A Barrel Research Project

We make real purchases and share direct-to-consumer marketing & UX insights.

Introducing CX Insights: Get DTC Patterns-style research for your own e-commerce site, complete with opportunities & improvement areas. Contact Us »

About the Project

DTC Patterns is a resource for learning about notable marketing and user experience practices from a wide range of brands that engage in direct-to-consumer ecommerce.

The team members at Barrel, a DTC ecommerce agency, gather observations by making real purchases on brand websites and highlight patterns that delight and enhance the customer experience. Each pattern is published as an individual article in DTC Patterns.

We do not accept any sponsorships or solicitations for free products. All purchases are paid in full (although we may, like real customers, hunt for discount codes and use them, in which case we’ll make note) and all content is written independently without influence from the brands.

Why did we decide to do this?

Each week, the Barrel team explores dozens of websites in search of inspiration and potential reference points as we craft digital experiences for our clients. We also sign up for email newsletters to see how different brands communicate with customers. 

One thing that wasn’t common for us was to go through an entire checkout process and actually buy items from the brands we came across. This sometimes left us with a gap in knowledge of a customer’s experience with certain brands. For example, what was the post purchase email flow like? How was the unboxing experience? How did customer service and returns work? How does subscription management work? There were many marketing and UX patterns that simply were unavailable for examination without becoming a paying customer.

DTC Patterns aims to shed light on some of the notable experiences that happen when we engage in a full purchase path and actually buy products. Equipped with a monthly budget, Barrel team members are encouraged to behave like customers while keeping a marketing and UX lens on interesting ways that brands handle certain direct-to-consumer interactions. We catalog these moments through screenshots and descriptions, collecting them in an ever-growing library of patterns.

Our aim is to create one of the most robust resources for helping marketers and designers understand effective patterns when it comes to direct-to-consumer ecommerce.

Want to suggest a cool brand for us to examine? Or have any questions, comments, or suggestions? Email us at dtcpatterns@barrelny.com.

View All DTC Patterns →

If you know a brand that you think would be a great fit for the DTC Patterns submit it here.