Creating the trust necessary to transact was an expensive pursuit -- from banks to record labels to agents and universities -- intermediaries have spent billions asserting credibility. This has all changed. Whether it be through blockchain or reviews from other customers, consumers have shown that they’re willing to entrust what they watch, where they bank, and how they commute in hands of strangers and algorithms, who have displaced the incumbent middlemen and gained margin along the way.
Instead of paid media and ads, businesses have shifted to promotions from a more trustworthy source: other users. Endorsements and reviews make it possible to stay in an Airbnb or hire someone via Upwork; status and reputation that once needed to be certified by a third party have been supplanted by trusted reviews from thousands of anonymous, but verified customers.
Modern tech stacks that connect outside applications with in-house data are allowing business to transact and exchange information in new and secure ways. This greater inter-application communication will result in better customer experiences and deeper knowledge of the end customer for all involved parties.
Whether it’s signing a new agreement with a smart contract or simply entering bank account info online via Plaid, the trust that consumers have placed into tech companies has come a long way in just the last decade. We see this as a huge advantage for businesses that want to remove previously required “middleman” steps to their reaching their end customer.
Version 1.0 of this could be viewed as the wave one of DTC brands. Today we are seeing the direct brand to consumer relationship expand to traditionally multitiered industries like alcohol, CPG, medical diagnostics, etc. The brands that put the time and money into figuring out how to directly reach consumers are building new levels of customer loyalty.