The Blurred Lines Between Retail and DTC with Guy Courtin

Guy Courtin and Joe Lynch discuss the blurred lines between retail and DTC. Guy Courtin is Vice President and Industry Principal of Retail at Tecsys, a global provider of supply chain solutions that equip the borderless enterprise for growth.

About Guy Courtin

Guy Courtin is Vice President and Industry Principal and Retail at Tecsys, a global provider of supply chain solutions that equip the borderless enterprise for growth. Courtin is a senior executive with deep experience in the technology field with over 20 years of experience in the supply chain industry. He has held senior leadership roles at Infor, Progress Software, and i2 Technologies. In addition, he has been an industry analyst covering the supply chain and retail spaces for SCM World and Constellation Research. Courtin is a high energy, results-driven, and passionately committed to creativity – in strategic solutions, unique messaging, and compelling content marketing. A broadly curious professional not afraid to color outside the lines while exciting and enthusiastically engaging colleagues and employees. Courtin has extensive global experience with both small and large companies – concentrations in B2B software and package applications. Passionate about contexts “where conviction is firm, hesitancy has no place.”

About Tecsys

Tecsys is a global provider of supply chain solutions that equip the borderless enterprise for growth. Organizations thrive when they have the software, technology and expertise to drive operational greatness and deliver on their brand promise. Spanning healthcare, retail, service parts, third-party logistics, and general wholesale high-volume distribution industries, Tecsys delivers dynamic and powerful solutions for warehouse management, distribution and transportation management, supply management at point of use, retail order management, as well as complete financial management and analytics solutions. Tecsys’ shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol TCS. 

Key Takeaways: The Blurred Lines Between Retail and DTC

  • Evolution of retail
    • In the past, there were clear lines between traditional retailers and manufacturers.
    • Today, the lines have blurred as retailers launched private label brands, and traditionally retailers pursued direct-to-consumer (DTC) services.
    • Costco example: they sell different brands and market their brand Kirkland, which now accounts for approximately 25% of their revenue. So, what is Costco? A retailer or a producer?
  • The rise of private label within retail
    • Private label is becoming an important strategy for retailers.
    • Private label has now matched the quality of traditional brands.
    • They are starting to create loyalty with their brands as well. Consumers will not only go to certain shops because they like it but also go to find their private brand.
    • For retailers, this is an avenue where they can build more intimacy with their customers and capture more data and loyalty.
    • Competitive pricing and good quality.
  • Digital native brands moving into the physical space
    • Today, brands that started as digital companies understand that to build true intimacy with customers, they need to be where their customers are, in the physical space – retail.
    • There are things that it’s better to have in the physical world like glasses or computers that you’d like to touch and try on.
    • Digital and physical spaces have their unique benefits.
    • At the end of the day, we’re still acquiring a physical asset.
  • Customer expectations are rising
    • Customers now expect that they will be able to easily buy and return products at physical stores or online (or both).
    • Customers expect a positive buying experience whether they are buying via physical stores or online.
    • Retail stores still account for the majority of sales, far more than DTC.
    • For certain customers buying physical stores is easier, more convenient and enables them to touch the product.
    • Trust in an online world has grown, but customers can lose it very quickly with lousy quality.
    • Data is essential in the digital world since it allows the company to develop a buyer persona.
  • Ecommerce companies have data, retailers don’t
    • Retailers are playing catch up when it comes to data because they realize that the ecommerce companies because they have customer data.
    • Many retailers are now providing discounts to customers who are willing to share their data.
    • That data allows retailers to create the buyer persona that is so easily created in the digital world.
  • Circular aspect of fulfillment
    • Over 30% of ecommerce purchases are returned, which is an enormous cost and logistics problem.
    • The returns are also a hassle for the brand and the customer.
    • Smart companies will use the returns/reverse logistics process as another opportunity to engage with the customer.
  • Customers increasingly prefer companies that value sustainability
    • Customers are often willing to pay extra for goods and services, if the company they are buying from is environmentally friendly.
    • People, planet, profit – we need all three.

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