The Uptok Blog

Rise of The Digitally Native, Human-First Brands

September 11, 2023

The retail industry has always been a fast-paced one. This acceleration has only been fueled by advancements in e-commerce. But why are so-called digitally native brands (DNBs) making changes to their business model?


Digitally native brands are companies that were founded and have grown primarily through online channels, as opposed to traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. Marketers leverage the power of social media, influencer marketing, and other digital marketing channels to build a brand following. They prioritize customer experience and often invest heavily in user experience design, social media engagement, and other elements that create a sense of community around their brand. They tend to be agile and able to quickly adapt to changes in technology and consumer behavior. Examples of digital native brands include Warby Parker, Glossier and Casper. They are disrupting traditional brick and mortar retailers by offering a seamless and personalized experience to their customers. 

Paid ads on social media platforms, and to a lesser extent Google Ads, are the primary tools for acquiring, maintaining, and growing sales of digitally native brands. Marketing and advertising online are becoming more popular, which means that competition and costs are increasing. As the various factors that contribute to Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) continue to rise, DNBs are looking for new, lower-cost ways to reach and sell to their customers. Rising customer acquisition costs, increased competition across digital channels, and customer satisfaction concerns have prompted digitally native brands to reconsider their approach to online presence.

The customer experience of a digitally native brand is easily replicated, it is made up of flashy user experience trends, pre recorded videos and sophisticated branding. All of these only take you so far. Since a digitally native brand can only take their user experience so far we’ve seen a rise in a new type of brand experience… the human brand experience. 

Regardless of how convenient e-commerce is, cvfthe unique engagement that comes with in-store shopping cannot be replicated online. As a result, to meet the demand for immersive, sensory-driven customer experiences, many digitally native brands are expanding their retail networks to physical channels.


Think of it this way, when shopping in store EVERYTHING is a unique brand experience. From the associate who greets you, to the other shoppers in the store, you feel a connection to that brand. This goes to make the point that… most brands are already human first, they just haven’t been able to translate it to the online experience.

The rise of human first experience is all about what makes a customer care about a brand. In fact, according to this PWC report “human interaction matters now—and 82% of U.S. and 74% of non-U.S. consumers want more of it in the future”. 

Beware of Being Replicable

Businesses that stand out are the ones that are curated. Rather than following the pack and working with the plethora of options available to their competitors. The competitive edge is the experience and the memorability of the brand. Since a good shopping experience is only a level playing feed, the next battleground for creating unique brand value is the human experience.

Everything else has been done, the next battleground is the human experience. The opportunity to bring digitally native brands on as a human experience is the best of both worlds. With technology like Uptok, digital native brands finally have the piece they were missing in order to offer an entirely human first experience.