SKU-level replenishment) 

Clearly define your direct-to-customer strategy
Important considerations are providing clear value to the customer and doing so without introducing friction to the customer journey.

Differentiate to avoid direct competition
It is important to differentiate your DTC offering from what distributor partners offer. Creatively bundle, brand or package your DTC offering to avoid competing directly with distributors. 

Increase partner sales using data
The customer data you’ll collect going DTC can be used to help channel partners improve their overall businesses.

Marlin Connections Commerce offers the only end-to-end, single-source solution custom tailored to meet customers’ needs. No other provider can offer this level of turnkey integration, accountability, support or spectrum of services

Your e-commerce site can be up and generating revenue in a matter of weeks! The move to DTC is no longer a years-long process. Our team’s expertise and experience ensure we are efficient, smart and always planning for the future.

Getting Started

We host a discovery session to understand your sales channels and products as well as your fulfillment and return details. We also work to help you determine the right Shopify platform (Shopify, Advanced or Plus) and store name.

Agile development process
We work quickly to set up an e-commerce prototype. Following your brand standards, we set up the site, create a domain name and URLs, load in existing product content, define product variants, import from product database, product tracking notifications and more.

Connecting Commerce
We set up payment gateways, customer support (email, phone, live chat), wholesale (discount codes, password protection), email, analytics, create your blog posts (if desired) and optimize for conversion.

Developing your marketing plan.
We’ll help you build your marketing strategy, prepare necessary tools and launch a campaign that amplifies and drives consumer traffic to your DTC solution. We’ll set up, monitor and optimize your search, media and social spends as well as paid media support and more!

Our team of creatives and developers is adept at using and developing in any e-commerce platform. While we are happy to work with any platform, we do recommend Shopify as our chosen solution. As a Shopify Partner, we are able to build the best-in-class e-commerce solution you want instead of force-fitting into a template.

Launching your online business through Shopify allows us to:

  1. Increase your sales. Sell anywhere, to anyone, anytime (cross-channel selling)
  2. Unify your operations Upselling, inventory, forecasting and customer rewards
  3. Connect with your customers through powerful marketing tools Coupons, subscriptions, gift cards, statistics, targeted email campaigns and advanced e-commerce analytics
  4. Simplify the shopping experience Remove barriers to purchase and create more sales with connected marketing and purchasing channels (Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon, Google Shopping, Walmart and more) easy payment options and secure and reliable payment gateways with optimized/streamlined checkouts including pre-filled data-based email and phone numbers.
  5. Ensure consumer confidence with the Shopify Plus security and reliability tools
    • Built for very fast loading
    • Mobile responsive
    • SEO friendly (rich text snippets for search)
    • Level 1 PCI DDS compliant
    • Up to 10,000 checkouts per minute
    • 4 million hits per second
    • Unlimited bandwidth and 99.99% up time
  6. Customize your store from existing templates or fully customized builds Fill brand-specific needs with third-party solutions and robust app integrations
  7. Gather 1st party shopper data intelligence Enhance your marketing messaging and create long-standing consumer relationships.

Beyond our development services, Marlin Connections Commerce is uniquely positioned with proven end-to-end solutions for:

  1. RaaS (Retail as a Service)
  2. DaaS (Distribution as a Service)

Our inclusion within the Advantage Solutions network enables us to offer the best-in-class providers in an end-to-end, single-source solution with fully integrated data management across all touchpoints and service divisions. Each service is tailored to meet our customer’s needs. No other provider can offer this level of turnkey integration, accountability, support or service solutions.

Start your e-commerce project now

Simply complete all the form fields. We’re excited to get started.

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Contact Us!

Sherry Gorsich is standing by to discuss. Reach out today!

Sherry Gorsich, Director of Client Service at CSSI

Sherry Gorsich

Director of Client Services

The foodservice world is a natural fit for Sherry, an award-winning product development and B2B marketing expert who has spent her 20+ year career immersed in communications. In her work on both the manufacturer and agency sides of the business, she has led innovative advertising campaigns, sales training, promotions and strategic partnerships. Currently, in her role as Director of Business Development, Sherry’s insights drive holistic B2B and B2C recommendations that help our clients thrive in a competitive industry.


Physical offices in:
CHICAGO, Illinois

Virtual offices across the U.S. and Canada

We Build Connections

More than communications or culinary, we build connections. Today’s always-on, ever-changing foodservice universe makes it hard to connect all the right messages in all the right places. Marlin Connections offers the most comprehensive services in the industry, providing deep expertise and unmatched creativity across culinary, digital, content, media and analytics. We’re the only agency that pushes past media analytics and links marketing efforts to true sales conversion.

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