From “Add to Cart” to “Proceed to Checkout”: How D2C Brands are Diversifying Consumer Experience
From “Add to Cart” to “Proceed to Checkout”: How D2C Brands are Diversifying Consumer Experience

With the country recovering from the pandemic, the retail industry has resumed its growth trajectory. According to a BCG-RAI report titled “Racing towards the next wave of retail in India”, the industry is likely to witness 10 percent annual growth to reach around $2 million by 2032. The huge market creates a vast opportunity for brands based on how they respond to the pent-up demand and needs of consumers.

The pandemic changed consumer behavior all over the world. Suddenly, convenience, health, safety, security, and hygiene become the major purchase drivers. With consumers taking the digital route, there is a huge opportunity for Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) brands to fulfill their needs effectively. These brands took a few months to adopt the technology tools, which they would have otherwise taken years.

What is Driving the D2C Adoption?

The trailing effects of the pandemic have augmented the shift toward digital platforms. These D2C brands give consumers an easier and more convenient personalized experience. However, the transition is not nascent. Some FMCG players have been utilizing the channel for years.

The D2C model comes with several benefits, such as brand values, convenience, ease of use, and a feeling of community. According to Google India’s report, there has been up to 80 percent growth in customers searching for a brand’s official store. The changing consumer behavior is one of the top reasons for brands to adopt the D2C model.

Over the next five years, the Indian retail market is primed to reach approximately 300 million to 350 million shoppers. To respond to the growing demand and changing consumer habits, companies need to evaluate their resources, analyze their business model and see the fitment that suits their requirement. There is a need to modify and adapt to the D2C model for long-term sustainability in this ever-changing dynamic environment.

D2C Brands Elevate the Customer Experience

Keeping the customer happy is key to the success of any business. After all, the customer is god. In the digital space, there are often challenges since the mode of communication is internet-based only. As a result, brands must pay attention to the customers’ journey and make it as convenient and seamless as possible.

The D2C business model looks appealing. However, it comes with its set of obstacles - customer experience being the toughest. It is crucial to not only focus on scalability and revenue and incorporate new capabilities to deliver a smooth customer journey.

Deeper Impact on Product Innovation

D2C players engage with the customers directly, which aids in personalization. Using customer feedback, brands must merchandise good products, analyze the right price points, and manage demand. In the absence of middlemen and third-party suppliers, these players utilize an innovative marketing strategy to enter the market directly. There are no barriers between the producer and the consumer, allowing businesses to control their reputation, marketing, and sales tactics.

Convert Visitors to Loyalists

The need to focus on customer acquisition has been repeated innumerable times now. Brands know the significance of marketing, ads, and campaigns, but how can they stand out from the crowd? While it is vital to acquire new customers, focusing on the old ones is also necessary.

Keep a personal relationship with the customers. Send them good wishes on special days or offer discounts and surprise gifts. The D2C model focuses on building a personal connection with customers using digital channels and tools.

Customized Financial Support and Options

Digital payment models are becoming hugely popular. Brands must make efforts to simplify transactions and provide multiple payment methods at checkout. Allow customers to use different cards, UPIs, and wallets.

One of the recent trends on the rise in the industry includes deferred payments, also known as ‘buy now, pay later.’ Smooth transactions can be a make or break for the customers.

Social Media Should be your Best Friend

Social media is an essential tool. Brands can get confused with the many choices available to them - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and many more. Instead of attempting to craft a strategy for all the platforms, marketers must focus on what their capability allows them to do.

Use these channels to identify your target audience and engage with them. Moreover, stay updated about new launches and products. Prepare a strategy with the right channel and the right content strategy. Influencer marketing has gained immense popularity, and social media is a great tool for marketing. 

Data is your Biggest Asset

One of the prime advantages of digital channels is the availability of data. The need for guesswork is over. Engagement rate, reach, impressions and other statistics are easily available, allowing one to plan their strategy accordingly. A brand must use this data to its advantage.

Due to an abundance of data, some challenges can persist. Brands should filter this data to get a clear idea of their custom journey across different platforms.

The Bottom Line

There are countless D2C success stories in India, and this, coupled with the impact of the pandemic, has made investors show extensive support for useful, agile, and innovative D2C brands. With fewer barriers to entry, D2C start-ups can deliver higher margins while maintaining greater control. D2C brands have the advantage of ruling the entire value chain, from product creation to sale and delivery. A majority of these brands emerged digitally and innately knew how to communicate with the digital consumer, from their marketing to how transactions take place.

A direct-to-consumer brand is responsible for its customer service, and that’s the segment where both risk and potential lie. Purpose-driven brands that can build relevant, personalized, and connected experiences to fulfill the needs and wants of the new India will emerge as the winners, racing to the top.

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