Apple’s ATT Deployment and The Impact on DTC Fulfillment
Apple’s hotly contested App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy started rolling out in late April
with the release of iOS 14.5. The repercussions for small businesses are now becoming a
reality, especially those in eCommerce Fulfillment.
The advent of Google and Facebook marketing gave smaller DTC brands a viable way to reach
customers without extravagant marketing budgets and Ad Agency retainers. However, the DTC
fulfillment industry will have to fight through the new ATT changes out of Cupertino. If not, they
could lose key selling opportunities and customer conversions. Highly targeted ads have been
the most reliable way for these companies to find consumers that will be the best fit for their
products at a reasonable customer acquisition cost.
As Apple just demonstrated, and Amazon has done many times before, the big tech platforms
can change the rules overnight, and your thriving online business can dry up in an instant.
Apple’s ATT policy effectively strips out the ability to target individual users in Apple’s walled
garden of data and the iOS ecosystem. For example, see the infamous pop-ups below that iPhone users are now experiencing when clicking on their Apps for the first time after upgrading to iOS 14.5.
Facebook advertising will be the most adversely impacted area, which will lead to lower direct
response sales in the short term for DTC fulfillment brands. Facebook will undoubtedly find
relevant ways to deliver highly targeted ads again at affordable prices. Still, there will be a major
adjustment period that will impact online sales in the short term.
What does this all mean in the DTC eCommerce fulfillment world? The first obvious takeaway is
that DTC brands need to start engaging their marketing partners right away to figure out new
ways to target customers online cost-effectively. The pool of marketing channels is greater than
ever, and now might be the time to start exploring a few alternative channels like TikTok, Snap,
The second major takeaway that the Apple ATT policy has illuminated is the importance of owning a direct relationship with your customer. The only way to truly insulate yourself from the whims of the tech monopolies is to own an engaging relationship with your customer. Your business should be capturing a rich pool of email addresses and/or phone numbers and crafting relevant promotional campaigns and branding messages directly with your core customer base. Subscription plans for repeat purchases are also a growing area where many DTC brands now have access to tools to generate custom plans and options for their consumers.
The bottom line is that the less you depend on the large-scale technology platforms, the better positioned and more valuable your DTC brand will become. The DTC Fulfillment and The eCommerce Fulfillment industry will keep on thriving through these changes by establishing better relationships with current customers. You can still take advantage of the marketplace opportunities that these companies enable. Still, your most valuable asset will always be your direct relationship with the customer and a well-tuned fulfillment strategy with a trusted partner like 5 logistics.