Funding Galore in the D2C Sector
Funding Galore in the D2C Sector

Consumer searches for a brand’s official online store have seen a growth up to 80 percent as consumers in the new normal are on the lookout for the authenticity factor since many are giving a skip to the touch-and-feel element of shopping. This further means that the growth of brands that cater directly to consumers referred to as D2C brands has been more remarkable vis-à-vis the brands that rely solely on major e-commerce marketplaces. 

This boom in the D2C space has not gone unnoticed, for many D2C startups which recently raised major funding from the market. Here we are enlisting a few of those D2C startups that recently grabbed headlines for their funding news:-
 
Join Ventures

The latest to join the list is Join Ventures, which owns as well as operates a number of D2C digital-first brands across different segments like home, fashion, food, etc. The company has raised Series A funding of nearly $10 million from Rajiv Dadlani Group, DSG Consumer Partners, Venture Catalysts, and 9Unicorns. As per the company, the proceeds of the funding would be utilized for expanding dark stores network, enhancing technology as well as logistics and scaling. The brand already has a presence across 25 locations across India and Singapore.
 
DailyObjects

A lifestyle D2C brand that is driven completely by design, DailyObjects, recently raised $2 million in funding from Root Ventures, which is a collective of entrepreneurs. DailyObjects is a contemporary home-grown brand that constantly adapts to the modern needs of consumers, especially millennials. The brand offers a wide range of products such as phone cases, remote cases, drinkware, bags, wallets, and a host of other lifestyle accessories. The company was founded in 2012 and has since then introduced the widest variety of accessories. The design-obsessed brand says that it would use the funding to build a stronger design team along with a flawless customer experience.
 
Mother Sparsh

The Indian baby and mother care brand, which has registered a promising growth in the D2C space over the past two years, recently raised funding from diversified conglomerate ITC Ltd. The brand founded in 2016 has grown significantly in the premium Ayurvedic personal care segment and is currently eyeing to enter the 100 crore club in FY 23. If reports are to be believed, the company might soon be going for another round of funds this year. Apart from comprising Ayurvedic herbs and natural ingredients, Mother Sparsh product range focuses on healing properties.
 
GIVA

GIVA, which is a Bengaluru-based jewelry startup, is another name in the D2C space that has of late been making a lot of right noise. The company recently raised $10 million in a Series A round from A91 Partners and Sixth Sense Venture, among others. Founded nearly three years ago, the brand’s product portfolio includes 18K gold, rose gold, silver as well as oxidized silver jewelry, often decorated with colored stones such as pearl, zircon, etc. The brand has confirmed that it would use the funding to expand its digital presence and develop better products.

READ MORE: Which D2C Brand is Going to be the Next Unicorn in 2022?

 
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Flipkart Grocery Rockets: 1.6X Growth, 50 pc EV Deliveries, and Tier II+ Domination
Flipkart Grocery Rockets: 1.6X Growth, 50 pc EV Deliveries, and Tier II+ Domination
 

Flipkart Grocery, the e-commerce giant's foray into the essential commodities sector, has marked a remarkable 1.6X year-on-year growth. This stride underscores Flipkart's steadfast commitment to offering a seamless online shopping experience, particularly in Tier II+ cities. With an expansive reach covering over 200 cities, including emerging urban centers like Anantapur, Berhampore, and Gorakhpur, Flipkart is not just meeting but exceeding customer expectations.

Flipkart

Driving Growth Amidst Consumer-Centric Strategies

The exponential growth of Flipkart Grocery can be attributed to its unwavering focus on providing value and convenience to customers. By offering fresh produce at competitive prices and ensuring transparency through detailed product information, Flipkart has earned the trust of consumers nationwide. This commitment resonates strongly in Tier 2+ cities where affordability is paramount, fueling Flipkart Grocery's expansion into previously untapped markets.

Flipkart's success story in the grocery segment is not limited to essential staples like oil and atta. The platform has also witnessed significant traction in FMCG favorites such as tea, coffee, and personal care items. Moreover, the surge extends to non-essential categories, with premium segments like liquid detergents and energy drinks experiencing notable growth. This diverse product portfolio caters to the varied needs and preferences of Flipkart's discerning customer base.

Flipkart

Scaling Up to Meet Growing Demand

To keep pace with escalating demand, Flipkart has strategically expanded its grocery supply chain infrastructure. The launch of 16 fulfillment centers across key locations ensures efficient order fulfillment and timely deliveries. These centers, equipped with advanced technology and sprawling over 9 lakh square feet collectively, underscore Flipkart's commitment to building a robust and resilient supply chain network.

At the heart of Flipkart's success lies its commitment to technological innovation. Through voice-enabled shopping, zero-interest credit, and open-box delivery, Flipkart continues to raise the bar in enhancing the customer shopping experience. Leveraging data insights, the platform optimizes pricing strategies, enhances delivery efficiency, and ensures real-time monitoring, setting new benchmarks in e-commerce excellence.

Driving Change through Environmentally Responsible Practices

Flipkart's commitment to sustainability goes beyond business metrics. By embracing electric vehicles for over 50 percent of grocery deliveries, Flipkart is spearheading eco-friendly practices in the e-commerce space. With a staggering 140 percent year-on-year growth in EV adoption, Flipkart is not just delivering groceries but also contributing to a greener future. This initiative, spanning across states, underscores Flipkart's dedication to environmental stewardship.

Flipkart

Hari Kumar G, Vice President, Head of Grocery, Flipkart, said, “Flipkart's growth in the grocery category reflects our unwavering commitment to building innovation and customer-centricity for emerging categories while offering the right value to consumers for their everyday grocery needs. As we expand our footprint and enhance our service offerings, we remain dedicated to delivering unparalleled convenience to millions of customers across India.

At Flipkart, we are determined to set new standards in the digital grocery landscape, ensuring that Flipkart continues to be the preferred choice for customers, and we stay focused on making e-grocery accessible to all customers nationwide. With a dynamic team and a customer-first approach, we are poised to revolutionise how India shops for groceries online.”

 

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Revolutionizing Fashion Retail: Integrating D2C and E-commerce Strategies with Technological Innovations
Revolutionizing Fashion Retail: Integrating D2C and E-commerce Strategies with Technological Innovations
 

India is gradually realizing its potential as a key player in the global economy, driven significantly by the increasing purchasing power of its citizens. This economic shift is mirrored in the dynamic realm of fashion retail, where the fusion of Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) and e-commerce strategies has become a pivotal turning point for the industry. As consumer behavior evolves and digitalization reshapes the industry landscape, fashion brands are compelled to harness technological innovations to thrive and navigate the complexities of today's market effectively.

At the core of successful fashion retail lies a customer-centric approach. Leveraging technology enables brands to gain invaluable insights into customer preferences, behaviors, and purchasing patterns. According to a report, generative AI could potentially add between $150 and $275 billion dollars to the fashion industry over the next five years. By utilizing data analytics and AI-driven tools, retailers can personalize marketing strategies, recommend tailored products, and anticipate future demands, thereby fostering stronger customer relationships and enhancing loyalty.

The concept of customer-centricity is also driven by current market expectations, where consumers demand a seamless shopping experience across multiple channels. Fashion brands must dismantle the barriers between D2C storefronts, e-commerce platforms, mobile apps, social media channels, and brick-and-mortar stores to provide a cohesive omnichannel experience. Technologies such as RFID tagging, QR codes, and mobile payment systems streamline transactions, facilitating cross-channel integration and ensuring a frictionless journey from browsing to purchase.

By implementing advanced inventory tracking systems and demand forecasting algorithms, fashion retailers can maintain real-time visibility into stock levels across D2C and e-commerce channels. This enables them to minimize stockouts, prevent overstocking, and optimize assortment planning, ultimately improving order fulfillment and reducing carrying costs.

Another pivotal reason for the rise of D2C and e-commerce strategies is the increasing influence of social media platforms as shopping channels. This presents a golden opportunity for fashion brands to engage with consumers in innovative ways. AI-powered social listening tools further enhance this strategy by enabling brands to monitor trends, identify brand advocates, and personalize marketing campaigns to resonate with target audiences.

Innovation is the lifeblood of the fashion industry, where trends evolve rapidly and consumer preferences shift unpredictably. To stay ahead of the curve, fashion retailers must foster a culture of innovation and experimentation. Investing in emerging technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual fitting rooms, and blockchain can differentiate brands, enhance customer engagement, and unlock new revenue streams. Embracing a mindset of continuous learning and adaptation enables retailers to navigate uncertainties with agility and resilience.

The convergence of Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) and e-commerce strategies with technological advancements has reshaped the fashion retail industry. Those who adopt these transformative strategies will not only secure their market position but also forge deeper connections with consumers, ensuring sustained success in the ever-evolving realm of fashion retail.

 

Authored By

Sidhant Keshwani, Founder & CEO, Libas

Sidhant Keshwani, Founder & CEO, Libas

Sidhant Keshwani took the reins of his family-owned brand, Libas as CEO back in 2013 and started the company with a turnover of 4 crores. Having earned a one-year diploma from the Indian School of Business and Finance, an associate partner of the London School of Economics, Sidhant completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University Of Manchester, England. He always wanted to enter the e-commerce industry, hence, he introduced his family-owned business to the online space and Libas started retailing through its website. Sidhant’s vision and leadership enabled a massive growth of 100 percent Y-O-Y, thereby resulting in a revenue of Rs 600 crore in 8 years. At Libas, he spearheads design, marketing, product, and communication. He is also responsible for setting up sales and distribution, sourcing, and manufacturing processes. 

 

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The Power of Physical Stores in a Digital Age: Building Trust and Enhancing Customer Experience
The Power of Physical Stores in a Digital Age: Building Trust and Enhancing Customer Experience
 

In today's rapidly evolving retail landscape, the rise of direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands has transformed the way businesses connect with consumers. While online sales remain a cornerstone of D2C's success, the integration of physical storefronts is becoming increasingly vital for creating memorable customer experiences and driving business growth.

The Importance of In-Store Experiences

DTC brands recognize that delivering exceptional shopping experiences across all channels is key to engaging customers and fostering loyalty. Physical stores serve as shoppable billboards, allowing brands to showcase their products and connect with consumers on a personal level. These storefronts act as showrooms where customers can try on clothes, interact with products, and receive personalized assistance from knowledgeable staff. Such immersive experiences not only promote longer sessions with store employees but also drive consumer involvement and increase sales, both online and offline.

The Role of Data in Customization

Beyond providing tangible shopping experiences, physical stores offer D2C brands access to valuable first-party consumer data., These stores enable brands to collect actionable insights directly from customers, allowing for a more personalized experience. This data-driven approach enhances customer engagement, facilitates product customization, and ultimately drives business success.

Trust-Building Through Physical Presence

In the post-COVID-19 era, online shopping has surged, particularly in India. However, physical stores remain essential for building trust and credibility among consumers. Physical interactions with products, immediate assistance from friendly staff, and opportunities for social engagement create a unique shopping environment that online channels cannot replicate. This tangible atmosphere not only enhances the shopping experience but also reinforces brand identity, values, and personality.

Supply Chain Efficiency and Community Engagement

Moreover, physical stores offer logistical advantages by serving as warehouses and fulfillment centers, known as "dark stores." This integrated approach streamlines inventory management, reduces logistics costs, and expands brand reach across larger geographies. Additionally, physical stores foster community engagement through local events and activities, strengthening brand loyalty and building long-term relationships with customers.

In conclusion, the integration of physical stores into DTC business models is crucial for driving customer engagement, enhancing brand visibility, and building trust in an increasingly digital world. By combining the convenience of online shopping with the personalized experiences, immediate gratification, and social interactions offered by physical stores, DTC brands can create a holistic shopping journey that resonates with consumers on multiple levels. As consumer expectations continue to evolve, adopting a multi-channel retail strategy that prioritizes both online and offline experiences will be key to sustaining growth and remaining competitive in the marketplace.

 

-Authored By Raghav Pawar And Amar Pawar Co-founders of Powerlook Men’s Fashion

 

 

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Building a Successful D2C E- commerce Brand: Strategies for Growth
Building a Successful D2C E- commerce Brand: Strategies for Growth
 

India has witnessed a remarkable surge in internet and smartphone penetration, with expectations of a billion smartphones by 2026. This digital revolution has propelled the growth of India's e-commerce sector, with projections indicating a sector valuation of $1 trillion by 2030. Among the various segments, Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) e-commerce has emerged as a key player, set to reach $60 billion by FY27, with the number of D2C brands predicted to rise significantly by 2025.

D2C e-commerce stands as a prime opportunity for forward-thinking brands to establish direct connections with their customers. This model involves selling products directly to consumers through a company's own online store, eliminating the need for intermediaries like third-party retailers or wholesalers. Developing D2C e-commerce capabilities empowers companies to engage directly with end-consumers, enabling them to shape brand strategy and drive innovation based on real-time insights from consumers. These insights facilitate a direct response to consumer needs, enhancing both consumer loyalty and the overall lifetime value of the brand. While serving as a long-term defensive strategy in the competitive landscape, D2C also provides immediate advantages, reducing dependence on major e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Flipkart. This approach opens avenues for capturing a more significant share of the expanding online market.

Let us look at some strategies for building a successful D2C e-commerce brand in this dynamic market.

Competing Against Well-Established Brands

When entering the market, D2C brands face the challenge of competing with established players. Offering unique models like direct consumer memberships sets D2C brands apart. By providing convenience and cost savings, D2C brands appeal to consumers who seek alternatives to traditional shopping. Understanding target customers and creating awareness before launching is crucial for success.

Customer Experience as a Priority

Effective use of customer data is pivotal for building trust in the absence of in-person interactions. Implementing a data-driven customization strategy enhances order value, sales potential, and customer lifetime value. D2C brands should focus on creating unique digital experiences, improving customer service, and maximizing repeat orders through personalized interactions.

Content Marketing and Brand Identity

Articulating a brand's purpose is essential for D2C success. Building strong relationships with potential customers requires a well-defined brand identity, especially for brands with limited budgets. Content marketing, integrated into the SEO strategy, helps in brand recognition. User-generated content and influencer assets can be powerful tools to reach the audience and maximize budgets.

Influencers

Leveraging influencers strategically is a wise choice for D2C businesses. Influencers aid in gaining popularity, offering product reviews, and humanizing the brand. Collaborating with nano and micro-influencers proves cost-effective, with increased engagement rates aligned with the D2C audience. Influencer marketing can foster consumer trust, leading to advocacy and prolonged loyalty.

Adapting New Trends Quickly

The post-Covid-19 era has witnessed a surge in online technology use, making it crucial for D2C brands to adapt quickly. Staying attuned to changing digital trends and consumer spending habits is paramount. Utilizing the vast data gathered during the customer journey enables businesses to identify behavioral patterns and offer personalized experiences, differentiating themselves in the market.

In conclusion, successful D2C brand growth hinges on strategic approaches that enhance market reputation and consumer base. Delighting customers with innovative product offerings, personalized communication, and addressing customer needs create a strong foundation for a D2C brand. With well-thought-out marketing techniques, the right software, and a clear roadmap, any online company can rise to become a market-leading D2C brand.

Nischal Kandula, Co-Founder, CURRYiT

Nischal Kandula, Co-Founder, CURRYiT

 

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How Simply Nam's Makeup Removing Towel Became a Skincare Game-Changer!
How Simply Nam's Makeup Removing Towel Became a Skincare Game-Changer!
 

Today, beauty trends evolve at the blink of an eye and preferences vary from person to person, and finding a brand that resonates with diverse audiences can be a challenging task. However, nestled within the bustling streets of India's makeup industry, there exists a gem that has captured the hearts of millions – Simply Nam.

At the helm of the brand is Namrata Soni, a celebrity makeup artist with a roster of clients that boast Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, Rani Mukerji, Athiya Shetty, among many luminaries. With a career spanning over 25 years, Namrata's journey is a testament to her unparalleled talent, passion, and dedication to her craft. From gracing the faces of Bollywood's biggest stars to empowering everyday women with her artistry, her down-to-earth influence knows no bounds. In 2020, Namrata took a significant leap forward by unveiling Simply Nam, a brand that epitomizes her ethos and expertise as a makeup artist. Dedicated to the Indian woman, the brand is a celebration of practicality, affordability, and inclusivity.

Collaborating with co-founder Hanna Stromgren Khan of Bozzil Group, Namrata embarked on a journey fueled by innovation and vision. Hanna, a trailblazer in the world of entrepreneurship, brought her expertise in startup consultancy to the table, laying the groundwork for Simply Nam's ascent to success. The inception of the brand wasn't merely a stroke of serendipity; it was a culmination of shared aspirations and mutual admiration. In a candid conversation, Namrata and Hanna reminisce about the genesis of Simply Nam and the journey that led them to this pivotal moment.

Namrata recalls her early aspirations to venture into entrepreneurship, fueled by a desire to create something uniquely her own. After years of nurturing her craft and establishing herself as a trusted authority in the beauty industry, the time felt ripe to embark on this new endeavor.

"In 2015-16, I wanted to start my own brand and started looking out for people with whom I could collaborate. Before that, I was the brand ambassador for Maybelline, followed by L'Oreal for quite a few years. And I loved being part of the entire story of makeup and the colors that were launching and the formulations that were coming into India," reminisces Namrata.

Hanna's introduction to Namrata came at a serendipitous moment – her wedding in 2019. Entrusting Namrata with her bridal makeup, Hanna found herself immersed in conversations about the untapped potential of Namrata's brand. Recognizing the synergy between their visions, Hanna extended an invitation to collaborate, setting the stage for Simply Nam's inception.

"During the functions where Nam did my hair and makeup, we had these longer conversations about why she hadn't launched her own brand yet being India's leading celebrity makeup artist. It was just a very natural extension of the brand that she had already built for herself to launch her own makeup brand," shares Hanna.

The journey from concept to creation was marked by relentless determination and meticulous planning. Armed with a shared commitment to quality and authenticity, Namrata and Hanna set out to redefine the landscape of Indian beauty. Central to Simply Nam's ethos is a dedication to offering high-quality cosmetics tailored to the diverse needs of Indian consumers. From formulating products suited for varied skin tones to ensuring affordability without compromising on quality, Simply Nam is committed to empowering consumers to look and feel their best.

"Our focus as a brand has always been to offer high-quality cosmetics at affordable prices. Our USP has always been extremely clear – to offer products that are suited for the Indian skin tones and skin types," Hanna emphasizes.

One of Simply Nam's flagship products, the makeup removing towel, exemplifies this commitment to innovation and practicality. Designed to simplify the often tedious process of makeup removal, the towel garnered widespread acclaim for its effectiveness and gentle approach to skincare. "When we launched with this towel, which was the most easy and natural way, and a least harmful way of like, taking care of your skin, it was like a no-brainer for us – it was not just a makeup removing towel, it was a skincare towel," explains Namrata.

As Simply Nam continues to chart new territories, the brand's presence on social media emerges as a cornerstone of its success. Through platforms like Instagram and YouTube, Namrata leverages her expertise to educate and empower consumers, bridging the gap between celebrity artistry and everyday beauty routines.

"What's worked with social media has always been the fact that what you see is what you get. I am not someone who camouflages my skin, my face, my problems, my issues. I talk and say the truth and the way I say it is what matters," shares Namrata.

The success was tangible as the brand sold more than 5000 units of kajal within the first one month of launch in January 2024, and over 20,000 Ultra Matte Liquid Lipstick in the shade Dolly sold since launch!

A unique feature of their ecommerce website is ask a makeup artist. “We offer this service through our website where we have a network of makeup artists that have been trained by Nam to advise customers when they shop – help them pick the right shades based on their skin tones and complexities, even taking into account where they stay and geography,” explains Hanna.

Looking ahead, Simply Nam is poised for continued growth and expansion. With a steadfast focus on harnessing the power of digital platforms and nurturing a vibrant community of beauty enthusiasts, the brand remains committed to redefining beauty standards and empowering women across India.

In a landscape teeming with options, Simply Nam stands as a beacon of authenticity, innovation, and empowerment. With Namrata's unwavering vision and Hanna's entrepreneurial acumen guiding the way, the future of Simply Nam shines bright, promising to leave an indelible mark on India's beauty industry for years to come.

 

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How are Co-Commerce Platforms Enhancing and Transforming the Conventional Retail and E-commerce Industry?
How are Co-Commerce Platforms Enhancing and Transforming the Conventional Retail and E-commerce Industry?
 

Co-commerce platforms are revolutionizing the retail and e-commerce landscape, offering a unique blend of community engagement, personalized experiences, and seamless transactions. Unlike conventional retail and e-commerce models, co-commerce platforms foster a sense of collaboration among consumers, brands, and influencers, driving significant transformations in the industry.

Firstly, co-commerce platforms prioritize community building. Traditional retail focuses on transactions, while e-commerce often lacks the personal touch of physical interactions. In contrast, co-commerce platforms create virtual communities where like-minded individuals converge to share experiences, recommendations, and feedback. These platforms facilitate connections based on shared interests, hobbies, or lifestyles, fostering a sense of belonging and trust among users. By nurturing communities, co-commerce platforms amplify brand advocacy and loyalty, thereby reshaping the customer-brand relationship.

Secondly, co-commerce platforms excel in providing personalized experiences. Unlike brick-and-mortar stores limited by physical space or traditional e-commerce platforms reliant on search algorithms, co-commerce platforms leverage data analytics and AI to deliver tailored recommendations and curated content. By understanding individual preferences, behaviors, and purchasing patterns, these platforms offer hyper-personalized product suggestions, promotions, and content, enhancing user engagement and satisfaction. This personalized approach not only increases conversion rates but also cultivates long-term customer relationships based on relevance and value.

Moreover, co-commerce platforms empower influencers and content creators. Influencers play a pivotal role in shaping consumer preferences and driving purchasing decisions. Co-commerce platforms provide influencers with tools and resources to seamlessly integrate product recommendations, reviews, and endorsements into their content, blurring the lines between advertising and authentic storytelling. Through partnerships with influencers, brands gain access to highly engaged audiences, while influencers monetize their influence through affiliate marketing or sponsored collaborations. This symbiotic relationship amplifies brand visibility, credibility, and reach, fuelling sales growth and brand awareness.

Additionally, co-commerce platforms prioritize user-generated content and social proof.

Traditional retail relies on in-store displays and customer testimonials, while e-commerce platforms feature user reviews and ratings. Co-commerce platforms take this a step further by curating user-generated content, such as photos, videos, and testimonials, and showcasing them prominently across the platform. By leveraging social proof and peer recommendations, co-commerce platforms instil confidence in potential buyers, reduce purchase anxiety, and expedite decision-making. Furthermore, user-generated content fosters authenticity and transparency, strengthening the bond between consumers and brands.

Furthermore, co-commerce platforms facilitate seamless transactions and omnichannel experiences. Conventional retail often struggles with inventory management and limited distribution channels, while e-commerce platforms face challenges with shipping logistics and fulfilment. Co-commerce platforms integrate multiple touchpoints, including online marketplaces, social media channels, and offline stores, into a cohesive ecosystem. This omnichannel approach enables consumers to discover products online, engage with brands on social media, and make purchases through various channels, regardless of location or device.

By streamlining the purchase journey and removing friction points, co-commerce platforms enhance convenience and accessibility, driving higher conversion rates and customer satisfaction. Lastly, co-commerce platforms prioritize sustainability and social responsibility. With growing awareness of environmental issues and ethical concerns, consumers seek brands that align with their values and contribute to positive change. Co-commerce platforms curate eco-friendly and socially responsible brands, highlighting their commitments to sustainability, ethical sourcing, and corporate social responsibility. By promoting conscious consumption and supporting purpose-driven initiatives, co-commerce platforms empower consumers to make informed choices that resonate with their beliefs and aspirations. This emphasis on sustainability not only attracts socially conscious consumers but also encourages brands to adopt more responsible practices, driving industry-wide transformation towards a more sustainable future.

In conclusion, co-commerce platforms are reshaping the retail and e-commerce landscape by prioritizing community engagement, personalization, influencer collaboration, user-generated content, seamless transactions, omnichannel experiences, and sustainability. By embracing these principles, co-commerce platforms enhance consumer engagement, foster brand loyalty, and drive sales growth, ushering in a new era of interconnected and empowered commerce.

Roshan Singh Bisht CEO & Cofounder, Asort

Authored by Roshan Singh Bisht

Roshan is a distinguished figure in the realm of direct selling, boasting a career spanning over 15 years. As the co-founder and CEO of Asort, he has embarked on a remarkable journey, from modest beginnings to the creation of a highly successful First ‘Bharat Made’ Co-Commerce platform. Despite being a first-generation entrepreneur, Roshan's unwavering determination and exceptional business acumen have propelled him to extraordinary heights.

 

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Women-Led D2C Brands Achieve 54x Transaction Growth in 2023 Compared to 2022
Women-Led D2C Brands Achieve 54x Transaction Growth in 2023 Compared to 2022
 

In a testament to their resilience and appeal, women-led Direct-to-Customer (D2C) brands have witnessed a surge in online transactions, posting a 54x growth in 2023 compared to the previous year. This exponential rise underscores the increasing traction of D2C models in India’s burgeoning e-commerce landscape.

Diverse Product Categories on the Rise

Among the diverse array of categories witnessing remarkable growth for women-led D2C brands are beauty and wellness, apparel, artificial jewelry, supplements, and personal care, according to Simpl Checkout Scan. Brands such as Earth Rhythm, Inweave, Trubrowns, and more are leading the charge, catering to evolving consumer preferences with their niche offerings.

Democratizing E-Commerce Across India

While Gen Z and millennials spearhead the demand for D2C products, a notable trend is the significant contribution from non-metro cities. Approximately 65 percent of customers placing orders with women-led D2C brands hail from these smaller cities, mirroring the burgeoning internet commerce trend sweeping across India.

Catalysts Driving Demand

The surge in demand for D2C brands, particularly in segments like beauty, skincare, hygiene, and personal care, can be attributed to a paradigm shift in consumer behavior. Increasingly, consumers are seeking sustainable solutions over quick fixes, fueling the overall industry's growth trajectory.

Projected Market Expansion

According to projections by KPMG, the Indian D2C market is poised to exceed $60 billion by 2027, experiencing a staggering CAGR of 40 percent from approximately $12 billion in 2022. This exponential growth underscores the transformative potential of D2C models in reshaping the retail landscape.

Driving Economic Empowerment

The accelerated growth in business not only benefits the brands but also empowers women-led D2C founders to invest in creating employment opportunities, establishing manufacturing hubs, and expanding warehousing infrastructure across key hubs.

Shveta Narula, Founder and CEO at Inweave, attests to the transformative impact of Simpl’s partnership. Witnessing robust growth in demand for their products, Inweave has experienced a 12 percent increase in conversions, leading to strategic investments in capacity enhancement.

As the trajectory of women-led D2C brands continues to soar, they are not just driving economic growth but also reshaping the narrative of empowerment and entrepreneurship in India’s retail landscape.

 

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Embracing Social Commerce for a New Era of Retail
Embracing Social Commerce for a New Era of Retail
 

In the ever-evolving landscape of commerce, the transition from brick-and-mortar stores to virtual marketplaces has been nothing short of revolutionary. Over the past few decades, the advent of e-commerce has transformed the way we shop, offering unparalleled convenience, variety, and accessibility to consumers worldwide. However, as technology continues to advance and consumer preferences evolve, the traditional e-commerce model is undergoing a paradigm shift, ushering in a new era of retail: social commerce.

The roots of online retail can be traced back to the early days of the internet when pioneering companies like Amazon and eBay paved the way for the revolution in the retail industry. With the rise of e-commerce platforms, consumers gained the ability to browse and purchase products from the comfort of their own homes, transcending geographical barriers and opening up a world of possibilities.

As e-commerce continued to gain momentum, innovations such as mobile shopping and one-click checkout further accelerated the growth of online retail. With the proliferation of smartphones and the widespread availability of high-speed internet, shopping on-the-go became the new norm, allowing consumers to browse and buy products anytime, anywhere.

However, despite the convenience and accessibility of traditional e-commerce, there remained a disconnect between the online shopping experience and the social interactions that occur in physical retail environments. Recognising this gap, forward-thinking brands began to explore new ways to integrate social elements into the online shopping journey, giving rise to the phenomenon known as social commerce.

Social commerce represents the convergence of e-commerce and social media, leveraging the power of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, You-Tube and Pinterest to facilitate and enhance the shopping experience. With the introduction of features such as "buy" buttons and shoppable posts, users can now seamlessly transition from browsing their social feeds to making purchases, all within the same app.

One of the key drivers behind the rise of social commerce is user-generated content (UGC), which has become a powerful tool for brands to leverage in their marketing strategies. By encouraging customers to share their experiences, reviews, and product photos on social media, businesses can create authentic connections with their audience and build trust and credibility in ways that traditional advertising cannot replicate.

Influencer marketing has also played a significant role in the success of social commerce, with brands collaborating with social media influencers to reach new audiences and drive sales through sponsored content and affiliate partnerships. By harnessing the influence and reach of these digital tastemakers, businesses can effectively promote their products in a way that feels genuine and relatable to consumers.

Moreover, interactive experiences have become a cornerstone of social commerce. Brands leverage features such as live streams, Q&A sessions, and polls to engage and entertain their audience. By providing immersive and interactive content, businesses can create a sense of community and excitement that encourages users to actively participate in the shopping experience.

Personalization is another key aspect of social commerce that enhances the shopping journey for consumers. By leveraging data from social media profiles, businesses can deliver targeted product recommendations and advertisements tailored to users' interests and preferences, ultimately enhancing the relevance and effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

Furthermore, content monetization has emerged as a lucrative opportunity in social commerce, allowing creators to capitalize on their influence and creativity by directly generating revenue from their content.

Social commerce represents a new frontier in the world of retail, offering brands unprecedented opportunities to connect with consumers in meaningful and impactful ways. By integrating social elements into the online shopping experience, businesses are creating authentic connections, driving engagements, and ultimately, driving sales in a way that transcends traditional e-commerce.

As we continue to embrace the digital age, the evolution of online retail will undoubtedly be shaped by the innovations and possibilities of social commerce, ushering in a new era of retail for the modern consumer.

 

Authored By

Ashna Ruia, Founder of LehLah

Ashna Ruia, Founder, LehLah

 

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How URturms Bagged a Rs1.2 Cr Deal on Shark Tank India: A Sustainable Fashion Success Story
How URturms Bagged a Rs1.2 Cr Deal on Shark Tank India: A Sustainable Fashion Success Story
 

In an era where sustainability and innovation are becoming paramount in every industry, URturms stands out as a beacon of change in the fashion world. Founded by Surender Singh Rajpurohit, this apparel brand is on a mission to cater to eco-conscious individuals who refuse to compromise on style or sustainability. With a vision that blends cutting-edge technology and eco-friendly practices, URturms has redefined the narrative surrounding fashion, proving that style and sustainability can coexist harmoniously.

Surender Singh Rajpurohit's journey to becoming the owner of URturms is as inspiring as the brand itself. With a background entrenched in the automotive industry, Surender's foray into the world of sustainable fashion began when he became a customer of URturms in 2018. Recognizing the brand's potential to make a significant impact, he made the bold decision to acquire URturms in 2022, infusing it with fresh perspectives and a commitment to excellence.

Innovative Technology Meets Fashion

At the heart of URturms lies its innovative approach to clothing, leveraging advanced hydrophobic technology to create garments that are not only stylish but also practical and durable. From their signature 30-day no-wash denim jeans to AC cool tech shirts and 7-day no-smell socks, URturms' product line embodies the perfect synergy between fashion and technology. By integrating these cutting-edge technologies into their designs, URturms is revolutionizing the way we perceive and interact with our clothing.

 

"Innovation and sustainability are not just buzzwords; they're the driving forces behind meaningful change in the fashion industry," states Surender Singh Rajpurohit

Optimization and Restructuring

Before URturms made its debut on Shark Tank India, Surender embarked on a mission to streamline the brand's operations and optimize its resources for maximum efficiency. With a keen eye for business operations, Surender reduced the number of SKUs, optimized packaging costs, and trimmed the team from 60 to 9 people. These strategic decisions not only helped improve the brand's bottom line but also positioned URturms for exponential growth and success in the future.

Shark Tank India: A Platform for Success

When Surender stepped into the den of investors on Shark Tank India, he presented a compelling case for URturms, seeking Rs 1.2 Crore for a 2 percent equity stake, valuing the company at Rs 60 Crore. Despite facing tough negotiations and intense scrutiny from the sharks, Surender remained steadfast in his vision for the brand, showcasing its impressive growth trajectory and solid unit economics. His passion and determination caught the attention of the sharks, ultimately leading to a lucrative deal for URturms.

Sealing the Deal

After a series of intense negotiations, URturms secured a deal with Azhar Iqubal, who offered Rs 1.2 Crore for a 4 percent equity stake in the company. This landmark moment not only validated URturms' potential but also provided the brand with the necessary resources and expertise to propel it to new heights of success. With Azhar Iqubal's backing and the exposure from Shark Tank India, URturms' net worth soared to Rs 30 Crore post-deal, solidifying its position as a trailblazer in the fashion industry.

Continuing the Journey

Even after its momentous success on Shark Tank India, URturms remains committed to its core values of sustainability, innovation, and style. With a renewed sense of purpose and determination, URturms is poised to continue pushing the boundaries of fashion while staying true to its eco-friendly ethos. As the brand continues to grow and evolve, it serves as an inspiration for both consumers and aspiring entrepreneurs, proving that sustainability and style can go hand in hand.

URturms' journey from eco-conscious ideals to Shark Tank triumph is a testament to the power of innovation, determination, and sustainability in reshaping the fashion industry. As the brand continues to make waves with its groundbreaking designs and eco-friendly practices, it remains a shining example of how fashion can be both stylish and sustainable. With URturms leading the charge, the future of fashion looks brighter than ever before.

 

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Shark Tank India Backs Koparo with Rs 70 Lakh Investment Deal, Fuels Eco-Friendly Cleaning Movement
Shark Tank India Backs Koparo with Rs 70 Lakh Investment Deal, Fuels Eco-Friendly Cleaning Movement
 

Koparo, the digital-first, sustainable home care brand, has made headlines once again, securing a significant investment from 4P Capital Partners and earning a deal on Shark Tank India. With a vision to provide natural and child-safe cleaning solutions, Koparo continues to disrupt the traditional cleaning industry. Let's delve into the journey of Koparo and its recent success on Shark Tank India.

Founded in 2021 by Simran Khara, Koparo emerged with a mission to offer eco-friendly alternatives to conventional cleaning products. Simran, with her background in prestigious firms like McKinsey & Co and Star TV, envisioned a brand that prioritizes sustainability without compromising on effectiveness. Koparo quickly gained traction, catering to the growing demand for plant-based cleaning solutions among conscious consumers.

Riding the Wave of Success

After a successful pre-seed round in November '21 and a significant pre-Series A round in February '23 led by Saama Capital, Koparo's journey reached new heights on Shark Tank India. Securing investments from industry veterans like Aman Gupta, Co-founder of Boat, and Vineeta Singh, Co-founder of Sugar, validated Koparo's disruptive approach in the cleaning industry.

A Deal on Shark Tank India

Koparo's appearance on Shark Tank India Season 3 was nothing short of a triumph. Aman Gupta and Vineeta Singh, renowned entrepreneurs themselves, recognized the potential of Koparo's offerings and decided to back the brand. The Rs 70 lakh investment from Shark Tank India, along with the funding from 4P Capital Partners, further fueled Koparo's mission to revolutionize the cleaning industry.

"Our dream Sharks, Aman Gupta and Vineeta Singh, believed in my vision and decided to jump on board! From sketching ideas over two years ago to standing in front of D2C OGs, the journey has been nothing short of a rollercoaster," stated Simran Khara, Founder, Koparo.

A Sustainable Future Ahead

With the recent funding, Koparo aims to expand its distribution channels both online and offline, reaching out to a broader audience across India. Simran Khara's strategic focus on positive economics and sustainable practices sets Koparo apart in an industry dominated by conventional cleaning brands.

"The cleaning industry has needed a shake-up, and Koparo is here to deliver just that. We believe in the power of eco-friendly, high-quality products that challenge the norm. It's not just about cleaning; it's about a lifestyle that cares for our planet," added Khara.

Gratitude and Determination

Simran Khara expresses her gratitude to the Koparo team, loyal customers, and supporters who have been integral to the brand's success. The journey from inception to securing a deal on Shark Tank India signifies Koparo's commitment to making a difference in the world, one sustainable product at a time.

Khara further emphasised, "To everyone who has been a part of this journey, from our raring-to-go team and to our loyal customers, thank you for being the wind beneath our wings. Your support has fueled our courage to take on giants and make a difference in the world."

Future Vision

As Koparo continues its trajectory of growth, the brand remains steadfast in its mission to offer natural, safe, and effective cleaning solutions to households across the nation. With support from investors like Aman Gupta, Vineeta Singh, and 4P Capital Partners, Koparo is poised to leave a lasting impact on the cleaning industry while championing sustainability.

With its recent success on Shark Tank India, Koparo not only secures investments but also validates its vision of transforming the cleaning industry, one eco-friendly product at a time.

"Here's to Aman, Vineeta, and the entire Koparo community! Let's keep cleaning up the world, one home at a time," added, Simran Khara on Social Media.

 

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The Cinnamon Kitchen Secures Rs 60 Lakh Shark Tank Investment for Guilt-Free Delights
The Cinnamon Kitchen Secures Rs 60 Lakh Shark Tank Investment for Guilt-Free Delights
 

'The Cinnamon Kitchen' isn't your ordinary bakery; it's a haven where passion for wholesome indulgence meets a commitment to organic, plant-based, and gluten-free treats. Founded by Priyasha Saluja, this bakery has garnered attention not only from food enthusiasts but also from Bollywood celebrities like Sonam Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor, and Malaika Arora.

The story of 'The Cinnamon Kitchen' traces back to 2018 when Priyasha Saluja, driven by her personal battle with PCOS since the age of 13, decided to turn her struggles into a passion project. A foodie at heart, she embarked on a journey to share healthy recipes and lifestyle tips on social media, inspiring many along the way.

From Kitchen Creations to Shark Tank Dreams

As Priyasha's passion project gained momentum, so did her ambition to expand 'The Cinnamon Kitchen's' footprint. With a vision to revolutionize guilt-free indulgence, she entered the realm of business reality shows, landing a spot on 'Shark Tank India' season three.

During the intense presentation on Shark Tank, Priyasha showcased her range of treats, including flourless almond butter cookies, fudge, apple crumble cake, and vegan cheese chips, emphasizing their gluten-free and dairy-free nature. Despite initial feedback on packaging and labeling from the Sharks, Priyasha stood firm on her commitment to delivering quality packaged goods.

Sealing the Deal

Facing tough questions on scaling and sales figures, Priyasha demonstrated her resilience and commitment to her brand's growth. With an initial offer from Shark Aman Gupta, co-founder and CMO of BOAT, Priyasha stayed true to her vision, seeking not only investment but also guidance.

With an initial ask of Rs 60 lakh for a two percent equity stake, Priyasha faced a barrage of questions from the Sharks, including queries on scaling, sales figures, and packaging. Despite the challenges, Priyasha stood her ground, showcasing unwavering determination and belief in her brand's potential.

After negotiations, a revised offer of Rs 60 lakh for five percent equity emerged, a testament to Priyasha's resilience and the Sharks' recognition of 'The Cinnamon Kitchen's' promise. With the deal sealed, Priyasha embarked on a new chapter, armed not only with investment but also with invaluable mentorship and guidance from Shark Aman Gupta.

A Bright Future Ahead

For Priyasha, participating in Shark Tank India wasn't just about securing investment; it was about gaining invaluable insights and mentorship to propel 'The Cinnamon Kitchen' towards a promising future. With the support of Shark Aman Gupta and the lessons learned from the Shark Tank experience, Priyasha is poised to continue her journey of redefining guilt-free indulgence.

Reflecting on her journey, Priyasha shares, "Participating in Shark Tank India proved to be a significant turning point for my brand, 'The Cinnamon Kitchen'. Beyond gaining exposure and securing investment, the valuable insights shared by the sharks on optimizing business operations and propelling it to new heights were truly priceless."

She further went ahead to thank the Shark on LinkedIn and added, “Thanks Shark Aman Gupta for believing in us! Feeling blessed to collaborate with you and take The Cinnamon Kitchen to the next level."

With the support of Shark Aman Gupta and the invaluable lessons learned from the Shark Tank experience, 'The Cinnamon Kitchen' is poised for even greater heights. As Priyasha continues to redefine guilt-free indulgence, one delectable treat at a time, she invites us all to savor the sweet taste of success and join her on a journey where passion, purpose, and innovation intertwine.

 

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How Adil Qadri's Fragrant Vision Landed a Rs 1 Cr Deal on Shark Tank India
How Adil Qadri's Fragrant Vision Landed a Rs 1 Cr Deal on Shark Tank India
 

Marking its solid footing in the Indian market, Shark Tank India's third season is currently live and features a compelling blend of entrepreneurial pitches, engaging stories, and successful deal-making, attracting a broad and enthusiastic viewership. The introduction of six new panel members has not only captured the audience's attention but has also elicited positive feedback from both brands and advertisers.

One such entrepreneur who stood apart, challenging the conventional narrative of academic achievements is Mohamadadil Malkani, better known as Adil Qadri, a visionary 29-year-old hailing from Billimora. Despite leaving school in the fifth grade due to health challenges, Adil's entrepreneurial spirit remains as potent as the exquisite fragrances he now produces.

From Health Hurdles to Perfume Prodigy

Adil's narrative unfolds as he introduces the Sharks to a traditional yet innovative approach to using attars, a popular Indian perfume. His journey, rife with obstacles, sees him transition from a software repairer to an SEO expert. Despite facing setbacks despite pursuing multiple courses, Adil stumbled upon a hidden gem – his father's attar business. Recognizing the potential for improvement, he embarked on a mission to elevate the perfumes with enhanced consistency and luxurious packaging.

Proudly declaring himself as the brand's face, Adil underscores his evolution from a struggling entrepreneur to the mastermind behind a burgeoning perfume empire. His business proudly boasts processing an impressive 10 lakh orders, averaging 3,000 per day.

The Shark Tank Pitch: Fragrant Aspirations

Adil's pitch takes an intriguing turn as he seeks Rs 1 crore for a mere 0.5 percent equity in his thriving perfume venture. The Sharks, captivated by the unique attar approach, delve into the valuation, prompting Namita to inquire about the secret behind the Rs 300 crore evaluation.

The banter among the Sharks ensues, with Amit playfully teasing Namita about her math skills. The confusion over the ask amount, coupled with the revelation of a Rs 6 crore debt, sparks disagreement among the Sharks. Anupam takes a step back, emphasizing the need for a solid business foundation before seeking expansion.

The Sweet Scent of Success: Inking the Deal

Amid conflicting opinions, Vineeta Singh, the co-founder and CEO of SUGAR Cosmetics, extends a conditional offer – Rs 1 crore for 1 percent equity and an additional 1 percent royalty until Rs 1 crore is recouped. Recognizing the strategic value of the offer, Adil graciously accepts.

In the aftermath, Adil expresses his gratitude, stating, "I extend my heartfelt thanks to Shark Vineeta Singh for believing in our vision and mission. Also, my appreciation goes out to everyone who supported us on this journey."

Perfumed Triumph

Adil Qadri's journey, from a school dropout to a Shark Tank success story, embodies the essence of entrepreneurship. His brand, now propelled by the support of Shark Vineeta Singh, is poised to revolutionize the perfume industry, ushering in a new era of attars characterized by longevity and opulent packaging. As the aroma of success lingers, Adil's narrative serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs, proving that resilience, innovation, and a dash of fragrance can concoct an irresistible recipe for success.

 

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Unlocking Potential: ONDC's Impact on D2C Brands
Unlocking Potential: ONDC's Impact on D2C Brands
 

In the swiftly transforming digital commerce landscape, the growth of Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) brands has been nothing short of meteoric, reshaping the dynamics of the Retail Industry. As internet accessibility continues to expand and the middle class grows, India's e-commerce sector has witnessed remarkable growth. Deloitte India's 'Future of Retail' report predicts a significant surge in the online retail sector from $70 billion in 2022 to an estimated $325 billion by 2030. This finds resonance in India’s burgeoning e-commerce sector, where the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) has emerged as a catalyst, presenting a tapestry of both opportunities and challenges for these brands.

At its core, ONDC - a public initiative supported by the government - aspires to engender fair competition and transparent conduct within India’s e-commerce realm. Its cardinal aim revolves around establishing an open, accessible digital commerce ecosystem, particularly nurturing the growth of D2C brands while upholding ethical and equitable business practices.

Factors like convenience in ordering coupled with easy returns, along with an extensive logistics network covering 19,000 pin codes, have been instrumental in the rise of online retail.

India's digitally adept consumer base, with 220 million online shoppers and over 350 million internet users transacting online,  continues to fuel e-commerce growth.

Navigating the ONDC Landscape

ONDC plans to improve e-commerce penetration in India from 8 percent currently to 25 percent within two years, aiming to involve 900 million buyers and 1.2 million sellers on the shared network in the next five years. For D2C brands venturing into the ONDC sphere, compliance stands as a crucial cornerstone. Adhering to the prescribed regulatory guidelines, encompassing data privacy and consumer protection laws, is imperative. Familiarizing oneself with these directives and ensuring strict compliance is a non-negotiable prerequisite. Their target includes achieving a gross merchandise value of $48 billion.

The platform offers a vast canvas for consumer reach, necessitating D2C brands to invest in strategies enhancing discoverability. Employing techniques like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising becomes pivotal in standing out amidst the burgeoning competition. Embracing ONDC’s core values of fairness, competition, and transparency is pivotal. Avoiding unfair practices like price manipulation and fostering a transparent relationship with consumers becomes a blueprint for success.

The direct interaction facilitated by ONDC paves the way for D2C brands to forge robust customer relationships. Investments in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools to manage and nurture these relationships stand as a strategic imperative.

Leveraging the troves of data and analytics provided by ONDC becomes an invaluable asset for D2C brands. Utilizing this data to sculpt informed decisions, be it in product development or marketing strategies, becomes a game-changer in the competitive landscape.

Does ONDC Solve Existing Challenges?

Several hurdles, including infrastructure and financial constraints, have hindered some businesses from fully embracing digital commerce. Despite the widespread use of smart devices and the internet, many brands have had to rely on intermediaries like Amazon and Flipkart to sell their products. However, this is set to change with ONDC revolutionizing this scenario, empowering sellers and altering the existing landscape. ONDC’s creation was geared toward inclusivity, enabling any seller to engage in e-commerce. This initiative seeks to break the dominance of major e-commerce platforms, transitioning from a platform-centric model to an open network. Consequently, brands will gain enhanced visibility and consumer awareness without being reliant solely on specific platforms.

The inclusive nature of ONDC means more choices for consumers during purchases. From small enterprises to large corporations, everyone can participate in this network. This marks a paradigm shift from operator-controlled structures to a seller-driven decentralized approach, potentially reshaping India's digital commerce landscape indefinitely. Through efficient, context-aware search and recommendation algorithms, incorporating proximity, customer ratings, and competitive pricing, Commerce-as-a-Service (CaaS) solutions can empower D2C brands to engage their audience effectively, thereby amplifying sales and brand visibility.

In cognizance of the challenges and opportunities inherent in the ONDC framework, CaaS emerges as a harbinger of effective solutions embedded within this ecosystem. Its alignment with ONDC's ethos of streamlining and democratizing e-commerce in India presents a significant advantage for D2C brands. With advanced search technology elevating the discoverability of D2C brands within the ONDC ecosystem, API CaaS suites may lead the way for seamless integration with the network.

Such integration will act as a catalyst, propelling D2C brands towards navigating the competitive online marketplace with finesse, enriching customer experiences, and capitalizing on the expansive reach facilitated by ONDC.  It stands as a paradigm shift, fostering fairness, competition, and transparency within the e-commerce domain. In the coming decade, significant changes in customer behavior within the merchant ecosystem are anticipated. More customers are likely to satisfy their specific needs through specialized D2C platforms rather than depending solely on broad e-commerce platforms. This shift in dynamics will democratize the market, fostering the emergence of innovative merchants and service providers. D2C brands, aligning themselves with these principles and adapting to the evolving regulatory landscape, are poised not just to succeed but to shape India’s digital commerce landscape responsibly and equitably.

 

About the Author

Mahesh Bhalla, Director, and Nikunj Murukutla, Director, Sales & Operations, Zeitgeist Retail Pvt Ltd (ZEPP) 

Zeitgeist Retail Pvt. Ltd. (ZEPP) 

Mahesh Bhalla is a seasoned business leader with over 25 years of remarkable experience in India's consumer technology and retail landscape. Known for his mentorship, investment acumen, and sharp business insights, Mahesh is an enthused leader with a proven track record of building successful businesses.

Nikunj Murukutla, with nearly two decades of dynamic leadership experience, is a seasoned sales and operations professional. Currently the Director of Sales and operations at Zeitgeist Retail Pvt. Ltd. (ZRPL), Nikunj's journey reflects a wealth of experience and a commitment to excellence. Nikunj's track record at Dell is a testament to his prowess in business transformation and planning. As the Director of Business Transformation and planning for the Asia-Pacific Region, he led initiatives in process improvement and simplification. His strategic foresight extended to building early warning systems, crafting long-term business growth strategies, and executing plans with precision.

 

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An Overview and Growth of the E-commerce Industry in 2023 and What to Expect in 2024
An Overview and Growth of the E-commerce Industry in 2023 and What to Expect in 2024
 

In the vibrant tapestry of India's economic landscape, the past three years have witnessed a metamorphosis in the e-commerce sector, propelled by the unexpected winds of the pandemic. What began as a surge in online transactions during lockdowns has evolved into a nuanced dance between virtual and physical realms, leaving an indelible mark on consumer behavior. As we stand on the cusp of 2024, the Indian e-commerce industry is not just adapting; it is redefining the global narrative.

The meteoric rise of the e-commerce phenomenon is staggering. Estimates indicate that the annual transacting e-retail shopper base in India will soar to an impressive 230–250 million individuals in 2023, with an astonishing addition of over 100 million in the last three years. Bolstered by enhanced digital infrastructure, India rightfully stands as a global e-commerce hub, with the Government of India's Economic Survey projecting a sustained annual growth rate of 18 percent until 2025.

Peering into the crystal ball of Indian e-commerce, the forecasted market value is set to reach $111 billion by 2024, according to a report by Bain & Company. The trajectory points toward an even more staggering $200 billion by 2026, accompanied by an influx of 80 million additional users by 2025. The B2B sector, too, is flexing its muscles, eyeing a market value of a whopping 200 billion dollars by 2030.

Delving into the dynamics of user demographics, a fascinating shift is unfolding. The once-centralized hub of e-commerce enthusiasts in major cities is witnessing a diffusion. Tier II and Tier III cities are becoming hotbeds for startup activity, fueled by increased venture capital availability and a burgeoning talent pool. The ripple effect of this trend is expected to resonate well into 2024, fostering a more inclusive startup ecosystem.

The rapid ascent of India's e-commerce sector is not without its supporting pillars. The digitisation wave that swept through Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) during the pandemic, with over 60 percent upgrading their digital landscape, has been a pivotal force. Moreover, the statistic of 82 percent of Kirana stores adopting new digital tools further underscores the industry's resilience. India's position as the global leader in mobile data consumption, averaging around 12 GB per month, has acted as a turbocharger, propelling the industry into uncharted territories.

Amidst this whirlwind of growth, a new narrative is emerging in the e-commerce space – one that revolves around health and wellness. Giants like Unilever and ITC are strategically investing in startups like What’s Up Wellness & Yoga Bar, fueling a boom in the e-commerce landscape. In this digital realm, products like whey protein are leading the way, inherently suited for online shopping convenience. Because who wants to lug around heavy jars from a store when you can have them delivered to your door with a few clicks? This shift is changing how we approach health and wellness, making it more convenient and accessible through online shopping.

Ranking third globally with an impressive lineup of 16 e-commerce unicorns, India's prowess in this thriving e-commerce ecosystem has not only set benchmarks but has also magnetized substantial investments, witnessing a staggering $15.4 billion pouring in during 2022. As we peer into the future, the outlook for India's e-commerce in 2024 appears robust and unwavering. This captivating narrative is underlined by the infusion of advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, into the e-commerce landscape. These innovations, far from being mere markers of progress, are potent catalysts that will sustain the upward trajectory of e-commerce in India. With cutting-edge technologies at its helm, the sector is poised not only to meet the demands of an evolving market but to redefine the very contours of e-commerce, promising a future where innovation and endurance propel India into a leading position on the global stage.

Avni

Anvi Shah, Founder and CEO, HyugaLife

Anvi Shah, the founder and CEO of HyugaLife, India's largest health and wellness  e-retailer platform, boasts a wealth of experience in the e-commerce arena, having  previously worked with conglomerates such as Amazon and Unilever. She is at the  forefront of her venture, driving Category and Marketing, ensuring that HyugaLife  continues to thrive and expand in the ever-evolving world of health and wellness. Anvi is deeply committed to realizing HyugaLife's vision of building a health-  conscious generation for India.

 

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2023: The Year D2C Giants Went Offline in India
2023: The Year D2C Giants Went Offline in India
 

Bucking the trend of relentless online expansion, 2023 emerged as the year when India’s leading digital-first retail players opted for a strategic recalibration. The likes of BigBasket, Lenskart, TataCliq, Zivame, Nykaa, and MamaEarth have redirected their efforts towards offline channels in a significant departure from their established digital dominance.

Building Bridges Beyond Screens

The online retail boom in India has been fueled by the increase of smartphone penetration, rising disposable incomes and the low prices of data. It is currently the second largest internet market in the world with over 800 million users.

However, 800 million is just a fraction of the 1.4 billion population that resides in the country. While online growth isn’t going anywhere, digital retail giants are realizing that exclusively existing online won’t be enough to achieve their desired business expansion.

Tata Group-owned BigBasket, for instance, shifted gears this year into brick-and-mortar operations. The platform successfully secured its position as the largest online grocery provider in India by attracting early adopters seeking the convenience of online shopping. However, online grocery sales only represent only 1.5 percent of the country's overall grocery market, leaving ample room for growth offline.

BigBasket recently established its first full-fledged supermarket in Hyderabad. Plans are underway to launch storefronts in 450 additional locations as part of a strategic initiative outlined by the company's co-founder and chief marketing officer, Vipul Parekh. Their objective is to achieve profitability within the next 6 to 9 months.

Crafting an Offline Identity

Going offline is about more than just setting up a brick-and-mortar establishment. It allows brands to curate personalized experiences that foster a deeper connection between the brand and the consumer. Unlike the one-size-fits-all approach of existing online, physical stores allow D2C brands to tailor to the shopping environment, creating an atmosphere that aligns with brand ethos and resonates with the target audience.

Reliance-owned lingerie brand Zivame chose an omnichannel strategy in FY23 and has become profitable at a unit level this year. According to Zivame’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), offline expansion had a significant role in turning things around for the company. Their offline stores have purposefully steered from an open-design concept in order to provide a safe and covered space for women. Moreover, the in-store staff are extensively trained to comprehend the diverse requirements of shoppers and provide an inclusive experience.

Pivoting from its online-centric playbook to establish a physical presence, Zivame saw 150 percent growth in its revenue as it set up stores in Tier II and Tier III locations.

Moreover, the tangible nature of offline stores addresses a critical aspect of consumer trust. In an era where online transactions sometimes raise concerns about quality and authenticity a physical store becomes a tangible manifestable of the brand’s commitment to quality. Consumers can touch, feel, and experience the products firsthand, alleviating any reservations and building a foundation of trust.

Tales of Transition

The decision to transition from online to offline is often fueled by the realization of the untapped potential in physical retail. A recent NewGrowth Study report ascertained that 90 percent of retailers in India make more than half of their sales offline. And, most of them are planning to open new stores to strengthen their physical presence even further.

The Sleep Company, which started out online five years ago, is now omni-channel and is doubling down on their offline expansion. It plans to open another 100 stores over the next 6 months with a special focus on Tier II and Tier III markets. Despite logging a revenue of Rs 130 crore in FY23, The Sleep Company aims for an ambitious Rs 350 crore in FY24, attributing this growth to enhanced infrastructure, expanded offline operations, and a concerted effort to deepen its footprint in the offline landscape.

Lenskart, the eyewear giant that also started out making its mark in the virtual world, has secured $100 million in funding to expand its offline footprint. The company plans to open more than 500 stores across India by March, primarily in Tier II and Tier III cities.

Even Nykaa, a prominent lifestyle e-tailer, is diversifying its portfolio by planning the opening of 50 new stores nationwide, despite physical retail contributing less than 10 percent to its overall revenue. Falguni Nayar, the Executive Chairperson, MD, and CEO of Nykaa, emphasized the robust demand for beauty in both general and modern trade, motivating the brand to explore opportunities for growth in the offline space.

Honasa Consumer, the owner of Mamaearth and a recent entrant into the public domain, has also displayed a heightened aggression in its offline store strategy. In the past year-and-a-half to two years, the company has launched an impressive 85 exclusive Mamaearth outlets across cities, significantly expanding its distribution reach to encompass over 150,000 outlets. This strategic move underscores the brand's commitment to diversifying its market presence and ensuring accessibility for its products on a widespread scale.

Navigating Uncharted Territory

Online ecommerce biggies as well as global retail giants elbowing each other for the top spot in India. With colossal investments, such as a staggering $16 billion acquisition of India's largest ecommerce company and the establishment of brick-and-mortar stores strategically positioned to enhance customer proximity – industry leaders are exploring every conceivable permutation and combination to secure their foothold in the offline space and drive substantial growth.

In this competitive landscape, digitally native brands, particularly early and growth stage startups lacking the financial backing of big name conglomerates, are turning to technology to navigate the challenges of offline expansion. While they possess sales data offering insights into the locations of existing customers, this information only scratches the surface of their potential market reach. Leveraging technology, brands like Lenskart – Asia’s largest omni-channel retailer – are identifying similar areas to uncover untapped markets where demand has yet to be harnessed.

Location data when meticulously analyzed and pushed through ML models can help businesses decode customer attributes in different locations. Their spending habits, purchase patterns, affluence levels, and other behavioral insights can be drawn from this data. For brands venturing offline, understanding where these customers shop becomes pivotal, guiding strategic decisions on optimal locations such as streets or malls for potential investments

The efficacy of location intelligence is amplified by the integration of machine learning (ML) to develop predictive models. This approach enables businesses to shift from reactive strategies to proactive planning. These models unearth hidden patterns within data, aiding brands in identifying high-potential markets, prioritizing them based on fit, and estimating anticipated revenues.

Beyond immediate advantages, predictive modeling provides invaluable foresight into shifting market trends, evolving consumer behaviors, and changes in competitive dynamics. This foresight not only reduces the risks associated with offline expansion but also safeguards profit margins in an ever-evolving retail landscape.

Overall, 2023 stands out as the year when India's digital retail giants strategically ventured offline, recognizing the limitations of exclusive online existence. From Lenskart to Zivame, brands sought to curate tangible connections with consumers through brick-and-mortar establishments. As the industry pioneers this significant shift, technology emerges as a crucial ally, with AI and ML guiding brands in their offline expansion endeavors. The stories of transition underscore the multifaceted approach needed for success in the evolving retail landscape.

Ankita Thakur, Co Founder & Chief Data Officer, GEO IQ

 Ankita Thakur, Co Founder & Chief Data Officer, GeoIQ
 

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Consumer Trust & Engagement Plays a Pivotal Role in D2C Brands Growth
Consumer Trust & Engagement Plays a Pivotal Role in D2C Brands Growth
 

In 2020, a vibrant shift unfolded as the world collectively hit the "pause" button. Faced with unexpected circumstances, consumers across the nation embraced the harmonious convenience of online shopping. In between this chaos, center stage is bathed in a new spotlight, and the show's stars are none other than Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) brands.

As we revel in this avant-garde dance, the D2C market emerges as more than a trend—it's a dazzling evolution, set to have a $60 billion market by 2027. This phenomenon is majorly attributed to the D2C emphasis on fostering customer engagement and trust.

Within the D2C model, sellers wield the ability to establish direct connections with customers, engaging them without the need for intermediaries such as third-party retailers. This model grants sellers control over both the customer experience and brand positioning. Let's explore how D2C brands write their growth script in the e-commerce industry.

Customer Engagement: Essence of D2C Success

Online retailers enjoy a built-in advantage of customer loyalty, an angle that D2C brands must actively cultivate. In D2C branding, customers play the pivotal role of chief marketers— their word of mouth becomes the primary assurance of a brand's worthiness. Therefore, prioritizing consumer preference is crucial in pursuing product promotion and marketing efforts. So, what can be done?

Tech-driven Personalization

D2C brands gain a significant edge through personalized product offerings. By actively incorporating customized marketing strategies, businesses can cultivate robust customer relationships and instill brand loyalty. AI algorithms play a crucial role in analyzing customer preferences to tailor recommendations and launch targeted marketing campaigns.

For example, AI-powered chatbots understand context and allow businesses to provide accurate resolutions to queries, even accommodating typos or variations in language. Embracing technology also involves leveraging popular platforms like social media to engage specific target audiences.

Premiumization

Companies may lose customers to more adaptable competitors when they fail to align with evolving consumer preferences. Offering premium products at a reduced cost enhances the appeal, drawing in a broader audience. D2C brands achieve this by cutting out intermediaries, allowing them to provide lower prices than traditional retail products. This cost-efficient approach enables brands to expand their reach and have a more competitive market.

Strategies to Achieve Maximum Customer Engagement

Customer engagement through content

Consumers find themselves confined to their homes, and the impact of engagement is notably heightened with relevant content. Using actors, comedians, influencers, and social media platforms can be transformative. Companies are enhancing awareness of supplementary products through digital experiences and relatable content.

Customer review and feedback

User-generated content, including reviews and feedback, is valuable in D2C customer engagement. Leveraging this content strategically can lead to referrals and build customer trust. Encouraging customers to post 'unboxing' videos on social media serves as a statement of engagement and allows potential consumers to review the product in action. Rewarding customers for such contributions can lead to more testimonials and feedback, enhancing overall customer engagement.

Omnichannel Marketing

A crucial aspect of initiating communication with customers on various platforms involves ensuring omnichannel engagement. Customers use multiple channels like WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, or email. Incorporating a digital omnichannel engagement platform enables brands to engage in real-time. This transforms websites and social media into virtual business centers. Additionally, the platform includes a built-in knowledge base and case management for swift resolution of customer queries.

Trusted Shipping Partners

Brands need a robust system for delivering their products to end clients. The focus should be on efficiency, technological advances, cost-effectiveness, and customer satisfaction. The integration of agile operations ensures accelerated development and exceptional eCommerce customer service, while omnichannel services seamlessly connect brands.

In Essence

In the e-commerce industry, the D2C model beckons Indian brands with the promise of not just profits but the chance to build lasting connections with a growing online audience. With an increasing number of online shoppers, D2C brands have the potential for significant revenue and dedicated customer followings.

Success in this digital space hinges on controlling brand identity, delivering exceptional customer experiences, and leveraging valuable insights. In this unfolding narrative of D2C, trust, and engagement emerge as the keys to sustained triumph, turning each click into a connection and transforming success into an ongoing melody of brand commitment.

 

About the Author

Seeza Bhardwaj, Founder of The Green Loom

Seeza Bhardwaj, Founder of The Green Loom 

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Driving Sustainable Growth in the E-commerce Ecosystem
Driving Sustainable Growth in the E-commerce Ecosystem
 

E-commerce has undeniably transformed our shopping experience, offering unparalleled convenience and accessibility at the tap of a screen. Many products are now at our fingertips, from apparel to the latest gadgets and groceries. However, this revolution has environmental challenges, encompassing warehousing, packaging, shipping, and last-mile delivery stages.

In the current business landscape, sustainability transcends being a mere buzzword; it stands as a strategic necessity. In e-commerce, sustainability is critical to enduring success, influencing and shaping various operational facets. To understand how businesses can thrive while positively impacting the environment and society, we must first comprehend critical e-commerce functions and their environmental footprint.

By aligning sustainability with e-commerce practices, businesses can mitigate adverse environmental effects and drive business success and societal benefits. Let us look at the key issues facing the e-commerce sector and the solutions for the problem. 

Fixing the Warehousing Conundrum

Warehouses are fundamental to e-commerce operations and require significant lighting, heating, and cooling energy. Optimizing warehouse design and processes to minimize energy consumption with energy-efficient technologies can mitigate the environmental impact. Additionally, promoting proper inventory management and reducing overstocking can decrease the need for expansive warehouse spaces. 

Product returns create additional waste and emissions. Implementing efficient reverse logistics processes to refurbish, reuse, or recycle returned products can help mitigate environmental impact and reduce waste.

Transitioning to Electric Last-Mile Delivery

Transportation is a significant source of carbon emissions that can be fixed by optimizing shipping routes, using more fuel-efficient vehicles, and considering alternative transportation methods such as electric or hybrid delivery vehicles. Last-mile delivery is often the most challenging and resource-intensive part of the e-commerce sector and involves delivering packages from the distribution centre to the end consumer. 

It has led to multiple government subsidies and policies that incentivize the purchase of EVs for logistics. A NITI Aayog report suggests that India could reduce logistics costs and save ten gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 with a shift to electric mobility.

In last-mile delivery, companies can shift to electric delivery vans, employing route optimization software to reduce travel distances, encourage customer pickup points, or even explore drone or bicycle deliveries for short distances. 

For instance, Flipkart plans to transition its last-mile fleet to electric vehicles by 2030, striving for net-zero emissions by 2040. Similar initiatives will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with last-mile deliveries.

Moreover, micro-fulfillment centres are pivotal in reducing the environmental footprint of e-commerce. These compact facilities located closer to consumers significantly reduce delivery distances, thus curbing carbon emissions associated with transportation. By optimizing last-mile logistics, businesses can achieve quicker deliveries while minimizing environmental impact, showcasing the synergy between efficiency and sustainability.

Consolidation and Route Optimization

Combining deliveries through consolidation is an effective way to optimize transportation. By grouping multiple orders and dispatching them consolidated to a specific area, e-commerce businesses can reduce the number of individual trips, ultimately lowering carbon emissions. Additionally, efficient route planning further reduces environmental impact by minimizing unnecessary travel.

Fixing the Packaging Puzzle 

One of the most significant contributors to environmental degradation in e-commerce is non-biodegradable packaging. In packaging materials, companies must prioritize sustainable solutions, including using recycled materials, minimizing excess packaging, and optimizing package sizes. 

Adopting sustainable packaging can save packaging costs. Sustainable packaging involves using materials that are more efficient, recyclable, biodegradable, or reusable and reduce production costs in the long run, which is beneficial for the environment and a company's bottom line. For instance, using thinner materials without compromising strength can reduce material usage and costs. Moreover, packaging that can be recycled or reused minimizes the need for new raw materials and disposal costs, contributing to cost savings.

Some brands have taken strides in this direction by adopting 100 percent sustainable packaging. More initiatives are also crucial to reduce redundant packaging and encourage reuse to minimize waste. Ethical sourcing enables the sourcing of handmade or locally produced items, supporting artisans, and reducing the carbon footprint associated with extended supply chains and must be an industry standard.

Consumer Willingness to Change Consumption Habits 

A Nielsen report highlights a critical aspect of consumer behavior—73 percent of global consumers are willing to change their consumption habits to reduce their environmental impact. It signifies consumers' growing consciousness and commitment to make more sustainable choices. This awareness drives their willingness to modify their practices for the greater good.

Consumers will likely support and purchase products that align with their values, including sustainability. It encourages businesses to adopt sustainable practices. As enterprises invest in sustainable packaging, consumers are more likely to choose their products. Conversely, as consumers demand sustainable options, businesses are motivated to adopt eco-friendly packaging. It is a win-win solution that drives cost reductions and market competitiveness.

Supplier Collaboration and Sourcing

Collaborating with suppliers prioritizing sustainability and environmentally friendly practices is crucial. E-commerce businesses should work closely with suppliers to ensure sustainable products are sourced and manufactured, promoting a greener supply chain. Moreover, implementing a circular economy approach in e-commerce promotes product durability, reparability, and recycling. Encouraging product reuse and recycling minimizes waste and reduces the need for new production. 

Additionally, e-commerce businesses can explore options for refurbishing or remanufacturing products, extending their usability. Brands can emphasize offering products made from renewable and eco-friendly materials, furthering the adoption of responsible consumption. 

Integrating sustainability into e-commerce practices mitigates adverse environmental effects and can drive business success and societal benefits. 

E-commerce businesses should actively engage with stakeholders, disclose their sustainability efforts, set clear goals, and regularly report progress. 

Embracing eco-friendly practices, optimizing logistics, and promoting responsible consumption can lead to a win-win situation where businesses thrive while positively impacting the environment and society. As consumer awareness continues to grow, sustainability will play an increasingly significant role in shaping the future of e-commerce.

 

About the Author

Dr. Somdutta Singh, Founder and CEO, Assiduus Global Inc.

By Dr. Somdutta Singh, Founder and CEO, Assiduus Global Inc.

 

 

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Top D2C Brands that are Redefining India's Retail Landscape
Top D2C Brands that are Redefining India's Retail Landscape
 

The D2C market in India has witnessed monumental transformation owing to a combination of strategic factors like a burgeoning tech-savvy population, rapid digital transformation, and evolving preferences of millennials, among others. According to global data and business intelligence platform Statista, India's total number of digital shoppers stood at 289 million in 2021, which is anticipated to soar to 378 million by 2025.

Backed by these promising figures, the country is now home to numerous globally acclaimed D2C brands that are leading the segment with their innovative strategies:

Snitch

Top D2C Brands that are Redefining India's Retail Landscape

Established in 2019 by Siddharth Dungarwal, the iconic fast-fashion brand, Snitch has quickly gained recognition as a trailblazing D2C company. Snitch also made headlines by appearing on Shark Tank India Season 2 and being the only brand to secure an  All Shark Deal.

Garnering inspiration from across the globe, Snitch designs clothing for the urban, fashion-forward, modern men. Offering products that align with the latest trends in fast fashion, the brand has carved a unique and unconventional appeal, significantly disrupting the market.

The brand also unveiled its first brick-and-mortar store in July this year in Bengaluru and plans to inaugurate other offline stores in Surat, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Pune. As a part of its unprecedented expansion approach, Snitch aims to unveil about eight offline retail stores this fiscal year.

boAt

Top D2C Brands that are Redefining India's Retail Landscape

Founded in 2016 by Aman Gupta and Sameer Mehta, boAt is a direct-to-consumer brand that has revolutionized India's audio industry. The company specializes in producing a diverse range of audio products, such as earphones, headphones, and speakers, which can be easily purchased from its official website and other e-commerce platforms.

With a strong focus on targeting millennials, the company invests heavily in digital marketing, especially on platforms like Instagram. These innovative measures, coupled with their cost-effective product lineup, have yielded exceptional results for the company, placing them at the forefront of the audio market.

Bombay Shaving Company

Top D2C Brands that are Redefining India's Retail Landscape

Headquartered in Gurgaon, Bombay Shaving Company commenced operations as a men-focused D2C personal care brand and gradually forayed into hair removal and hair care categories. The brand offers an extensive portfolio of products, including shaving regimens, trimmers, beard products, razors for women, wax strips, and hair removal creams.

Bombay Shaving Company distinguishes itself by positioning itself as a luxury brand and is backed by renowned investors, allowing the brand to enjoy a comprehensive reach across the country.

Bewakoof

Top D2C Brands that are Redefining India's Retail Landscape

Bewakoof is an online fashion store founded in 2012 by Prabhkiran Singh and Siddharth Munot in Mumbai. The brand has set new benchmarks in the fashion industry by offering a diverse range of fashion products, including clothing, footwear, stationery, and mobile accessories, all available on its website.

Furthermore, Bewakoof collaborates with iconic global brands such as Marvel, F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Star Wars, Disney, DC, and Looney Tunes to cater to a diverse customer base. Over the years, it has successfully created a significant emotional connection with Indian consumers and is poised for rapid growth in the future.

READ MORE: How Contemporary D2C Brands can Successfully Surf the Visibility Wave

ControlZ 

Top D2C Brands that are Redefining India's Retail Landscape

Founded in 2020 by Yug Bhatia, ControlZ is a game-changer in the smartphone industry. The startup specializes in the component-level renewal of pre-owned devices, providing consumers with an as Good as new experience. Unlike other refurbished devices, ControlZ focuses on renewing both cosmetically and functionally, increasing its life cycle and ultimately reducing the carbon footprint of smartphone manufacturing, which is believed to be over 85-95 percent of a device's annual carbon footprint.

With a commitment to sustainability, ControlZ promotes conscious consumption by making old devices like new ones and reducing the demand for new smartphones. Through their efforts, ControlZ aims to establish new benchmarks in sustainability and change the way the world thinks about smartphone consumption.

 

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{D2C 100} How Berrylush is Growing Beyond Borders and Categories
{D2C 100} How Berrylush is Growing Beyond Borders and Categories
 

Berrylush is a Direct to Consumer (D2C) brand that sells through its own website, and marketplaces like Myntra and Flipkart. Recently, the brand launched 6 physical stores, which have started getting traction. “Currently, we have one COCO store in Noida and 5 FOCO stores in Hyderabad, New Delhi, Rohtak, Surat and Indore,” asserted Alok Paul, Co-Founder and COO, Berrylush.

“We are looking for franchise partners for FOFO model and expand to at least 30 physical stores in the next 2 years,” he added.

Currently, the brand’s sales channel distribution is 7 percent from physical stores, 15 percent from its own website and app, and rest from Myntra and Flipkart. It is targeting a turnover of Rs 150 crore in the next 2 years.

Soon, Berrylush will be expanding to the US and Europe through Amazon Global selling. “We are also planning to sell through our website and mobile app in Australia. We are currently setting up our supply chain for the same,” he noted.

New Launches In-Line

Recently, the brand has launched swimwear, winter wear, knitwear, perfumes and bags. It wants to be a size inclusive brand and in that process has also launched its sub brand Berrylush Curve which is targeting larger sizes.

“We are in the process to launch two sub brands Berrylush BizWear and Berrylush Basics,” concluded Paul.

 

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{D2C 100} Digital Transformation and AI are Zouk's Formula for Operational Efficiency
{D2C 100} Digital Transformation and AI are Zouk's Formula for Operational Efficiency
 

Zouk is a 100 percent PETA-approved cruelty-free bags and accessories brand. It is omnichannel now, selling its products on its own D2C website as well as marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Ajio and Myntra. For offline, the brand participates in exhibitions, flea markets and now also owns a flagship store at Seawoods Mall, Navi Mumbai. “Later this year we will grow be it exclusive brand outlets, or working with traditional players,” said Disha Singh and Pradeep Krishnakumar, Co-Founders, Zouk.

“We will also be expanding into newer channels of distribution and geography. We are planning to expand in the US, Canada and the European market as a few bespoke international orders have already been closed for these geographies,” he further added.

The brand also plans to expand its current collection of bags, wallets, accessories and footwear while also adding newer segments in the coming year.

Embracing Digital Transformation

Zouk stated that the power of technology and AI was enhancing operational efficiency and improving customer experiences. The brand leverages advanced technology to streamline its supply chain, inventory management, and order fulfillment processes. “AI algorithms help us analyze customer preferences and behavior, enabling us to personalize recommendations and offer targeted marketing campaigns. Additionally, we utilize AI-driven chatbots to provide instant support and assistance to our customers, ensuring a seamless shopping experience,” Co-Founders asserted.

 

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{D2C 100} Plum's Rs 400 Crore Success Story: 100,000 Outlets on the Horizon
{D2C 100} Plum's Rs 400 Crore Success Story: 100,000 Outlets on the Horizon
 

Plum is one of India’s fastest growing D2C brands with an annualized revenue run rate of Rs 400 crore. The brand has presence in 350+ cities with over 1,500 assisted outlets, more than 15,000 un-assisted outlets, and 25 functional exclusive brand outlets (EBOs) with plans to scale this up to 50+ in the next year. In addition to this, it is present in close to 45+ online marketplaces, apart from its website.

“We launched our first exclusive brand outlet in Aug 2021 in Mumbai which has rapidly scaled up to the current 25 operational exclusive brand outlets across cities. We plan to expand our presence further expansion in India, aiming to reach over 100,000 outlets in short order,” said Shankar Prasad, Founder and CEO, Plum.

Key D2C Strategies

Over the past year, Plum has had a targeted focus on enhancing customer experience, expanding its digital presence, and building a loyal customer base. It prioritized improving its website to provide a seamless and user-friendly shopping experience. The brand also focused on optimizing the website speed, simplifying the navigation, and streamlining the checkout process.

Additionally, the brand collaborated with influencers and beauty bloggers who aligned with its brand values and target audience. These collaborations involved product reviews, tutorials, and social media promotions. “We are a digital first brand with 60 percent of our revenue coming from the online channels while the remaining 40 percent from offline,” Prasad added.

 

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{D2C 100} How Juicy Chemistry is Aiming for 15 Stores and 250 Touchpoints
{D2C 100} How Juicy Chemistry is Aiming for 15 Stores and 250 Touchpoints
 

Juicy Chemistry initially started off as a digital-first brand in the organic beauty category. In recent years, the brand has opted to pursue an omnichannel approach, working gradually towards building a strong offline presence and increasing its accessibility to its consumers. The brand’s target audience primarily consists of women, aged 18-42, residing in Tier I/metropolitan cities.

In the next two years, Juicy Chemistry is looking to build and strengthen the experiential aspects of its brand. Having launched Color Chemistry, its certified organic high-performance makeup line, it recognizes that consumers would want to get a feel of the products and the colors in person before making a purchase. This has further motivated it to increase its physical presence. Currently, the brand has 6 flagship stores and is planning to open 3 more in the next month. “By the end of the year, we’re planning on taking the number up to 15 (exclusive brand outlets) and be available in 250 touchpoints,” said Pritesh Asher, CEO, Juicy Chemistry.

“Over the next 2 years, our goal is to grow to a 50 crore NRR (Net Revenue Retention), and grow to a GMV of 100 crore in the next 36 months, from the current 40 crore. We’re also looking at export markets of USA and UAE,” he further added.

 

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{D2C 100} How FS Life is Redefining Indian Fashion Retail with a Trio of Brands
{D2C 100} How FS Life is Redefining Indian Fashion Retail with a Trio of Brands
 

FS Life (previously known as FableStreet) was started in 2016 with the aim of building a work wear brand for Indian women. With time, the company has evolved to form a wider western wear brand, with work wear being a part of the overall proposition for Indian women in the age group of 25-45.

Now, FS Life is a house of brands with three labels under its belt - FableStreet (western wear), Pink Fort (modern Indian wear), and March (silver jewelry). “We started Pink Fort and March in 2022, and both brands have had strong starts. Pink Fort, has especially grown at a rapid pace and is already clocking more than Rs 1crore in monthly revenue,” stated Adarsh Sharma, Chief Business Officer, FS Life.

While FS Life is building online first brands, it sees itself as an omnichannel company and will soon be entering offline retail with first store expected to go live in September.

“Our aim is to grow 100-150 percent every year, becoming a Rs 500 crore revenue company in the next 2-3 years. This will be done by strengthening our online strength further and also going aggressive on retail. At the same time, we expect our new brands to pick up quickly and add to the overall company growth,” he concluded.

 

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{D2C 100} How Earth Rhythm is Making D2C Beauty Shopping Easy with User-Friendly Tech
{D2C 100} How Earth Rhythm is Making D2C Beauty Shopping Easy with User-Friendly Tech
 

Incepted in 2020, the first set of products that Earth Rhythm built were shampoo bars – an innovative take on the traditional liquid shampoo, being sold instead in a bar form. Since then, Earth Rhythm has continuously worked with efficacious formulations in innovative constructions. It now has 200+ SKUs across six categories and is currently on a trajectory to expand into more categories. The brand has an inclusive line of products for consumers aged between 25-45 years.

“We plan to further build our portfolio by deepening the makeup category launched in 2022. We reckon a twofold growth over FY 2021-22,” asserted Harini Sivakumar, CEO and Founder, Earth Rhythm.

Brand Presence

As a manufacturer and direct-to-consumer seller, the brand reaches the customer through four touchpoints – Website, Mobile App, Kiosk and E-marketplace. “We are primarily an internet-first brand but we do understand how important it is to give the customer the touch and feel of a product especially meant for the skin and hair. We thus have 10 kiosks across India, including Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, and Delhi,” explained Sivakumar.

The brand has a fully functioning interactive website with state-of-the-art features that have been designed to maximize user experience while minimizing the checkout process. Furthermore, it has a user-friendly mobile app as well that is available on both Android and iOS platforms.

 

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Tapping into the Influencer Marketing Potential in India's Rs 90,000 cr Festive Market
Tapping into the Influencer Marketing Potential in India's Rs 90,000 cr Festive Market
 

As the festive spirit of Diwali permeates the nation, brands discover themselves amidst a thriving market valued at an astounding Rs 90,000 crore, brimming with promising prospects.

Qoruz has unveiled its extensive Diwali 2023 Report, shedding light on the intricate relationship between consumers and influencers. This report offers invaluable insights into how influencer marketing influences brand promotion during the festive season.

Tapping into the Influencer Marketing Potential in India's Rs 90,000 cr Festive Market

Key Highlights

  • Collaboration Trends: Over the past two years, there has been a remarkable 21 percent increase in influencer collaborations, reflecting the strengthening of partnerships between brands and influencers. Brands today allocate over Rs 300 crore for influencer marketing during the festive season.

 

  • Engagement with Influencers: A staggering 80 percent of Diwali shoppers actively engage with influencer-led content, reaffirming influencers' central role in shaping consumer preferences. Influencer marketing is 1.5x effective on millennials as compared to other age groups like boomers and Gen X and Z.
Tapping into the Influencer Marketing Potential in India's Rs 90,000 cr Festive Market
  • Changing Consumer Behaviours: Over the past decade Indian e-commerce has grown by 20x, with a 15x jump in annual transacting user base. This figure spikes during Diwali, with 45 percent of shoppers anticipating increasing their online spending this festive season.

 

  • Geographical Breakup: 50 million e-commerce buyers come from Tier II cities and lower, while the remaining 25 million are from the nation’s metros.

Diwali Influencer Campaigns – A Sector-wise Breakdown

Tapping into the Influencer Marketing Potential in India's Rs 90,000 cr Festive Market

The largest influencer marketing spends sector-wise comes from personal care at 20 percent followed by food & beverage at 16 percent. Despite this, mobile phones have seen the largest growth in spends during Diwali, up 48 percent in 2022 compared to 2021.

  • Food: Food Influencers from Tier II & III cities have outperformed their Tier I counterparts. Nano influencers recorded a remarkable 9.49 percent engagement rate during Diwali 2022.

 

  • Home Décor: Bengaluru emerges as the hub for successful home décor influencer campaigns, with nano influencers boasting an impressive 9.09 percent engagement rate.

 

  • Fashion: Fashion brands experience heightened engagement, particularly through micro and nano influencers. During Diwali 2022, nano influencers achieved an impressive engagement rate of 7.1 percent, surpassing their macro and mega counterparts, whose engagement sat at 1.2 and 1.1 percent respectively.

Emphasizing the significance of this report, Praanesh Bhuvaneswar, Co-Founder and CEO at Qoruz, said, "In the dynamic world of influencers, our Diwali 2023 Report underscores the pivotal role of influencer marketing, especially during the festive season. Influencers are poised to be the next significant evolution in the marketing industry. With their innovative thinking and capacity to influence consumer choices, no brand can overlook the impact of influencers. At Qoruz, we’re proud to lead the way in facilitating these connections."

Marketing Strategies for Brands to Win Diwali

Tapping into the Influencer Marketing Potential in India's Rs 90,000 cr Festive Market

Influencer collaborations have seen a 21 percent increase during Diwali over the last two years. This has culminated in more than 67,000 posts across a network of 22,000 influencers, amassing total engagements of 5.3 million and 3.7 million video views.

  • Influencer-led content not only resonates with consumers but also garners their trust through authenticity.
  • A significant 66 percent of Diwali shoppers make purchasing decisions based on influencer recommendations.
  • User-generated content (UGC) greatly influences 79 percent of purchasing decisions, underscoring the value of authentic customer relationships.
  • Regional language campaigns are effective, as 53 percent of Diwali shoppers prefer content in their regional language, highlighting the importance of linguistic relevance.
  • The maximum impact is achieved through a combination of paid advertisements and influencer campaigns. However, choosing the right influencer for Diwali campaigns is crucial.
Tapping into the Influencer Marketing Potential in India's Rs 90,000 cr Festive Market

"Content marketing through the consumer’s device-agnostic journey will be critical, and in the upcoming festive season, mobile and moment marketing should be a key focus therein. Second, influencers are considered primarily for mid-funnel marketing. However, considering the breakthrough in the creator economy, and related consumer behavior, this festive season brands can explore a full-funnel influencer strategy to maximize ROI," shared Chaaya Baradhwaaj, Founder and Managing Director, BC Web Wise.

Commenting on the importance of choosing the right influencer partners, Sooraj Balakrishnan, Head of Marketing, Acer said, "In the dynamic world of influencers, authenticity stands out. Brands must forge genuine connections, ensuring shared values with influencers. A collective of micro-influencers often resonates more profoundly than a single celebrity, particularly during festive times."

In India's evolving digital landscape, the ongoing rise of online shopping is set to be transformed by influencer marketing, becoming an integral part of the festive shopping experience for years to come.

 

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D2C Brands Illuminate Festive Season with 20 pc Surge in Order Volume
D2C Brands Illuminate Festive Season with 20 pc Surge in Order Volume
 

Over 1000 brands within its network have enjoyed a substantial 20 percent surge in order volume during the early phase of the festive season compared to the previous year. Remarkably, despite this surge in orders, the return-to-origin (RTO) rate for cash-on-delivery (COD) orders has decreased by a remarkable 26 percent.

This report has been released by an eCommerce enabler GoKwik. Chirag Taneja, Co-Founder and CEO of GoKwik commented on the impressive growth in order volumes across various categories in their network. He noted that the upcoming Q4 is poised for even more significant growth, with fashion brands leading the way, closely followed by the beauty and personal care category. Notably, numerous smaller direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands are also participating in this year's festive sale events, capitalizing on the positive consumer sentiment.

The festive season is renowned for boosting sales across diverse categories such as fashion, beauty, personal care, electronics, and more, as consumers eagerly seek their favorite products at attractive discounts. Among these categories, fashion has outshone the rest, recording a substantial 148 percent increase in order volume. Shoppers within the GoKwik network have benefited from a 12.1 percent higher discount rate compared to the previous festive season, resulting in an overall 53.3 percent growth in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV). Prepaid GMV, in particular, saw a twofold increase as a variety of prepaid discounts, rewards, and loyalty points were made available to shoppers. Notably, UPI, India's second most preferred payment method after cash, played a significant role in these prepaid payments.

The states that contributed the most to the upsurge in order volume included Maharashtra, accounting for the majority of these orders (12 percent), followed by Uttar Pradesh (7.8 percent) and Karnataka (7.3 percent).

Cash on delivery (COD) GMV also saw a notable increase of nearly 40 percent, with fashion brands making the most substantial contribution. The preference for COD among Indian shoppers persists, primarily due to trust issues, especially during the festive period when delays in order deliveries are more common due to high demand. Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi, and Gujarat were the top contributors to COD orders.

Chirag emphasized the enthusiasm of shoppers to make the most of the festive season deals offered by eCommerce brands. As the critical phase of the festive season approaches, brands are gearing up to intensify their marketing efforts and expand their business during this period.

According to a customer insights report by Axis My India, 44 percent of shoppers participating in festive sales are expected to spend more than in the previous year. This trend is also evident in the GoKwik network, where the spending limit of shoppers has increased. The average order value for this season has surged by 29.4 percent compared to last year. As more members of Gen Z enter the workforce, this figure is expected to continue rising as the festive season approaches its peak.

In addition, a report from Redseer indicates that smaller eCommerce players in India are actively preparing to compete with larger counterparts during the festive season. They are projected to increase their marketing and advertising expenditures by 75 percent compared to regular periods, underscoring their determination to capture consumer attention and expand their market share. This trend is also evident within the GoKwik network, where smaller eCommerce players have joined forces to provide an enhanced shopping experience and grow during the festive season.

 

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{D2C 100} How Beyoung went from Startup to Rs100 Crore Fashion Empire
{D2C 100} How Beyoung went from Startup to Rs100 Crore Fashion Empire
 

Beyoung, a fashion brand that entered the market in 2018, has quickly established itself as a game-changer in the industry. With a focus on affordability and high-quality fashion wear, Beyoung has attracted a wide customer base across Tier I, II, and III cities in India. The brand has experienced remarkable growth and achieved a turnover of Rs100 crore in the financial year 2022-23.

“We believe that everyone deserves to look and feel good without breaking the bank. Our unique selling proposition lies in our commitment to affordability and user satisfaction. We have built a loyal customer base by offering trendy products at competitive prices, and our journey so far has been a testament to the value we provide,” states Sakshi Soni, Cofounder, Beyoung.

As a forward-thinking brand, Beyoung embraces technology and AI in its operations, leveraging AI algorithms for personalized product recommendations, AI-powered chatbot assistance, data-driven decision-making, and seamless online shopping experiences. By incorporating technology, the brand aims to enhance customer satisfaction and stay at the forefront of the industry.

The journey has been marked by continuous innovation and customer-centric strategies, introducing personalized combos, allowing customers to create their own unique combinations of products.

 

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{D2C 100} How T.A.C is Bridging Ayurveda and the Aspirational Middle Class
{D2C 100} How T.A.C is Bridging Ayurveda and the Aspirational Middle Class
 

T.A.C (The Ayurveda Company) was incorporated in 2021 with a clear vision to tap into the immense opportunity presented by the Ayurvedic market in India. With a focus on the aspirational middle class, T.A.C aims to cater to the rising purchasing power of this segment through comprehensive Ayurvedic solutions.

With a diverse range of products spanning skincare, haircare, body care, makeup and fragrances, sexual wellness, and baby care, T.A.C addresses the common issues faced by a significant population in India. Through an omnichannel approach, T.A.C offers customers the option to purchase products online through their website, while also establishing physical stores to cater to in-person shopping preferences.

Within just 8-9 months since its launch in May 2021, T.A.C has achieved remarkable growth and recognition, securing a seed round of funding from Wipro Consumer Care Ventures and establishing itself as a 100 percent online brand. Subsequently, a Series A round of funding from Sixth Sense Ventures fueled the brand's offline expansion.

The brand's focus on disruptive innovation, strategic hiring, and a 360-degree media outreach strategy further demonstrates its commitment to achieving its business vision. Over the next two years, T.A.C aims to achieve substantial growth, expand its retail footprint, enter international markets, and revolutionize the field of Ayurveda.

 

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{D2C 100} How Nestasia's QR Code Revolution is Elevating Shopping Experience Beyond Shelves
{D2C 100} How Nestasia's QR Code Revolution is Elevating Shopping Experience Beyond Shelves
 

Nestasia, a rapidly growing brand in the retail home décor industry, is making waves with its omnichannel approach. Since its inception in late 2019, the brand has been on a journey to provide a seamless experience to its customers, whether online or offline. "We see offline as a natural extension of our online journey as it provides our customers more touchpoints to interact with the brand and provide valuable feedback," says Anurag Agrawal, Co-founder of Nestasia.

Nestasia's omnichannel strategy includes innovative practices that have proven successful. QR code scanning in-store allows customers to browse collections without the constraints of limited shelf space. Digital screens in-store provide inspiration and engagement through curated content.

With online retail footprint on its own website and leading marketplaces like Amazon, Nykaa, and Flipkart, the brand is also developing its own e-commerce app, further enhancing the online shopping experience.

In terms of physical presence, Nestasia currently has one exclusive store and four multi-brand outlets. These spaces offer a curated selection of products in a well-designed environment, reflecting the brand's commitment to delivering quality and aesthetics.

The brand recognizes the challenges in finding the right solution providers for app development, physical store construction and management, and tech integrations. However, Nestasia remains determined to overcome these challenges and provide a seamless omnichannel experience to its customers.

 

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{D2C 100} How Mamaearth Went from a Baby Care Brand to Building Beauty Empire in 6 Years
{D2C 100} How Mamaearth Went from a Baby Care Brand to Building Beauty Empire in 6 Years
 

Founded by husband-wife duo Ghazal Alagh and Varun Alagh, Mamaearth is Asia’s first brand with Made safe certified products that offer toxin-free; natural baby care, skincare, and hair care products. Driven by innovation and using the best of science and nature, the brand caters to all personal care needs of young, aspirational, and increasingly conscious Indian consumers. In a short span of 6 years, Mamaearth has created a product portfolio of products across haircare, skincare, babycare, cosmetics and fragrances. The products have reached customers across majority of Indian cities servicing 20,000+ pin codes.

An Omnichannel Approach

Mamaearth has transitioned from a primarily online marketing strategy to an omnichannel approach. This shift involved integrating various marketing channels, such as online platforms, social media, mobile apps, and physical stores, to create a cohesive and consistent brand experience across touchpoints.

The brand’s digital-first distribution strategy helps it to launch new products in an efficient manner by enabling it to capture consumer feedback to check for product-market fit at an early stage before scaling them up in a much larger offline environment. Mamaearth actively leverages insights on consumer preference from its DTC platform at a pin-code level to define its offline store expansion and regional prioritization strategies. This data is further leveraged to optimize its merchandising and portfolio rationalization strategies at a micro-market level.

“Our online channels contribute 65 percent of the total business, while the remaining 35 percent is contributed by our offline channels,” said Ghazal Alagh and Varun Alagh, Founders, Mamaearth.

“The adoption of an omnichannel approach has allowed Mamaearth to create a cohesive brand experience, reach customers through various touchpoints, and cater to their evolving preferences. By embracing the omnichannel strategy, Mamaearth has effectively adapted to the changing marketing landscape and positioned itself for sustainable growth,” they further added.

Embracing Tech

AI is the future, and we need to embrace this to help us do our business better, stated the founders. The brand is already using AI in its business, especially content and creatives. It is also experimenting with some tools for business intelligence, and it sees AI bringing in a lot of efficiencies across various functions in the organization. “We are excited to experiment tools across various functions and generative AI is largely built on historical data and bringing in efficiencies,” the founders concluded.

 

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{D2C 100} How SUGAR Cosmetics is Empowering Women Through Makeup
{D2C 100} How SUGAR Cosmetics is Empowering Women Through Makeup
 

"Innovation, inclusivity, and empowering Indian women through makeup have been at the heart of SUGAR Cosmetics since its inception. Our mission is to create world-class makeup products with high-pigmentation that specifically cater to the Indian skin tone," says Kaushik Mukherjee, Co-founder & COO of SUGAR Cosmetics. With a vision of building SUGAR as "fast fashion for the face," the brand has become India's fastest-growing beauty brand, revolutionizing the cosmetics industry and empowering women across the country.

SUGAR Cosmetics was born in 2015 when Vineeta Singh, Co-founder & CEO, joined forces with Kaushik Mukherjee. They identified a significant pain point faced by Indian millennial women – constant re-application of makeup that failed to last throughout the day. Many global brands didn't offer shades designed specifically for Indian women, which affected how the products looked on their skin. SUGAR recognized this gap and launched matte, long-lasting makeup with shades tailored to the Indian market.

What sets SUGAR Cosmetics apart is its exceptional core management team. Vineeta Singh, an alumnus of IIT Madras and IIM Ahmedabad, and Kaushik Mukherjee, an alumnus of BITS Pilani and IIM Ahmedabad, bring a unique blend of business acumen and industry expertise to the table.

To reach a wider audience, SUGAR Cosmetics has embraced an omnichannel distribution model. The brand's products are available through its own website and app, as well as leading eCommerce portals. SUGAR has also established a retail presence in high street stores, exclusive brand outlets, kiosks, and large-format retailers such as Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Central, Health & Glow, and NewU. This comprehensive distribution strategy has positioned SUGAR as one of the top three color cosmetics brands in India.

Looking ahead, SUGAR Cosmetics has ambitious plans for the next two years. The brand aims to enhance its retail marketing, expand its product line, and strengthen its distribution channels, content, and community. SUGAR will focus on building a robust direct-to-consumer base across all platforms while strategically collaborating with like-minded personalities, IPs, and events. By continuing to innovate and educate, SUGAR intends to solidify its position among the top three makeup brands in India and make a significant social impact. Additionally, the brand envisions employing more than 10,000 women and pursuing a public listing.

SUGAR Cosmetics has achieved remarkable milestones in recent years. The brand's products are available in over 40,000 stores, and its app has garnered more than four million downloads. SUGAR boasts a passionate fan base of over five million women on social media, and its funding of $87.5 million, including a $50 million Series D round led by L Catterton, showcases investor confidence in the brand's potential.

With a strong commitment to innovation, inclusivity, and empowering women, SUGAR Cosmetics continues to redefine beauty standards for Indian women. As they write the next chapter of their journey, SUGAR Cosmetics remains dedicated to their vision of providing world-class makeup products that celebrate individuality and inspire confidence.

 

 

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{D2C 100} How The Sleep Company Unlocked the Power of Quality Sleep with SmartGRID
{D2C 100} How The Sleep Company Unlocked the Power of Quality Sleep with SmartGRID
 

Founded in 2019 by Priyanka Salot and Harshil Salot, with their visionary approach and commitment to providing exceptional sleep experiences, The Sleep Company has achieved remarkable success within a short span of time. Offering innovative sleep solutions powered by their patented SmartGRID technology, the brand is transforming the way people rest and rejuvenate.

"Our mission at The Sleep Company is to redefine the sleep experience by delivering unparalleled comfort and support through our revolutionary SmartGRID technology," says Priyanka Salot, Co-Founder, The Sleep Company.

Collaborating with retired DRDO scientist Dr. AK Tripathi, the brand developed the SmartGRID technology, which revolutionizes sleep comfort by adapting to the unique contours of each individual's body. This proprietary technology ensures optimal spinal alignment, pressure relief, and temperature regulation, resulting in truly restful and rejuvenating sleep.

Driven by their commitment to customer satisfaction, The Sleep Company has expanded from a digital-first brand to establishing 32 physical stores within just three years. These stores provide customers with the opportunity to experience the unparalleled comfort of SmartGRID mattresses firsthand.

The Sleep Company's product range extends beyond mattresses, encompassing a wide array of sleep solutions. From chairs and smart recliner beds to sleep accessories, their offerings cater to diverse sleep preferences and needs. The brand's commitment to research and development drives continuous innovation, and they have ambitious plans to venture into furnishings and gaming chairs, ensuring holistic comfort for customers.

With a turnover of Rs 300 crore in just three years and a staggering YoY growth of 400 percent in FY22, The Sleep Company has rapidly captured the market's attention and trust. This success is further bolstered by their total funding of Rs 177 crore, enabling them to invest in cutting-edge technology, expand its operations, and fuel their growth trajectory.

"Our vision for the next 2 years is to establish The Sleep Company as a global leader in the sleep tech industry, redefining the rest and comfort experience for individuals worldwide," adds Salot.

As an omnichannel brand, The Sleep Company seamlessly integrates physical and digital channels to provide a consistent and convenient shopping experience for customers. With 32 physical stores and a strong online presence, they ensure accessibility to their innovative sleep solutions across the nation.

Through their customer-centric approach and emphasis on product quality and innovation, The Sleep Company has achieved remarkable milestones. The brand's commitment to growth and innovation drives their ambitious plans to expand to 100 stores nationwide and establish a global presence.

Priyanka further adds, "Our marketing strategy is driven by our commitment to staying dynamic, relevant, and connected with our customers, spreading awareness about the transformative power of quality sleep."

By staying dynamic and responsive, The Sleep Company continues to connect with their customers and raise awareness about the importance of restful sleep. Moreover, with relentless pursuit of comfort innovation, commitment to customer satisfaction, and visionary leadership, The Sleep Company is poised to redefine the way we rest. By leveraging their proprietary SmartGRID technology and expanding their market presence, the brand is on a mission to revolutionize the sleep industry, one night of rejuvenating sleep at a time.

 

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{D2C 100} How boAt's Digital-First Approach is Changing the Game
{D2C 100} How boAt's Digital-First Approach is Changing the Game
 

boAt is a digital-first consumer products company and one of the largest Indian digital-first brands in terms of revenue from operations. The brand has an attractive offering of wide-ranging, high-quality and aspirational lifestyle-focused consumer products at accessible price points, under its brands. Founded in 2013 and led by its flagship brand “boAt”, the brand has established leading market positions in volume and value terms in India across multiple, high-growth consumer categories such as audio and smartwatch.

Digital-First Approach

Aman believes that the brand’s digital-first approach has conferred upon it a set of competitive advantages over traditional offline-first business models, and serves as a strong enabler towards achieving its vision of disrupting the incumbent industry landscape within product categories it identifies, rapidly building reach and scale, and establishing and maintaining a strong brand in the minds of consumers that can help us garner leading market positions.

Reach and accessibility: The brand believes that its digital-first approach has enabled it to rapidly penetrate its target markets. India’s large and fast-growing e-commerce ecosystem and its enabling infrastructure allows digital-first brands to instantly cater to over 90 percent pin codes across India (Source: RedSeer Report).

Agility and rapid pace of innovation to deliver a compelling value proposition: As per the RedSeer Report, digital-first brands are better positioned to track customer journey and transactional behavior than offline-first legacy brands. The brand believes that this allows it to better understand consumer behavior and derive sharp insights which help it better predict and understand shifts in preferences for its products. “Our digital-first approach provides us with near real time consumer feedback through ratings and reviews, as well as the ability to track our customers’ purchase journey and to engage with them on a continual basis,” explained Gupta.

Width of offering: Its digital-first approach provides it with the ability to launch new products and SKUs at a lower cost and at greater speed as compared to traditional offline channels. As a result, its approach allows it to offer a wide assortment of products as well as build depth across several sub-categories, thereby addressing various nuanced consumer needs.

 

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How Amazon Business is Revolutionizing E-Procurement and Empowering MSMEs in India
How Amazon Business is Revolutionizing E-Procurement and Empowering MSMEs in India
 

In just a few short years, Amazon Business has transformed the landscape of e-procurement in India, becoming a formidable force that empowers businesses across the country. Established in 2017 with 14,000 sellers and a modest product selection, Amazon Business has since evolved into the largest aggregator of GST-enabled products in India, boasting over 190 million products from a network of 1 million+ sellers. This impressive growth has enabled the brand to serve more than 99.5% of pin codes across India, and it's showing no signs of slowing down.

Empowering Tier II and III Cities

One of the remarkable achievements of Amazon Business is its impact on Tier II and III cities. These areas are experiencing a digital transformation, with 65 percent of buying customers and 55 percent of orders now coming from smaller cities. This surge in demand signifies a shift towards online procurement, driven by transparent pricing, access to quantity deals, and enhanced control over expenses.

According to Suchit Subhas, Director, Amazon Business, “In 2023, we will continue to support business customers in their digitization journey via five steps: increasing the range of products available to enable faster growth; improving speed and accuracy of deliveries to reduce the working capital requirements; competitive pricing to improve their profitability; convenience features especially in terms of mobile purchasing; and digital documentation, which will help customers reduce the costs of running the business.”

The Power of Fast Delivery

The platform recognizes that fast delivery is a critical aspect of serving business customers. Prime customer contributions have grown significantly, from 53 percent to 57 percent of sales in the current year, emphasizing the importance of swift and reliable delivery in today's business landscape.

Expanding Product Categories

Amazon Business is not just about laptops and IT accessories anymore. Business customers are now sourcing a broader range of products online, with non-laptops and electronics accounting for 89 percent of demand. Categories such as beauty and personal care, maintenance products, janitorial supplies, and more are experiencing impressive year-on-year growth, providing businesses with greater options for their procurement needs.

The platform has tailored its strategies and initiatives to cater to the unique needs of the Indian market. The platform offers a vast selection of over 190 million GST-enabled products from a massive seller community, along with exclusive savings, bulk discounts, and business-specific deals. Features like Multi-User Accounts, Bill to Ship To, and Credit Extension through Amazon Pay Later provide businesses with convenience, control, and flexibility in their procurement processes.

“In an attempt to improve affordability for our customers and ease their procurement needs, we recently launched Amazon Pay Later. This integration with Amazon Pay Later will extend a virtual line of credit to eligible business customers and help them fulfil their procurement needs with an easy and hassle-free payment experience. Designed in partnership with Axio, the credit offering will enable MSMEs to make business purchases on Amazon Business and pay via instant credit,” Subhas explained.  

Amazon Business remains committed to making procurement as seamless as possible for its customers. With a keen focus on understanding the specific needs of businesses, the platform is continually introducing innovative solutions. One such innovation is the extension of credit, aimed at providing MSMEs with a secure and hassle-free experience when procuring essential business supplies on Amazon Business.

 

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How Paree Sanitary Pads is Leading the Feminine Hygiene Revolution in India
How Paree Sanitary Pads is Leading the Feminine Hygiene Revolution in India
 

Since its establishment in 2015, Paree Sanitary Pads, a division of Soothe Healthcare, has been disrupting the feminine hygiene industry in India. Led by Sahil Dharia, Founder and CEO, Paree Sanitary Pads, the brand has experienced remarkable growth and made significant strides in menstrual health awareness and accessibility.

Recognizing the vast potential in the feminine hygiene industry, Sahil asserted, "When we started in 2015, there were only 12 percent females in India using sanitary pads, but now there are 20 percent females using sanitary pads. The feminine hygiene industry is a blue ocean for us, and with increasing awareness about menstrual health, there's tremendous growth potential."

Paree Sanitary Pads manufactures its products in a US FDA approved facility, the brand ensures the accessibility of high-quality menstrual products to women across the country. It conducts workshops, health sessions, and campaigns aimed at initiating conversations about menstrual health and emphasizing its importance for women's active participation in the national economy.

The journey of the brand commenced with Soothe Healthcare launching Paree Sanitary Pads with renowned badminton player Saina Nehwal as its brand ambassador, making history as the first Indian sanitary pad brand to be associated with a sportswoman. Currently, Paree Sanitary Pads boasts a robust distribution network comprising 4 lakh outlets, and its manufacturing facility has the capacity to produce 1 billion pads annually.

Reflecting on the brand's remarkable growth, Sahil emphasized, "From Rs 10 crore to becoming Rs 250 crore homegrown brand is thrilling, and we are ready to achieve the next big number soon." Paree Sanitary Pads consistently strives to raise awareness, educate, and empower young girls and women across the country, shaping them into empowered individuals of tomorrow.”

The brand adopts an omnichannel distribution model to ensure maximum reach. The brand is present across various channels, with 75 percent of the business originating from general trade, 15 percent from e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, Purple, Meesho, and the remaining 10 percent from CPC and Modern Trade partners.

Looking toward the future, Paree Sanitary Pads envisions becoming a Rs 500 crore brand in the next two years. The brand's core vision remains centered on improving the quality of lives within the communities it serves. "We have constantly been working to make Paree sanitary pads accessible to every female in the country," explained Sahil.

He also highlighted the significance of having the right people for the right roles, combining hustle with a strong fundamental grounding. With a customer-centric approach, Paree Sanitary Pads addresses the real issues faced by Indian women and remains dedicated to their evolving needs.

Embracing technology and artificial intelligence has been instrumental in enhancing operations at Paree Sanitary Pads. The brand leverages these advancements to improve efficiency and deliver superior experiences to its customers. Presenting itself wherever consumers are active, the brand has extended its presence digitally to reach its target audience effectively. By focusing on consumer demand, Paree Sanitary Pads has established a successful marketing approach that emphasizes adaptation rather than drastic change.

With an unwavering commitment to empowering women, initiating conversations about menstrual health, and providing accessible and high-quality sanitary pads, Paree Sanitary Pads continues to make a profound impact on the lives of women across India. As Sahil affirmed, "We don't feel the need to change, rather just adapt." Paree Sanitary Pads is poised to redefine the feminine hygiene industry and uplift countless lives in the process.

 

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How VAHDAM India is Disrupting 200 Years of Tea & Spice Tradition
How VAHDAM India is Disrupting 200 Years of Tea & Spice Tradition
 

VAHDAM India, the country’s largest home-grown wellness brand, offers the finest Indian teas and spices under a sustainable-ethical brand, eliminating middlemen. Started in 2014 by Bala Sarda, VAHDAM is a vertically integrated brand that is disrupting the 200 year old global supply chain, sourcing directly from 150 farms across India with its manufacturing in 100,000 sq. ft. BRC Certified state-of-the-art facility in the National Capital Region of India.

VAHDAM India is a digitally native brand with over 90 percent of its revenue coming from online sales and 10 percent offline. It is present in over 6500 stores globally. The brand has been shipped to over 4 million consumers across 130 countries with the US, Canada and Europe as its key markets. It has delivered a CAGR of 151 percent since inception and is the largest home grown tea and wellness brand in revenue.

“We aim to expand the offline reach to complement our strong online presence. We plan to grow by focusing on 3 key growth triggers - going deeper in our current markets (USA, Canada, UK & Germany), expanding our omnichannel distribution, and strengthening our presence in new markets & diversifying into other relevant product categories,” stated Bala Sarda, Founder & CEO, VAHDAM India.

Key D2C Strategies

Supply Chain Efficiency: The brand prioritizes maintaining a lean and efficient supply chain to ensure that all customer orders are delivered intact and on time.

Adapting to Diverse Demographics: Its products cater to a diverse range of demographics, which necessitates a dynamic approach. The brand continuously evaluate market trends and consumer preferences to adapt its strategies accordingly. By staying attuned to the evolving needs of different customer segments, it strives to provide personalized experiences and relevant offerings.

Customer Engagement and Feedback: The brand actively engages in conversations with its customers to gauge their experiences and gather valuable feedback. This feedback loop allows it to understand its needs and preferences better. It considers these insights when making improvements to various aspects of its business, including product development, customer service, and overall customer experience.

Customer-centric Approach: The brand firmly believes in making its customers feel valued and appreciated. By actively listening to their needs, concerns, and suggestions, it can provide better solutions and ensure that their expectations are met or exceeded.

 

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High-end Online Shopping to Drive Retail Contribution to Nation's Economy
High-end Online Shopping to Drive Retail Contribution to Nation's Economy
 

As the world moves towards a more digital age, online shopping has become a major contributor to the growth of retail industries worldwide. In addition, high-end shopping has also been a key factor in driving the retail industry's contribution to a nation's economy. The success of the retail industry has a significant impact on employment, consumer spending, and economic growth. In recent years, high-end and online shopping have emerged as the primary factors driving retail's contribution.

Online shopping has increased dramatically during the previous ten years, according to recent reports. The way people shop has undergone a dramatic transformation because of the rise of e-commerce behemoths such as Amazon. In fact, by 2023, it is predicted that e-commerce sales would soar to an astounding $6.5 trillion. Digital marketplaces such as Etsy and eBay, which give customers a wide choice of products at low rates, have expanded as a result of the boom in online shopping.

On the other hand, high-end shopping has long been related to expensive, luxurious products. The notion of high-end purchasing has changed throughout time, though. Luxury goods are no longer the only items available at high-end stores; there are also high-quality items that address specific requirements and tastes. This trend has resulted in the growth of high-end retailers such as Apple and Tesla, which offer premium products and services to a niche audience.

Online purchasing and high-end shopping have some similarities despite their distinctions. The demand for convenience and tailored experiences underpins both trends. High-end buying delivers a personalized experience that is tailored to the needs and interests of the individual consumer, while online shopping gives customers the ease of purchasing from anywhere at any time. These two tendencies have a major effect on the retail sector. The rise of innovative business models like drop-shipping and subscription services as a result of online retail has upended conventional retail models. On the other hand, high-end shopping has led to the expansion of luxury brands and speciality shops that provide distinctive goods and services.

As an industry expert and director of ExportersIndia.com, I believe that there have been more jobs created in the retail sector as a result of the expansion of online and luxury purchasing. The demand for positions such as digital marketers, data analysts, and logistics specialists has increased as e-commerce has grown. In a similar vein, the rise in high-end retail has given rise to positions like that of luxury brand ambassador and product specialist. One cannot emphasize enough on how these two developments affect a country's economy. Millions of people can find work, thanks to the expansion of the retail sector, which also considerably boosts a country's GDP. The expansion of associated industries like technology and logistics has also been facilitated by the increase of online and luxury shopping.

Concerns have been raised, meanwhile, regarding how these developments would affect conventional brick-and-mortar stores. Several physical establishments have closed as a result of the expansion of internet buying, and the growth of high-end shopping has caused the retail sector to consolidate. Traditional merchants now face a difficult climate as they struggle to thrive in an industry that is changing due to these trends. E-commerce platforms are posing an increasing threat to traditional merchants, and many are finding it difficult to adapt to shifting consumer demands. As a result, in order to improve the customer experience and compete with e-commerce platforms, merchants are investing in digital technology and omnichannel strategy.

In conclusion, the retail industry will continue to contribute significantly to a country's economy due to the expansion of the internet and luxury purchasing. While these changes create numerous chances for development and innovation, they also pose difficulties for conventional merchants. To remain competitive and prosper in the years to come, the retail sector must continue to adapt to the shifting business environment.

 

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3 Ways Technology-Based D2C Brands are Changing Indian Kitchens
3 Ways Technology-Based D2C Brands are Changing Indian Kitchens
 

Indian kitchens have remarkably evolved over the years, in line with advancements in technology, the emergence of new tools or appliances, and changing lifestyles. With time, cooking has turned less labor-intensive and more convenient- with transitions from chulha to gas stoves, pots to pressure cookers, and now smart cooking devices. The major turning points have always been a step towards making cooking a less arduous task for all.

Technology-based D2C brands have now picked up the baton of helping people prepare nutritious meals easily. By offering innovative appliances, healthy food options or groceries, and personalized meal planning, these companies are making every aspect of fixing a meal more efficient. By expanding the choices and possibilities in the kitchen, these businesses are equipping every Indian dealing with time constraints to eat better and not compromise on their health. 

Smart Kitchen Devices

Smart kitchen devices are revolutionizing cooking at home by making the process significantly effortless. Through WiFi-enabled devices and artificial intelligence, these appliances are making cooking more enjoyable for individuals and families. In fact, rising demand from India, Japan, and South Korea will lead to the fastest growth in the Asia Pacific market for smart cooking assistants.

The presence of smart kitchen products is being increasingly felt in Indian kitchens. Smart water purifiers that auto-update and sync, dosa or chapati makers that prepare the dish for you, and AI-enabled smart cooking assistants with preset recipes and automated functions such as chopping, stirring, and sautéing are enabling food to be cooked with minimal effort. Young urban professionals are utilizing these smart devices to minimize their time spent in the kitchen, allowing them to focus more on other commitments. Driven by greater innovation and demand, the market for smart kitchen appliances in India is likely to grow from $0.50 billion in 2022 to $1.2 billion by 2030.

Personalized Nutritional Information

To help people make wise choices with their food, several D2C brands are now providing personalized nutritional information such as calorie intake, lists of ingredients, and the nutritional value of a packaged food item. Making this information readily accessible is crucial for those striving to eat healthily or have dietary restrictions. Apps such as MyFitnessPal, HealthifyMe, Fooducate, and My Diet Coach- Weight Loss track nutrition and provide users additional knowledge about what they are eating or should eat so they may customize their diets to achieve their fitness goals. The inclusion of these apps in day-to-day lives has led to more mindful cooking in Indian households. 

Smart Cooking Assistants like the delishUp⤴️ also give you nutritional information about the food before cooking, so one can manage their portion and nutrition intake at the source. 

Healthier Ingredients and Snacks

The kitchen is the heart of a home and it plays a major role in influencing food choices or meal planning, depending on the type of ingredients and equipment one has. With an increasing preference for organic and vegan meals, technology-based D2C brands are also focusing on offering healthy and sustainable ingredients for daily meals, such as organic produce, grass-fed meats, or artisanal cheese. Companies such as Licious, Meatigo, and Cowvathi are helping people to acquire an array of fresh ingredients to expand their cooking options with additional varieties and encourage experimenting with their food. Apart from providing customers with healthier options, it also promotes sustainability and reduces the environmental impact of their food choices.

According to a recent study, nearly 81 percent of Indians are choosing to substitute one meal of the day with a healthy snack. Preferring to have multiple small meals throughout the day, many seek nourishing snacking options to combine their desires for indulgence with the requirement for wholesome meals. With ‘superfoods’ gaining momentum, brands like Ritebite, Snackible, The Whole Truth Foods, and Tata Soulfull are offering healthier breakfast cereals and protein bars, providing an alternative to fried or sodium snacks. Consumption of protein bars and health supplements is also projected to increase owing to the rising health consciousness among consumers.

D2C players are transforming kitchens by making cooking at home easier through new-age appliances and making resources such as high-quality ingredients, recipes, or virtual classes readily available. As the current catalysts that are accelerating the age-old endeavor to make cooking less intimidating for everyone, this shift is changing the way people prepare food and eat, ultimately shaping the future of the Indian kitchen.

 

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How D2C Startups are Making their Way in the Personal Care & Wellness Areas
How D2C Startups are Making their Way in the Personal Care & Wellness Areas
 

The beauty and personal care industry was already ballooning prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, and on a positive note, the multiple sectors under its larger umbrella witnessed major uplift as a direct consequence of the pandemic disruptions. The pandemic also caused a shift in cosmetic habits, with consumers at home taking a more sensible approach to their beauty routines, preferring to focus more on self-care and wellness. Multiple factors have fostered the development of this industry, including a shift towards chemical-free and environmentally friendly products, raising concerns about personal hygiene, which has led to considerable demand for wellness commodities, and the emergence of the direct-to-customer (D2C) model, which has resulted in agile and personalized solutions. More pertinently, D2C personal care and wellness startups powered by a digital-first model have empowered men and women to pamper themselves with their in-home professional care treatments at a reasonable cost, without having to go out.

Digital Disruption

The wellness and beauty industry is advancing at a rapid pace towards becoming a digitally seasoned industry. While the beauty sector has only recently begun expanding its digital footprints, the wellness industry has traveled a considerable distance. The rise of different technology-driven start-ups has augmented the process of digitization even further. D2C personal care startup’s digital approach relies on customer engagement, which involves extensive use of digital channels such as mobile applications and social networking sites to steadily connect with consumers. This enables brands to attract and retain customers in real-time and adapt to their demands and feedback. No doubt, social media platforms have evolved into a powerful medium for businesses to build and solidify their brand recognition.

Personalization

Previously, in the name of offering an integrated service, all consumers were provided with a benchmark diet plan, workout regimen, beauty care, and so on. However, in order to build an individual relationship with the customer and to retain them for a longer period, the emphasis on personalization has grown tremendously. Customized beauty is an aspect of the wider customization trend that has impacted industries spanning from health and fitness to parlor and salon care. Millennials, in particular, are drifting away from one-size-fits-all solutions in favor of customized products and experiences. Top D2C industry players are now providing tailored goods and services centered on taste, liking, lifestyle, body type, and even genetics. Next-generation personalized care has the potential to benefit a wide range of wellness participants, particularly home salon brands that are assertively exploring new areas in order to differentiate themselves.

On-Demand At-Home Services

The personal care and wellness industry have always been at the forefront to implement a wide range of strategies to promote superior customer experience on the cusp of their hectic lifestyles. New-age D2C startups are also experimenting with various service models in order to provide greater convenience and achieve greater recognition. Growing consumerism, smartphone, and internet infiltration, and a steadily rising working-class population have set up ideal conditions for wellness businesses to streamline the on-demand at-home service framework. Many beauty companies, for example, offer a variety of services ranging from routine full body waxing to Cleanup, Manicure, Pedicure, Detan, Bleach, and Facial services. Some home salon brands offer a unique 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. service, allowing customers to take advantage of beauty services in the early mornings when most brick-and-mortar salons are unavailable.

Greater Transparency

Prior to the D2C revolution, there was no transparency in the personal care and wellness sector. A client’s visit to a beauty salon, for example, could easily cost them several thousand rupees. Many salon stores routinely charge absurdly high and deceptive prices for beauty treatments as customers are ignorant of the overheads. Beauticians use products that come in huge containers or bottles, making estimating the cost of materials used for a specific service almost impossible. To address the issue, many home salons and tech-enabled startups are now offering sealed mono doses of beauty products for one-time use, preventing refilling or cheating. Another key differentiator is the per-minute pricing model. Regardless of the service, the per-minute pricing model ensures that the client gets the service highlighted with the appropriate service timing. This allows customers to understand how much time the professional will spend on a service they pick and for which they are paying.

Conclusion

Personal and wellness care is no longer a desire, but rather a requirement for customers. Customers will undoubtedly have more stringent requirements for their beauty and wellness products and services in the future, implying that all D2C wellness industry players should be prepared to adapt to changes unfolding among customers and their rivals on the market.

 

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How Discovery Commerce is Transforming Online Shopping Journey
How Discovery Commerce is Transforming Online Shopping Journey
 

With consumer lifestyles increasingly going digital, online channels dominate their preferences for media consumption as well as shopping. A Google/Ipsos study revealed that people are actively shopping for more than six categories online at any given time. Not only are consumers choosing online over offline when it comes to shopping, but the way they shop is also changing. Rather than being in shop mode only when they are on Amazon or Flipkart, they are now always shopping. A report by Meta found that over 60 percent of shoppers surveyed stated that they made purchases based on what they unexpectedly found when browsing online.

What this means is whether they are scrolling on Instagram, seeing videos on YouTube, or even searching on Google, brands need the ability to create moments of discovery of products that these consumers care to buy. Serendipitous discovery can make a huge difference in convincing consumers to go down a path to purchase. Unlike traditional advertising, this is more organic and extends their searching, seeing, and social moments into shopping moments. In addition to fostering product discovery, brands can help consumers with information to make it easier to complete purchases. For example, access to pricing/discounts, customer reviews, and cross-store price comparison ranked high in a Google/Kantar study on factors that influence Indian consumers when they buy online.

To facilitate such discovery by the right consumers, and translate that into actual demand for their products and services, brands will need to address three key elements:

  1. Reach people across popular media channels and use the right data and signals to target audiences that are more likely to be interested in a conversation with the brand. This helps increase ad relevance to the people who see them in their news feeds.
  2. Make ad impressions more effective by using creatives that are product aware. This helps them discover the brand and inspires them to consider the purchase of products featured in the ad.
  3. Curate storefronts that are personalized to the audience, and deliver branded shopping experiences that blend content, catalog, and comparison shopping to facilitate seamless purchases.    

Discovery Commerce collapses a complex multi-step journey (learn, research, compare choices and prices, and eventually purchase) into a single, seamless shopping experience for consumers. This also helps brands and retailers optimize their cost of customer acquisition, and build equity and lifetime value with shoppers.

 

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Role of D2C in India's Startup Revolution
Role of D2C in India's Startup Revolution
 

One of the most fascinating and dynamic trends in the world of business over the last few decades has been India's startup movement. The country has developed into a hotbed for entrepreneurial activity, notably in industries like e-commerce, fintech, and healthcare among others. With over 100 unicorns now, increased consumerism of the growing middle class and access to technology have fueled India’s startup revolution. Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) model has emerged as one of the key trends, with many companies utilizing technology and data to forge close bonds with their consumers. The expansion of D2C is evidence of the nation's entrepreneurial drive.

High internet penetration, the rise of e-commerce, and digitization are the key factors that have made the role of the D2C quite significant in the stupendous growth of India's startups. D2C relieved India’s burgeoning startups, especially small business owners, of having to deal with the hassle of middlemen and cater directly to the customers. The business model is also instrumental in the rise of Indian women entrepreneurs, with many helming online D2C brands in personal care, jewelry, and sustainable clothing among others. Following their pathbreaking success and soaring valuations, D2C startups continue to increasingly draw the attention of venture capitalists as they look to invest in cutting-edge and digital-first businesses.

The recent Union Budget was also evidence of the government’s support for startups with the extension of the date of incorporation for income tax benefits to 2024. With a massive shift in consumer shopping to the online mode post the covid-19 pandemic, D2C will continue to play a key role in the growth of India’s startups as companies increasingly resort to it to cut costs and serve their customers more efficiently.

Reduced Operating Costs

The direct-to-consumer model has helped Indian entrepreneurs lower the cost of starting businesses and reach out to consumers easily. Digitisation has enabled many startups to build their businesses on digital platforms instead of physical ones, allowing them to flourish on a small amount of funding. Going the D2C way and steering clear of middlemen, distributors or wholesalers has also made startups earn higher margins and gain more control over every aspect of their operations. With the additional funds, companies have the incentive to prioritize enhancing customer experience and bolstering marketing which will help them engage with a larger section of their client base.

Access to Data

One of the major benefits of digitization includes access to a vast amount of data for startups to target the relevant demographic and interact with their consumers more effectively to ensure a personalized experience.D2C models enable firms to collect valuable consumer data as companies have complete control over every user on the platform. This helps them understand the needs, demands, and preferences of the market which allows the companies to improve their products, services, and outreach efforts. Having first-hand access to such data also gives them the advantage of testing new products and services before putting them up for sale. D2C has also empowered grassroots entrepreneurs to leverage digital platforms to showcase their offerings and expand their reach, holding immense potential for farmer entrepreneurs.

Customized Experience for Customers

Modern buyers have moved past acquiring generic items as they demand convenience, personalized products, and tailored experiences. To bank on this and cater to the shopping needs of the GenZ or millennials, direct-to-consumer startups are flooding and disrupting the retail industry with their unique and customized offerings. This has prompted the existing companies to also wade into D2C to interact with their clients directly. Leveraging the D2C model is advantageous for companies and clients alike since it enables a closer and more fruitful interaction. Building strong relationships with consumers gives organizations a competitive edge. While consumers have access to a wider variety of products to choose from, brands can attend to their specific needs and serve them better, differentiating themselves from their competitors. The less contrived nature of a D2C model and gender-neutral funding ecosystem has also empowered many women to kickstart their businesses and provide solutions for some of the problems such as the lack of cruelty-free personal care or parenting products. D2C allows for the collection of customer feedback in real-time which aids product development to better suit different groups of purchasers.

The D2C model has been highly successful in many parts of the world, with India holding tremendous potential for it as well. The model will continue to shape the developing future of the Indian startup environment. In the last two years, intense competition has also compelled many legacy companies to transform their businesses and adopt the D2C model. With higher margins, easier access to customers, expanding consumer access to goods and services, and generation of new jobs, direct-to-consumer companies are significantly contributing to the growth of the Indian economy. The increasing competition and innovation brought on by the rise of D2C companies are set to spur economic growth even more.

 

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[Funding Alert] Blue Tea Bags $7.5 mn at Shark Tank India, Despite Being Reprimanded by Sharks
[Funding Alert] Blue Tea Bags $7.5 mn at Shark Tank India, Despite Being Reprimanded by Sharks
 

BlueTea is a company envisioned to bring back ancient Indian Ayurveda-based flower teas to the world by showcasing convenience to consumers. The company recently featured on Shark Tank India and garnered a Rs 7.5 million investment from Shark Aman Gupta, Co-Founder-CMO, boAt. 

Incepted in 2018, BlueTea aims to revolutionize the notions of tea-consumption habits worldwide while making ground for its own specialty. Entailing 0 percent caffeine, it strives to garner a benchmark higher than Green Teas as BlueTea is herbal in its truest form. 

BlueTea is made using flowers that do not contain caffeine in contrast with green teas which are made with tea leaves. It aims to demolish the notion of slimming which is pioneered by green teas but has rather only supplied a bitter taste and zero effective slimming results down the years.

On the show, the brand was reprimanded by Anupam Mittal, Founder, and CEO of Shaadi.com – People Group, however, the brand was able to secure a deal with Aman Gupta.

The founders originally made an ask of Rs 75 lakh for 1 percent equity of the company at the valuation of Rs 75 crore. Gupta offered Rs 15 lakh for 5 percent equity and 60 lakhs debt at 12 percent interest while pitchers countered, Rs 50 lakh for 2 percent equity and 25 lakhs debt at 12 percent interest. The brand was able to successfully finalize a deal with Aman at Rs 50 lakh for 3 percent equity and Rs 25 lakh debt at 12 percent interest.

“It was an enriching experience to be on Shark Tank India. We feel extremely delighted to have had the opportunity to be funded by Shark - Aman Gupta. We envision a bright future for BlueTea where we aim to revolutionize tea-consumption habits worldwide. BlueTea is envisioned to bring back the lost thousand years of glory - the ancient ayurvedic flower teas to your doorstep,” said Sunil Saha, Co-founder, BlueTea.

The brand enjoys a global expansion of supplying and distributing teas to about 12 countries including the USA, UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, and France. 

Nitesh Singh, Co-founder, BlueTea added, “BlueTea is a tea brand which is providing convenience to the consumers as they enjoy flower teas; teas which are truly herbal in their essence. Shark Tank was a great opportunity for the brand and we will ensure to leverage the plethora of opportunities that it has opened for us. We are hopeful to make a 5X turnover in FY 2023 and there will be no stopping going forward.”

While the company started with an initial turnover of Rs 25 lakh in 2018 and closed with a massive turnover of Rs 10 crore in FY 2022. The company has grown by 50X in 3 years and further aims to achieve a turnover of Rs 25 crore this year with maximum sales coming from USA and India.

 

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New Paradigms D2C Brands should be Looking at in 2023
New Paradigms D2C Brands should be Looking at in 2023
 

In 2022, direct-to-consumer brands showed how to recover successfully. The D2C sector in the Indian market has now left the disruption of the pandemic and supply chain behind

them. While there are concerns about growth and inflation all over the world. India will continue to grow. There will be tough times and every rupee spent in marketing will have to be accounted for but there is a lot of gold at the end of the 2023 tunnel.

Hyper-Personalization for the Win

The “One-size fits all” approach is long gone. Hyper personalization is the way of the future. The customer wants everything altered to their tastes, requirements, and visions. The D2C customer has a stronger opinion than ever before. Brands bringing a personal touch to their products and services will win the customers, until some other brands up the ante.

Boosting Brand-Customer Relationship

Fall in love with your customers, it will be one-sided but still worth it. Let them build an emotional connection with your products and services. An emotional connection will make the customer choose you over the competition every time. Brands will need to build meaningful relationships with customers in spite of knowing how fickle the D2C customer is. They will flirt with other brands but will expect the brand to be loyal.

Social Commerce or Performance-Based Marketing

The use of performance-based marketing, influencer marketing, and social media to target new audiences will keep increasing. While everyone will suffer from the bane of the high cost of customer acquisition the dependence on performance marketing will only go up. Influencer fatigue is being experienced, but until the brands go big enough to go into real mass media, Facebook and youtube will continue to rule. Brand-led advertising might reduce as everyone will be in the business of getting maximum bang for the buck.

Omnichannel Strategies

The omnichannel strategy helps D2C brands in driving sales and create a cohesive customer experience. Cracking Offline will become critical to growth and survival. D2C brands will start chasing and creating a path to profitability. Strong unit economics will be non-negotiable.

Scope to Grow

D2C brands have a huge headroom to grow. With India’s major population being in the age group of 18-45 and eager to consume there is no time soon that the market will saturate. There may be some tough times in 2023 but the brands that survive and ride this will experience huge gains in the years that follow.

 

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[Funding Alert] Spice Story Gets Funded By a Shark, Raises Rs 70 lakh for 5 pc Equity
[Funding Alert] Spice Story Gets Funded By a Shark, Raises Rs 70 lakh for 5 pc Equity
 

Spice story is a Mumbai-based Indian Chutney brand that offers a wide range of authentic and absolutely local chutneys in modern sauce form. These are curated from different parts of the country and are run by Globalvalue Food and condiments Pvt Ltd.

Incepted in 2019, the brand thus offers Chutneys made from recipes culled from traditional kitchens across the country, all with new twists in flavors. The founders Vibhor Rastogi, Soumyadeep Mukherjee, and Gayatri Gogate recently made an appearance on Shark Tank India Season 2.

The current season is headed by Anupam Mittal Founder-CEO of Shaadi.com – People Group; Aman Gupta, Co-Founder-CMO of boAt; Namita Thapar, Executive Director of Emcure Pharmaceuticals; Vineeta Singh, Co-Founder-CEO of SUGAR Cosmetics; Peyush Bansal, Founder-CEO of Lenskart.com and Amit Jain, Co-Founder-CEO of CarDekho Group and InsuranceDekho.com.

The team thus asked for Rs 70 lakh for 2 percent equity, further revealing its last month's sale to be Rs 57 lakh. Thapar offers Rs 70 lakh for 5 percent equity as she states she is willing to bet on the product, however, the team needs to work on the arising setbacks. 

The Spice Story team finalize the deal taking up Namita’s original offer.

Soumyadeep Mukherjee , Founder, and CEO, Spice Story commented, “We have had a pretty restrained approach since we wanted to first determine our product market fit! Now that we have delivered consistent growth year on year in the same markets, we will expand our reach in the next 12 months, and look at growing 4X in the next 12 months.”

Spice Story has sold over a million bottles of its chutney and is available in 5 cities Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Kolkata selling from about 300 Modern Trade Stores. 

Online, spice story is active on all leading marketplaces in India and Amazon USA. It will be adding UAE and Europe to its online sales channels.

"Since we now established PMF for our chutneys, we will now introduce the newer category of products for our consumers as we build our distribution network," said Vibhor Rastogi, Co-founder, and head of NPD-QC.

Spice story is the only 'brand' that offers a range of Indian chutney variants from different parts of the country, additionally, these are served in easy squeezy bottles that a modern consumer is used to. The company aims to add 6000 general stores by the end of this fiscal and targets a presence in 12 cities by mid of next Fiscal year.

 

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[Funding Alert] Home-Grown Coffee Brand VS Mani & Co Raises Rs 19 Lakh for 1 pc Equity on Shark Tank
[Funding Alert] Home-Grown Coffee Brand VS Mani & Co Raises Rs 19 Lakh for 1 pc Equity on Shark Tank
 

With numerous up-and-coming coffee brands taking over the market, it came as no surprise how VS Mani and Co, a Home-Grown Coffee brand from South India was able to woo the sharks in the ongoing season of Shark Tank India. 

Amongst the Sharks, Anupam Mittal, Founder, and CEO of Shaadi.com who is already an angel investor of the brand decided to not be on set during the pitch. Last year in April, VS Mani raised $370,000 in an angel funding round, which included Mittal, True North co-Partner Haresh Chawla, BookMyShow founder, and CEO Ashish Hemrajani, DentsuMB Group CEO Sidharth Rao, JetSynthesys founder and CEO Rajan Navani, Telugu actor Rana Daggubati and Sattva Group’s family office.

Company founders GD Prasad, Rahul Bajaj, and Yashas Alur came to 'Shark Tank India' to raise Rs 60 lakh for 1.5 percent equity. However, when Namita Thapar, Executive Director, Emcure Pharmaceuticals offered them an offer of Rs 19 Lakh at 1 percent equity with Rs 41 Lakh debt at a 10 percent interest rate, they sealed the offer.

In his recent LinkedIn post, GD Prasad stated, “Our special thanks to Anupam Mittal, who saw a spark in VS Mani & Co. and got on board as an angel investor way before the Shark Tank India episode. Thank you, Namita Thapar, for placing your faith in us, and for loving filter coffee as much as we do, we hope to do you proud.”

He further added, “To all the other sharks (Peyush Bansal, Aman Gupta, and Amit Jain), thank you for your encouraging words, and the sharp insights that have given us food for thought. This list would be incomplete without a most heartfelt mention of all the investors who participated in our angel funding round and gave us the Launchpad to get to this point.”

Prasad added, that as a brand it has celebrated quite a few milestones since its inception in 2020, being on Shark Tank being a seminal moment. The brand thus intends to represent South India in all its varied glory. 

 

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2023 will be the year of D2C: 5 Trends Brands Must Know
2023 will be the year of D2C: 5 Trends Brands Must Know
 

2022 saw one of India's most talked about festive seasons in recent years. Last year’s sales number set newer records and an increase in demand from Tier II and III cities. Redseer claimed that during the one-month sales period in India, e-commerce retailers selling on Amazon and Flipkart generated sales worth Rs 76,000 crore, which is about twice as much as the pre-pandemic 2019. On the other hand, the Indian D2C industry continues to grow, buoyed by rising awareness and consumers’ willingness to experiment. Projected to grow by 21 percent, the D2C industry size in 2023 is all set to cross the $66 billion mark.

This data offers evidence of the evolution of the Indian e-commerce environment, and emerging trends have the ability to influence how the country's direct-to-consumer (D2C) market develops and increases its share in overall retail sales. If you are building a D2C brand, here are 5 trends that can help you formulate your strategy for a successful 2023.

1. Fashion Brands Should Focus on ‘Bharat’

According to reports that looked at sales over the Diwali season in India, Tier II and III cities are the main driving forces behind these purchases, accounting for 64 percent of all consumers who made transactions. During this phase, almost 125 million customers placed orders across platforms, helped by Tier II cities, and growth was driven by fashion in these markets. One of every five orders placed here was for ethnic wear like a Kurti or saree. Tier II and beyond cities growing appetite to shop online is a trend that’s here to stay and D2C brands should not miss this. It can help them increase both sales and customer base. Meesho’s recent sales saw nearly 60 percent of sales coming from Tier IV cities. Demand from ‘Bharat’ will only rise and D2C brands will play an important role in fulfilling this demand.

2. Local Marketplaces Attract International Brands

The beauty and personal care sector had a declining trend in 2022, with the market contracting by almost 11 percent year over year as a result of lower expenditure after the pandemic. However, online stores like Nykaa attracted at least 30 foreign brands to India, which currently accounts for 15-20 percent of its total income. At least 60 percent of sales were recorded from Tier II and III cities in the beauty and personal care market. In 2023, the BPC segment is expected to grow to $27 billion, D2C brands can plan ahead and benefit from this surge.

3. Consumer Durables will Continue to Thrive

Last year has been healthy for the consumer durables sector despite rising inflation. The Consumer Electronics and Appliance Manufacturers Association reports that sales have increased in value and volume by over 30 percent in 2022. Sales of entry-level products, however, decreased by 10-15 percent, which is largely related to the customer's tendency to upgrade. However, the desire for durables that are simple to use, smart, intuitive, and sustainable has increased significantly and, in 2023, brands selling these goods stand to gain.

4. Tools are your Best Friend - Use Them to Increase Engagement and Conversion

Shoppers love to bargain. Earlier, it was possible only when selling offline, but with the latest tools, you can let your shoppers bargain online too! Kari by Kriti uses this selling technique efficiently. Brands are also adopting gamification tools to increase engagement and sales. Tools like a discount spin wheel can be used to surprise users with an instant discount and further improve sales. A study that surveyed popular Shopify stores found that at least 66% of them use at least one engagement tool.

5. Alcohol and Beverage Brands Run Smooth with New Launches

Despite the discussion about inflation, 2022’s festive season saw no decline in sales or consumer satisfaction for alcohol and beverage firms. In order to command premium pricing, brands like Radico Khaitan and Bira91 have been concentrating on acquiring their regular products as well as developing and inventing new product mixes. In order to attract customers and further influence the market, these brands actually introduced new products throughout this season. New and legacy brands that plan their new product launches well in advance and have a robust supply chain stand a greater chance to corner a larger market share in 2023.

With the pandemic and supply chain disruption behind them, e-commerce companies in 2022 demonstrated how the festive season was effective in reviving the direct-to-consumer sector in the Indian market and it is important for brands to use it as a blueprint for succeeding in 2023.

 

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Why Jaipur Watch Company is on a Success Path Even After Not Securing a Deal on Shark Tank India
Why Jaipur Watch Company is on a Success Path Even After Not Securing a Deal on Shark Tank India
 

Jaipur Watch Company, India’s first micro-luxury watch brand, was started in 2013 by Gaurav Mehta. The brand sells its products through online marketplaces and its own website. The company doesn’t merely produce watches but also taps into the rich Indian heritage and history (a specific design uses last British India’s coin as its highlight) by reflecting the same on their designs. Corporate figures, prominent celebrities, and even the PM of India have bought their product.

Gaurav hails from Jaipur and has a hobby of collecting ancient coins and later founded a company that had Indian history attached to it. He introduced these watches as India’s luxury brand and less dependent on imported ones.

In his latest pitch at Shark Tank India, Gaurav presented his ask of Rs 50 lakhs for 2 percent equity, following his dream of establishing a space for an Indian luxury brand in the market.

The brand offers two categories of watches – Pret and Bespoke. The former one has a price range of Rs 20,000-50,000, whereas the latter has a price range of Rs 1.5-24 lakh.

The annual sales of the company for the financial year 2021-2022 were recorded at Rs 1.07 crore, with the Pret category garnering 80 percent of the total sales and the remaining 20 percent by Bespoke. Jaipur Watch Company’s operating revenues range is under Rs 1 crore for the financial year ending on 31 March 2020 and its EBITDA had increased by 74.59 percent. The gross margin of the business is listed at 75 percent and the net margin is at 25 percent.

Gaurav failed to secure the deal from the Sharks. However, all of them said that while the success of this excellent attempt will boost India’s reputation and international acclaim, with the introduction of sophisticated smart watches and their distribution, which have grown commercially, they should establish their own stores to advertise the fact that they are designers.

Speaking about his experience on Shark Tank, Gaurav Mehta, the Founder of Jaipur Watch Company said, “It was a metamorphic experience to be debuting my brand on a global show. I learned a very valuable lesson from the sharks that lay impetus on the importance of having retail outlets in an era when everything is virtual. We immediately took up the learning and opened two stores, in Delhi and Jaipur, right after the episode. I am very happy to share that Anupam Mittal has become our client and ordered two watches from us. He recently got a watch made for Mr. Amitabh Bachchan and gifted him on the sets of KBC. In addition to this Jaipur Watch Company’s website got over 50000+ visitors overnight and also gained 1000+ followers on Instagram.”

 

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[Funding Alert] Size Inclusive Brand Angrakhaa Raise Rs 40 lakh for 20 pc Equity on Shark Tank India
[Funding Alert] Size Inclusive Brand Angrakhaa Raise Rs 40 lakh for 20 pc Equity on Shark Tank India
 

Angrakhaa, a retail clothing brand founded by Vishakha Bhaskkar and Asana Riamei has been operational since 2018. The brand offers women's apparel in all sizes and specializes in providing a breathable collection that not only is relaxing but sets a benchmark for quality and trend.

Angrakhaa has served more than 10,000+ orders and will be entering the Indian wedding market for both men and women and aims to become a global brand in the size-inclusive category.

The brand’s co-founders recently made an appearance on Shark Tank India Season 2 wherein they asked the sharks for Rs 40 lakh for 5 percent equity which makes the valuation of the company at Rs 8 crore.

The brand had a sales revenue of Rs 14 lakh in FY19-20, Rs 7 lakh in FY20-21, and had jumped to Rs 1.16 crore in FY21-22, all the sales being specifically from its own D2C website.

All sharks namely Anupam Mittal, Founder, and CEO of Shaadi.com – People Group; Aman Gupta, Co-Founder-CMO of boAt; Namita Thapar, Executive Director of Emcure Pharmaceuticals; Vineeta Singh, Co-Founder-CEO of SUGAR Cosmetics; Peyush Bansal, Founder-CEO of Lenskart.com and Amit Jain, Co-Founder-CEO of CarDekho Group and InsuranceDekho.com were impressed by the growth of the brand.

Bansal chose to opt out of the deal, similarly, Namita and Aman also opt out, finding the brand strategy to be confusing. Anupam points out the lack of a unique selling proposition while opting out.

However, Amit offers Angrakhaa a deal promising his expertise in digital marketing to aid their sales and offers Rs 40 lakh for 20 percent equity valuing the company at Rs 2 crore. 

The co-founders countered for Rs 40 lakh for 15 percent equity which leads to the sharks mentioning how the business needs to be made investible and would require work and effort.

The brand co-founders shook on the deal taking the offer of Rs 40 lakh for 20 percent equity and thus valuing the company at Rs 2 crore.
 

 

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Semi-Permanent Hair Color Brand Paradyes Impress the Sharks, Raise Rs 65 Lakh for 2 pc Equity
Semi-Permanent Hair Color Brand Paradyes Impress the Sharks, Raise Rs 65 Lakh for 2 pc Equity
 

Founded in 2021 by Yushika Jolly, Paradyes is a semi-permanent hair color brand. She introduced the brand by identifying a gap in the market. Banking on her family business of dyes and intermediates, she teamed up with professionals and began R&D to formulate hair colors in their lab.

On returning from London, Yushika set up a lab in Ankleshwar with the help of her brother, who had a background in chemical engineering. He also brought in R & D experts on board. Once things were in place, she began experimenting with formulations and colors.

The brand founder recently made an appearance on Shark Tank India Season 2, the sharks were impressed by the brand’s marketing, branding as well as packaging. Moreover, the brand’s USP of being made of herbal extracts, and being environment friendly worked in its favor.

The brand’s ask was Rs 65 lakh for 1 percent equity. The pitch was followed by a heated discussion. While Peyush Bansal (Lenskart) offered the same amount and equity asked, Vineeta Singh (SUGAR) and Anupam Mittal (Shaadi.com) offered Rs 65 lakh from 4 percent equity.

Aman Gupta (boAt) offered Rs 65 lakh for 5 percent.

However, the brand founder wanted Vineeta and Aman on board the counter offer being Rs 65 lakh for 3 percent equity. In the end, the pitchers' duo ended with Vineeta and Aman's offer of Rs 65 lakh for 2 percent equity. 
Along with providing the most vibrant colors, the brand is in the early stages of practicing 100 percent sustainability within its brand and product.

"We believed the brands created by the sharks we chose had comparable target markets (TGs) and could help us with consumer insights. I believe it is important for keyboard warriors to realize and accept the notion that If the sharks can have their choices, so can entrepreneurs. We decided to stay silent during the shark fight because we knew that everyone wished the best for us," said Yushika in a recent LinkedIn post.

Moreover, the brand has further taken up steps to minimize wastage and be eco-friendly. The brands’ hair dyes come in glass jars with tin caps, and brushes made of 60 percent bamboo fiber. 
 

 

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How this Mother-Daughter Duo Aims to Empower Indian Artisans with the Help of Sharks
How this Mother-Daughter Duo Aims to Empower Indian Artisans with the Help of Sharks
 

House of Chikankari was founded by the mother-daughter duo Poonam and Aakriti Rawal in 2020 with the aim to create a deeper impact on India's craftsmen. The brand ensures that the talent and expertise of the country's artisans, its heritage, and its craftsmanship are accepted by all. 

The brand recently made an appearance on Shark Tank India Season 2, wherein Co-Founder Aakriti Rawal said, “Most of the chikankari industry is unorganized which does not allow customers to get quality assurance and authenticity of handworks which thus encouraged us to come up with ‘House of Chikankari’.”

House of Chikankari is an e-commerce brand that offers authentic chikankari in a modern style and delivers it to numerous parts of the world. In 2 years of its journey, the brand has provided employment to over 5,000 women artisans serving over 15,000+ customers. The brand has over time witnessed over 5X growth.

“Our vision is to make Chikankari relevant for the modern audience while maintaining the authenticity of the craft,” said Rawal. 

In FY20-21 the brand generated sales revenue of Rs 33 lakhs, in FY22-23 the brand jumped to Rs 3.3 crore, and in FY22-23 (till now) the brand has generated over Rs 7.4 crore, thus aims to touch Rs 15 crore by the end of FY22-23. Moreover, the brand has a net margin of 15 percent on its products and aims to make a 17 percent net profit on the projected revenue for FY22-23. 

The co-founders asked for Rs 75 lakhs for 1 percent of its equity which valued the brand at Rs 75 crore. While Namita Thapar, Executive Director, Emcure Pharmaceuticals decided to not invest in the business, Aman Gupta, Co-founder, and CMO, boAt offered Rs 75 lakh for 5 percent equity which valued the company at Rs 15 crore.

On the other hand Anupam Mittal, Founder and CEO, People Group, and Vineeta Singh, Co-Founder SUGAR offered Rs 75 lakh for 6 percent equity together, this offer valued the brand at Rs 12.5 crore and Peyush Bansal, CEO, Lenskart provided the same offer as Gupta.

The co-founders decided to take up Gupta and Bansal’s joint offer of Rs 75 lakh for 3.75 percent equity which valued the company at Rs 20 crore. 
 

 

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Fresh Puja Flower Startup Hoovu Fresh Raises Rs 10 Mn from Sharks Aman and Peyush
Fresh Puja Flower Startup Hoovu Fresh Raises Rs 10 Mn from Sharks Aman and Peyush
 

Hoovu Fresh, a traditional flower delivery business that deals in fresh flowers and incense sticks on subscription recently raised Rs 10 million from Aman Gupta and Peyush Bansal in the latest season of Shark Tank India. 

The platform intends to deliver fresh flowers by shortening the supply chain while leveraging technology. The Bengaluru-based startup backed by sister duo Yeshoda and Rhea Karuturi was incepted in 2019 and in 3 years has expanded to over 8 cities completing over 2 million orders while being associated with over 300 temples and 500 farmers. Furthermore, the brand is available via multiple delivery platforms such as BigBasket, Swiggy, and Zepto, among others. 

The brand further states on its website, “We saw how the industry changed dramatically-from unorganized, fragmented markets to the setting up of the International Flower Auction Bangalore, the first exports of cut roses from Bangalore and the awe-inspiring Kenyan farm, which was the world’s largest rose farm.”

Rhea and Yashoda entered Shark Tank India and explained their business and asked for Rs 80 lakh for 1 percent equity. While Aman Gupta and Peyush Bansal offered Rs 1 crore for 2 percent equity at a Rs 50 Crores Valuation; Namita Thapar and Vineeta Singh offered Rs 50 lakh for 1 percent equity plus Rs 30 lakh debt at 12 percent interest rate at a Rs 50 Crore valuation. Thus, Rhea and Yashoda took up Aman and Peyush’s offer.

In December 2022, the brand raised Rs 6.45 crore in a pre-series A funding round led by Sauce.VC and joined by multiple angels such as Sangeet Agrawal (founder of Mokobara), Akshay Dujodwala (CSO at Mangalam Organics), Nikhil Bhandarkar (founder of Panthera Peak Capital), Mylktree Family Office, Cafe Coffee Day’s family office, etc.
In the past year, Hoovu has expanded its offerings to temples as well.

Team Hoovu Fresh is responsible for the decoration at the ISKCON temple in Bangalore among many other temples. Hoovu’s range of products includes assorted roses, assorted puja flowers, and green mixes which can be bought by customers either as individual boxes or by signing up for their monthly subscriptions.

They also have special packages for festivals, puja staples and others curated with exclusive flowers.  Their assorted flowers plus greens package is very popular as it includes auspicious greens like gharke, bil patre, and tulsi which people use for their special pujas. Another customer favorite is their rose petal mola - made by hand-rolling rose petals into a garland.

Hoovu has operations in Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Mumbai. Flowers can be ordered via Big Basket, Zepto, Milk Basket, and other grocery apps. Hoovu Fresh also offers agarbatti’s made out of recycled temple flowers and other puja samagri that can be shopped on the brand’s website.
 

 

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How TeaFit Raised a Collective Investment From All 4 Sharks, Startup Valued at Rs 6.25 cr
How TeaFit Raised a Collective Investment From All 4 Sharks, Startup Valued at Rs 6.25 cr
 

TeaFit a brand that produces zero-calorie healthy drinks made with natural herbs and ingredients, without sugar or a sweetener recently made an impression on the sharks when it made an appearance on Shark tank India Season 2. 
Founded in 2021 by Jyoti Bharadwaj, a mompreneur from Mumbai, TeaFit offers instant mixes, along with green tea, black tea, and barley tea. 

She initially asked for Rs 50 lakh for 3 percent valuing the company at Rs 16.67 crore, stating that the brand received a term sheet of Rs 1 crore that valued her startup at Rs 20 crore in convertible notes.

Co-Founder of SUGAR Cosmetics Vineeta Singh and Founder of Shaadi.com Anupam Mittal jointly gave the first offer of Rs 50 lakh for 25 percent equity, which valued the company at Rs 2 crore.

Lenskart’s co-founder Peyush Bansal then offered Rs 50 lakh for 20 percent equity, which further raised its value to Rs 2.5 crore and boAt co-founder Aman Gupta offered Rs 50 lakh for 10 percent equity that doubled the valuation to Rs 5 crore. 

However, Bansal, Singh, and Mittal later stated that they would match Gupta’s offer.

Thus, Bharadwaj sought a collective investment of Rs 50 lakhs from all four judges for 8 percent equity, valuing the startup at Rs 6.25 crore, which was then accepted by the judges.

A fan of Shark Tank US and a mother of two, Bharadwaj gave a pitch providing minute details about the product which helped her get the offer. 

In her LinkedIn post a few days before the show aired, Bharadwaj said, “I have watched every episode of every season of Shark Tank US many times over the years. I have replayed so many of the pitches in my mind - Scrub Daddy, Drink Poppi, Bantam Bagels, and many others. I am just so incredibly grateful to get a national platform to talk about TeaFit, why we do what we do, and our vision for the future.” 

The brand will soon be available on Zepto for its customers.
 

 

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How Recode’s Rejection in Shark Tank Worked in Favor of its Growth
How Recode’s Rejection in Shark Tank Worked in Favor of its Growth
 

Recode is a brand that sells makeup products and cosmetics and has a pan-India presence across more than 250 shops in India. The brand sells its products online through its website and mobile app. Moreover, in 2021, Recode started selling the products of other brands as well on their platform, having launched three franchisee stores in Faridabad, Delhi, and Raipur.

Recode Studios has always kept up with the momentum of a significant rise in revenue year-on-year in FY22. Supported by the two pillars of quality and affordability, the brand is carving its impact in the Indian beauty and cosmetic market.

The brand's yearly sales climbed from Rs 25 lakh in 2018 to Rs 2 crore in 2019 and 2020, which is 8X the growth. The brand registered an increase of 2.5 percent in 2021 with Rs 5 crore in sales; and a magnificent growth rate of 300 percent with Rs 15 crore by the end of 2022.

Recently, Recode made an appearance in Shark Tank India Season 2, wherein it was unable to gain funding. While Peyush Bansal, CEO, Lenskart, and Anupam Mittal, Founder and CEO, People Group, weren’t convinced about the brand, Namita Thapar, Executive Director, Emcure Pharmaceuticals, and Aman Gupta, Co-founder and CMO, BoAt, refused to invest in a company as it was coming in the way of their friendship with Vineeta Singh, who also runs a cosmetics brand, Sugar.

Although the Shark Tank India judges have received criticism for being unfair, post-episode Recode has been doing good business. 

The brand recently received funding from Velocity for growth capital needs, along with a brand campaign with Swara Bhaskar. Hammer Audio, the company which Aman Gupta offered to acquire in Shark Tank Season 1, got listed on Recode’s marketplace, website, and app. 

Moreover, the brand also launched a ‘Shark Tank Sale’ on its website, offering up to 75 percent sales on its products, gaining massive traction. 

The brand has achieved sales of Rs 15 crore with a 6 percent net profit in FY22 and has forecasted sales of Rs 30 crore in FY23, out of which it has already clocked in Rs 11 crore. 

 

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Down, But Not Out: Flatheads Founder
Down, But Not Out: Flatheads Founder
 

Direct-to-Customer online casual sneakers brand Flatheads recently made an appearance on Shark Tank India Season 2 wherein, Founder Ganesh Balakrishnan made a pitch for his venture. 

An IIT graduate Balakrishnan built 3 companies that have not been successful, Flatheads started in 2019 provides breathable shoes from a sustainable material and one pair ranges from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000.

Sharks Peeyush Bansal, Co-Founder, Lenskart, and Vineeta Singh, Co-Founder, Sugar Cosmetics offered Rs 75 lakh for 33.3 percent equity in the company, valuing the company at Rs 2.25 crore, however, Balakrishnan reportedly rejected the same. 

Balakrishnan, in his recent LinkedIn post, stated, “Breaking down on national TV isn't exactly great for one's self-confidence. What I definitely didn't expect is the episode to be received the way it has been, and it is very heartening to see that people are applauding the entrepreneurial spirit - of all startup founders, with me as a proxy.”

While thanking the sharks, the show, and the platform, Balakrishnan added how Flathead’s India inventory is almost out of stock, proving that the brand is actually doing much better than it was seen on the show. 

One of the sharks, Anupam Mittal further commented about the brand, “He (Ganesh) came pitching soles but left baring his soul. In the process, Ganesh taught us all the power of openness, honesty, and acceptance. I often say 'entrepreneurship is not a straight line' and when you look back, it’s the biggest failures that are the most rewarding because 'success builds ego and failure builds character’.”

He further added, “I know because I have been there, not once but twice, made it big and then lost it all. All the best Ganesh Balakrishnan, as we discussed yesterday, the entire country seems to be rooting for you.”

Since Flatheads has an almost sold-out inventory in India, the brand through its post has suggested that one can check out its collection in the US on Zappos and in UAE, on Infinite Kart.

However, in a recent LinkedIn post, Ganesh Balakrishnan further said, "After the Shark Tank India episode aired on Friday, there has been an unbelievable wave of compassion and support across the country. And along with that, we've received record traffic on our Flatheads website, all organic. I'm super excited to share that we've sold out our limited remaining quantity of shoes in 2 days flat, and for the first time ever, our CAC was Zero."

 

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Why Mamaearth’s Rumored IPO Valuation Evoked Intense Digital Debate 
Why Mamaearth’s Rumored IPO Valuation Evoked Intense Digital Debate 
 

Mamaearth’s IPO valuation has become a topic of intense debate today. The proposed, super-premium initial public offering of Rs 2.900 crore has compelled industry insiders and think tanks to thrash out a multitude of factors to deduce its feasibility. At a time when the brand has been investing a lion’s share of its revenue (nearly 40 percent) on influencer marketing, the return on ad spend hasn’t inspired the trade much. The IPO valuation of $3 billion, as opposed to $1.2 billion in January last year, amounts to a staggering 1,000x jump in its profits, inviting intense scrutiny on social media platforms such as LinkedIn. The heat is such that even co-founder Ghazal Alagh’s and Varun Alagh’s defensive update denying the numbers doing the rounds, with a zing of Mamaearth’s vision, has done nothing to stifle the noise.

“Sharing below to throw some clarity on all the noise around valuations around our prospective IPO. In our DRHP as is the standard practice there is no mention of valuation. Valuation discovery is a process that will take place over time as we get into deeper conversations with the investor community. We have not quoted or subscribed to the valuation numbers which are getting mentioned in various posts on social media,” said Varun Alagh, Co-founder, Mamaearth in a LinkedIn post.

His statement was echoed by Ghazal Alagh, Co-founder, Mamaearth, who wrote, “We started Mamaearth with the purpose of providing toxin-free products for babies since we ourselves could not find the right products for our baby. God has been kind, luck favored us, consumers loved us and our team has put in crazy efforts to take it to a level where we are today with 6 amazing brands serving millions of Indian consumers.”

Chatter on ‘Unreal’ IPO 

Numbers do the talking, and angel investor Devansh Lakhani, Director and Startup Fundraising Expert of Lakhani Financial Service has provided a blow-by-blow account of Mamaearth’s lukewarm profit run in a LinkedIn post. 
 
“In FY23, H1 the company made a sale of Rs 684 crore with a marketing spend of Rs 272 crore. This gives them an ROI of 2.5 which isn’t that alluring. The company recorded a restated cumulative profit after tax (PAT) of Rs 3.67 crore in the first and second quarters of FY23, according to filings filed with SEBI. I doubt that investors would be interested in investing in a company that is worth 1,000 times its profit,” Lakhani stated.
 
Darshan Sheth from Reliance M&A called the valuations ‘atrocious’. In his scathing remark on LinkedIn, Sheth underscored how the company’s adjusted EBITDA for 1H FY23 ‘is only Rs 27 crore’. “Assuming a 5x growth in 2nd half FY23 (too aggressive), the consolidated EBITDA for the year is Rs 163 crore. The valuation being asked is $3 billion (Rs 24,000 crore). Thus EV/EBITDA is 148x!” he commented.

Now deemed to be a rumored offering, certain professionals have equated Mamaearth’s IPO figure with that of ‘value destroyers’ in the food aggregation and online payment platform verticals in India. 

“The Western D2C Companies like Warby Parker,  Casper, and Allbirds which had rapturous IPOs in 2021, saw crashing of their share prices by 70-90 percent and now trade at 1 times sales. Mamaearth, on the other hand, is bringing its IPO at 23 times sales! It is able to demand this valuation seemingly because it’s the first Indian D2C company to list on Indian bourse,” stated TusharKansal, Founder & CEO at Kansaltancy Ventures.

Option Value Also Vital for Correct Evaluation

Amidst all the critique, Sougata Basu, Founder, CashRich has urged the trade to give the founders “a fair chance to find the real valuation via the book-building process.” Arguing that there are several small-cap startups with initially low earnings which have performed well, he stated that the real valuation of the Gurugram-based unicorn brand should comprise DCF valuation and option value.  

“The DCF valuation (based on revenue, profit, cash flow, etc.) alone will not be enough to understand the true valuation. The real option value will try to capture any major work that's underway which could result in exponential growth (not linear). If we don't understand the above concept, then by default, all startup investments will be avoided,” Basu opined.

Bringing the Dialog Back to Customer Connections

Make no mistake, as the other side of the searing debate on financial profitability and fair valuations harps strongly on the strong emotional connections that Mamaearth has made as a successful D2C brand. Some claim that a significant part of the IPO proceeds will be used on marketing spending, thus generating employment opportunities for Indian youth. Explaining how all hope is not yet lost on Mamaearth, serial entrepreneur Nishant Mittal, Founder, SpotHealth cited the example of Magicpin, which has managed to raise $100 million despite having very low brand recall, thanks to rewarding relationships with investors who trust the brand vision in the long run.

Conclusion
 
All said and done, Mamaearth seems to weather this particular storm quite effectively with their latest video commercial, #GoodnessResolution, greeting 2023. Originating as a baby-care label, emotions run high in the core messaging of the brand, which was evident in the commercial wherein we see a couple lamenting over a pot of plant lying on the road out of utter negligence. Soon, a schoolgirl spots it, turns it back up, and waters the plant. While many may argue how Mamaearth is pushing for its plantation drive in association with product sales, the brand might also imply big bets on past achievements, so that investors don’t hesitate to fuel their ambitious growth plan.
 

 

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How to Build D2C Brands Via User Retention Strategy Powered by Engagement
How to Build D2C Brands Via User Retention Strategy Powered by Engagement
 

A brand must establish a relationship with its audience to stand out in today's crowded direct-to-customer (D2C) market. The most effective approach to do this is to initiate engagement. In the traditional sales industry, it is well known that concentration promotes trust and increases conversion rates. D2C brands need to offer more individualized and distinctive experiences to differentiate themselves from the competition and grow their consumer base. This depends on the efficient use of tools like AI, which can result in predictable customer experiences.

The development trajectory for D2C brands has been steadily rising since consumers continue to appreciate the security, comfort, and convenience that online shopping platforms offer. From being a niche and nice-to-have strategy, D2C marketing has grown into a powerful force driving the country's retail revolution.

Thanks to its tenacity, quick popularity, and increasing emphasis on delivering customer happiness, the D2C sector has emerged victorious in upending the retail and e-commerce status quo. D2C brands have embraced technical advancements to obtain a competitive edge.

Using AI to Enable Customer Acquisition and Retention

The development of AI has dramatically streamlined many areas of real-time digital consumer interaction. In-cart upsell refers to recommendations made using customer interactions and AI learning. As a result of the complete digitalization of operations, customers have become quicker to make purchasing decisions, and D2C businesses have concentrated on making clients feel welcomed on whatever platform where their products are displayed. Modern technology has also been included in D2C marketing, significantly reducing wait times and assisting in customer acquisition and retention through automated chat-based interactions.

Determine and Classify Potential Customers

A brand that wants to increase the number of its customers will choose several varied groups to focus its outreach. Segmentation based on demographics, interests, or behavior is a difficult task that requires a lot of time and resources. Integrating AI and ML, quickly detecting numerous categories across platforms, and compiling a quality list of prospects can accelerate this process. AI can use these characteristics to guide personalized dialogues with new and existing customers that are most likely to result in sales.

Respond and Engage with Repeat Customers

Most D2C businesses rely on customers' repeat business. AI can leverage insights from previous interactions and purchases to send return customers personalized messages at the right time. After reading information that has been personalized for them, the user ultimately develops a favorable opinion of a brand, which may boost and increase brand loyalty among current customers.

Experience Post-purchase

Brands are aggressively investing in digital solutions to address various business challenges throughout the operation cycle due to the growing competition in D2C. To increase sales, there is much focus on increasing brand recognition and offering a fantastic pre-purchase experience. However, businesses must remember that a trustworthy relationship between a brand and a customer is created when a buyer hits the buy button. To build a solid and prosperous business, the post-purchase experience is equally as crucial as the pre-purchase experience.

To generate repeat business, several post-purchase factors, including the ease of tracking purchases, on-time delivery, and customer service availability, are crucial in fostering consumer loyalty.

Data-driven logistics solutions are essential to the expansion of D2C businesses because they reduce errors, cut costs, and boost operational effectiveness - all of which are vital in providing the best post-purchase customer experience. D2C brands should concentrate on the pre-purchase expertise of the customer and emphasize the post-purchase experience, which includes easily tracking orders, making deliveries on schedule, and providing good customer service. As a result, brand reputation, customer loyalty, and retention rates may all rise.

Technology integration is necessary for D2C brands to prosper and streamline operations. Seeing the world through the customer's perspective and giving them the best overall user experience is crucial for retaining customers.
 

 

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E-commerce and D2C Records 2x Growth in Sales in 2022 in Comparison to 2019
E-commerce and D2C Records 2x Growth in Sales in 2022 in Comparison to 2019
 

E-commerce retailers and D2C Brands recorded sales worth Rs 76,000 crore during the one-month festival sale event, which almost doubled the pre-covid pandemic sale of Rs 40,000 crore in 2019.

As per the ‘Looking Back at India’s Internet Economy in 2022’ report by Redseer Strategy Consultants, Tier II and Tier III cities drove festive sales, as a significant portion of the sales came from electronic products and mobile phones.

Furthermore, the report observed that India includes 780 million internet users, where an average Indian person spends around 7.3 hours per day on their smartphone, one of the highest in the world.

This includes time spent across online messaging, social media, YouTube streaming, over-the-top (OTT) content, and short-form video. According to the report, most online users come from Tier II cities and beyond, with a new trend in content consumption where the time spent on user-generated content is two times more that the platform-generated content.

The report also suggested that with an increasingly high flow of consumers from Tier II cities and more adopting short video commerce, India is likely to witness a massive surge in digital ad investments instead of driving sales.

The increase in digital consumption and increased digital penetration in Tier II cities are the primary growth drivers responsible for the spike in India’s digital advertising ecosystem.

Apart from these developments, the report looked at the startups and how 80 percent of unicorns and unicorns are profitable or soon-to-be profitable. Moreover, the number of such startups has also rapidly increased in the last four years.

Additionally, in the agriculture sector, agri-tech was reported as an over $400 billion industry which is expected to grow to over $500 billion by FY26.

Taking note of India’s business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce market, the country’s fragmented retail market of over 13 million general trade (GT) stores or the local kirana stores will continue to drive the retail for the next decade.

As per the report, the eB2B market stood at $5 billion in 2021 and could touch $100 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) by 2030.

 

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How is HealthFab Providing Comfortable and Hassle-Free Solutions to Menstruating Women
How is HealthFab Providing Comfortable and Hassle-Free Solutions to Menstruating Women
 

Menstrual health is still a taboo in today’s world. More so in India, where women’s health issues are barely acknowledged, let alone discussed, in public. This is a characteristic that cuts across all demographics. Keeping all these things in mind, HealthFab was started with the purpose of providing a comfortable and hassle-free solution to menstruating women. Thus, the brand conceptualized and developed GoPadFree as the flagship product which happens to be the first of its kind truly leak-proof period underwear in India that doesn't need anything extra to be worn along the same during periods.

Along the journey, HealthFab’s biggest challenge has been to break through that social barrier and talk to potential customers. For a long time, right from the planning stage, the insights behind the product were taken from women who were friends and family. This continues to be a major challenge as the brand works upon expanding its customer base.

“We were looking to create a solution that would make the lives of the working women in our families easier. This prompted us to make a reusable period panty. The product was a direct solution to the problem at home. The women in our families found it difficult to go to work during their periods, for want of a place to change and a method to dispose of the old pads. But we soon felt that it was not a problem restricted to our households but faced by women globally. So, we decided to test this product in our inner circle, including more friends and family members who fell in this demographic. After six months of testing and incorporating their feedback, we came up with the final product, the GoPadFree reusable standalone period panty. The product is the first and currently the only one of its kind in India. It was listed on Amazon in 2020 and has become quite successful since then,” asserted Kiriti Acharjee, Co-founder, HealthFab.

The brand has not only received an encouraging response from the customers but also investors. “We never faced rejections from investors for being an all-male start-up in the Femtech domain. Most of the investors were welcoming, willing to understand more about our product, and business model,” he added.

GoPadFree panties are made with patent-pending technology using super-quality cotton and additional layers of microfiber, leakproof breathable layers that absorb the flow and do not allow it to leak outside. The use of cotton ensures the product is super comfortable.

The panties are available in 3 absorbency variants namely Lite, Heavy, and Ultra. They are available in two color options - red and black and nine different sizes starting from 2XS to 4XL in both colors. The brand plans to add more styles to the period panties eventually transitioning from a functional brand to a lifestyle brand.

Retail and Marketing Strategy

HealthFab is a digital-first brand wherein the marketing efforts are more focused on digital and social media as that is where the brand finds its potential customers.

“Our customers keep reviewing our products and there are so many instances of customer delight, happening regularly. They often switch from sanitary pads, tampons, and menstrual cups to GoPadFree period panties and share their happiness in getting the comfort of wearing nothing extra during periods,” said Acharjee.

Growth and Expansion

The brand is currently growing at an average rate of 300 percent annually. The products are validated online by prominent e-commerce sellers, and it has also acquired its first 100K customers. Moving forward, it is focusing on offline retail expansion and is in discussion with the modern retail chains across India and has plans to onboard soon.

“Apart from this, the products are available via Amazon in UAE and Saudi Arabia and shipped globally from our website. We are further planning for online expansion in Europe and Australia by the next year,”  Acharjee concluded.
 

 

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D2C: How the Role of Influencers is Changing 
D2C: How the Role of Influencers is Changing 
 

Large consumer brands have historically used business scale to get efficiencies in manufacturing, distribution, and media. This has made it harder for new competition to come up unless they’re willing to dedicate large budgets for a large time period.

By catering to higher socio-economic households as customers, D2C brands with a premium price positioning have negated the impact of the cost of manufacturers through third-party co-manufacturers. But the key reason for success has been the availability of these consumers on digital platforms. This has allowed D2C brands to disrupt the market in distribution as well as media by using digital means.

With more than 60 percent of Indian consumers using the internet, 700+ million smartphone users, and almost 80 percent of all pin codes serviceable for delivery in India, distribution of D2C brands is going to continue to grow on e-commerce through their own platforms as well as online marketplaces.

At the same time, with the growth of social media, there is also a growth of brand ads and cluttered content that may not be trustworthy. In this context, consumers have started following specific influencers that they trust in order to get information about the latest trends, styles, products, and brands. Influencers are people who have built a community online around their content, and their followers truly trust them.

D2C brands should work with these influencers too -

Create Quality Content That Is Relatable - Millennials are bored and cynical of pushy advertising created by the company’s internal teams, and trust content generated by customers like themselves or trusted influencers who they know. In fact, content produced with lower production values, but is more real and relatable, works better especially as performance marketing content on social media.
     
Plix has been consistently using real user and micro influencer-generated content to highlight the goodness and effectiveness of their plant-based and delicious nutrition and wellness products. The relatability and believability of these content pieces get them higher than benchmarked customer engagement and conversion.

Gain Trust for the Brand - Influencers are as famous and well-known to their followers as celebrities. In many cases, influencers endorsing a product is more trustworthy too because they are regular people like their followers. 

Customers are willing to believe a beauty influencer talking about cosmetic or personal care products from brands such as Loreal, The DermaCo, and Mcaffeine because they are seen as experts in that field, and have previously also shown their knowledge about such products, ingredients, and usage before.

Better Quality Traffic Into E-commerce Channels - Influencers manage to introduce the brand ethos, as well as explain the benefits and differentiators of the products through their content. This leads to high-intent customers clicking on the link on the content and reaching the D2C brand's website.
 
Influencer marketing is a powerful tool to get new D2C brands with low awareness to generate brand consideration and sales, both at the same time, with the high efficiency of RoAS. However, the basic insight behind using this tool effectively is – ‘People trust other people that are like them’ - at least more than they would trust brands or celebrities. Hence, to leverage influencers and their content best, be authentic in –

●    Choice of Influencers: This should be relevant to your customers and category.
●    Brief to Influencers: They work because their style of content works. Don’t try to change that with your brief in order to make a branded ad style of influencer content
●    Chasing the Right Metrics: There’s no point in vanity metrics such as the number of followers, impressions, or in some cases even engagement. Look towards meaningful impact output metrics such as sales, traffic to the website, organic traffic or search volumes, organic mentions on social media, etc.

The biggest advantage for D2C brands has been their ability to use micro-targeting to reach out to different consumer personas with different types of content. Influencer marketing is a key part of this approach. Influencer marketing goes beyond simple awareness creation for the brand, and into actually generating consideration and purchase intent. Hence higher conversion and quality traffic into e-commerce channels.
 

 

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How D2C Beauty Brands are Planning their Marketing Strategy to Promote their Products in a Competitive Market
How D2C Beauty Brands are Planning their Marketing Strategy to Promote their Products in a Competitive Market
 

Evolution in technology and the onset of the pandemic have shifted commerce from brick-and-mortar to online. As a result, consumers are now driving business. The majority of customers search online for almost all their needs, and the narrative has shifted to customers taking complete control of their purchasing journey and decision-making. Moreover, it allows companies to build seamless digital experiences across all touch points by adopting the direct-to-consumer route.

D2C companies cater to people's quest for simplicity. As much as consumers love to be spoilt with choice, D2C brands eliminate the hassle of researching, browsing, and culling from a plethora of options, making shopping effortlessly convenient for consumers. 

What is D2C? 

Direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands manufacture, market, and distribute their products without intermediaries, enabling themselves to reduce costs, directly interact with consumers, and ensure a seamless start-to-finish buyer experience.

A significant chunk of brands striving to stay ahead is driving the Indian $100 billion D2C addressable market to the next level. Online shopping in India is at an all-time high, fueled by over 700 million internet users, especially post-pandemic, portraying a 24 percent yearly growth.

As the pandemic gave an extra push leveraging to the digital world, online presence became the need of the hour. Whether an existing D2C firm or one planning to switch to a D2C model, building a robust online presence is paramount to succeed in today's increasingly hypercompetitive market.

Why is the D2C Model Gaining Traction Among Consumers and Beauty Brands?

More than 30 percent of consumers prefer to purchase products, especially beauty products, directly from the brand as it garners a touch of original and authentic products. Moreover, it assures the buyers that the products offered are manufactured initially and advertised by the makers, eliminating any possibility of duplicity or adulteration. 

Reducing the mediator allows brands to generate a considerable margin while having direct access to their consumers and their related data. Consequently, the number of direct-to-consumer (D2C) beauty brands has increased dramatically in recent years.

Besides the increased margin, brands leverage substantial benefits while adopting the D2C model: 

Enhanced Control Over Brand Messaging - In the typical manufacturer-retailer relationship, despite investing heavily in manufacturing and advertising, they could no longer influence sales, create relationships with customers, or collect data once the products are out with the retailer. The D2C model enables brands to get a good hold of the messaging, which further helps in gaining loyal customers.

Shift In Consumer Purchasing Patterns - With mobility restrictions, the pandemic fueled the e-commerce boom worldwide. In addition, higher internet connection, lower data costs, and the digital payments boom are all factors driving the digital economy. As a result, D2C beauty brands operating in the digital mode benefited greatly from the shift toward digital purchasing trends.

Brands can now design creative ways to capture market share or enhance penetration levels in different consumer pools by monitoring purchases with product categories, value, and volume data and analyzing customer habits and reactions. In addition, brands can leverage targeted marketing, ensuring that the right consumer is getting suitable ads. Direct-to-consumer marketing tactics allow you to seamlessly combine brand growth and brand awareness with higher income and sales. SEO, search PPC, and paid-media marketing are all excellent strategies to expand a company's online presence while generating revenue. 

Enhanced Market Opportunities - Global exposure is no longer a far-fetched reality for home-grown brands, as D2C aids brands in reaching potential consumers across geographical boundaries. Therefore, it is vital to constantly innovate the strategy responding to the fluctuating needs of end-users and efficiently scale to sustain in the competitive market conditions. D2C allows brands to introduce new products on a smaller scale, test them with specific demographics, and collect feedback. Thus, enabling manufacturers to understand, improve, create and sell consumer-centric products according to their needs and demands.

Customer Retention and Brand Loyalty - Stories that resonate with the beauty brand's values have the potential to relate with the customers well, increasing the possibility of customer retention. Therefore, the strategy of D2C brands is proactively centered around pursuing, converting, and retaining customers. Consumers prefer interacting with the brand maker on various virtual podiums and making preference-based purchases. Beauty brands interact with customers via email, chat sessions, apps, and social media forums, and brands can understand customer preferences, developing expectations, and product demand. As a result, D2C manufacturers have information that leads to delivering better service and support to their consumers. Through tailored marketing campaigns, they can use customer connections to build strong relationships and promote retention.

Let us further walk through the trending marketing strategies for cosmetic and beauty brands to turn existing products into engaging beauty brands the audience will know, like, trust and purchase:

Build up the Owner's Personal Brand - In the crowded beauty market, differentiating from competitors is essential to ensure that the consumers know and are aware of the brand. Building your personal brand is crucial to promote your beauty business. Beauty products are unique and intimate; personal experiences help drive connection and trust. Giving product context and the inspiration to create the brand and the behind scenes of the product's life cycle will differentiate you from your competitors and allows shoppers to relate to you. 

Create Distinctive Brand Design and Messaging - Devoting time and effort to figuring out the brand story, the colors, the packaging, and the words used to describe the brand's unique features is essential to ensure that the product is branded and stands out. Being confident with the story and context tied to the unique brand and beauty product concerning the colors, logo, labeling, or packaging will save you from the dilemma of considering constant change if someone has an opinion.

Unique Package Design - Beauty products in different and unique packaging have the potential to draw attention and leave a mark behind immediately. Unusual package design works favorably to market a beauty product as it can be an objective point of differentiation for the brand and connect with the audience in a relatable way.

Drive Traffic to Your Cosmetic Business Website - The massive digital world has various components to help beauty brands drive digital traffic. 

Use Paid Ads - Facebook, Google, Instagram, or Pinterest Ads - The quickest way to drive traffic is paid ads, which are beneficial to get subscribers onto the brand's mailing list or have a special promotion or launch scheduled. 

Generate Organic Traffic:

Create a Content Strategy to Promote the Beauty Brand - To increase engagement, well-researched and strategically planned content should be prepared according to the target audience and delivered on the social podiums where they are primarily present. The brand must be sure of what it wants the audience to know and feel and a call to action once they have seen the video, picture, reel, pin, blog, or any content produced. 

Create an Easily Searchable Website - A brand website is an essential part of the marketing strategy for beauty products. Creating a website, an exclusive online space, is easily accessible to people who can buy what you're selling. In addition, the website needs to be optimized using SEO or search engine optimization for e-commerce brands.

Create a Community of Beauty Enthusiasts - A community is people interested in the brand's products, which increases the possibility of product sales, user-generated content, and word-of-mouth marketing. In addition, the community people provide real-time feedback and often serve as brand advocates.

Collaborate with Beauty Businesses and Influencers - Marketing beauty products through collaborations with industry people is a quick way forward. Partnering with spas, salons, and make-up studios is an excellent source to expose beauty products to a warm audience.

Influencers collaborate with the brand to post about the products on social media if they send them PR packages. The catch is creating strategic relationships to help the beauty brand grow its business.

Use E-mail Marketing to Remain Visible - Many marketers swear by the importance of email marketing for any brand to stay visible on the digital platform and keep customer relationships warm and engaging. It is an effective way to communicate online with the targeted or existing audience.

Various direct-to-consumer brands are currently making a significant impact through e-commerce in managing customer expectations. Therefore, implementing some strategies and best practices will help businesses to scale further.

 

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The Growth of D2C: Retail and the Role of Quality Engineering
The Growth of D2C: Retail and the Role of Quality Engineering
 

Intermediaries and resellers are being phased out! Direct-to-consumer (D2C) and retail channels are leading the change in retail. The pandemic compressed years of direct-to-consumer growth into a few months. D2C enables retailers to manage, and gain insights from their data, allowing them to tailor personalized propositions and loyalty programs. 

The Challenges of D2C

D2C requires a considerable degree of communication between customer-facing apps and integrations which results in a large cloud data footprint. Customer data, including sensitive personal data and payment details, are cybersecurity liabilities for retailers. For D2C models, logistics companies can be perceived as the face of a company and may require additional brand and culture collaboration to maintain consistent levels of customer service. 

Engagement

Today's online and in-store customers expect a rich experience and personalized offers. The D2C model with its advantage of access to customer data can be used to segment and target existing and similar groups of potential buyers. The combined application of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) can help retailers derive insights from large sets of big data and drive campaigns that boost sales. 

Success Stories

Qualitest group is directly aiding the transition to efficient business models – we helped reinvent the global logistics fulfillment systems of a large global brand. As part of the program, Qualitest helped digitize robotic order picking to label printing systems of 42 warehouse distribution centers. In another successful program, Qualitest helped one of the largest grocery companies in the US to validate the accuracy of their stock checking using drones.

Feedback Driven Response

A market that is moving at a fast pace needs regular, feedback-driven updates and rigorous testing. Faster deployments, channels for customer communication, and integrations to order fulfillment systems are backed by AI & ML based on quality engineering, security testing, and IoT testing. Content management systems(CMS) and product and inventory management systems (PIM) systems need additional focus in the retail space as these are the applications that drive marketing efforts and order fulfillment services.

Qualitest, with its sound quality engineering expertise across the entire value chain of the retail industry, is a trusted partner of global retailers and helps them respond to market changes with the right mix of intervention in business processes and technological change.

 

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How are D2C Brands Growing with Their Innovative Strategies in a Competitive World?
How are D2C Brands Growing with Their Innovative Strategies in a Competitive World?
 

Direct-to-consumer (D2C) as a business model has gained much traction in the last few years. It has become a challenging player from a niche segment, redefining India's retail narrative. Apart from that, the endless benefits it offers directly to the consumers have also led to the popularity D2C has achieved over time. It has helped build direct relationships with consumers and scale operations. Apart from this, testing is the key! There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution here, so it's important to discover a method that suits you best whether it’s your content, branding, or product strategy.

Choosing the D2C business model is an excellent relief for any brand. Regardless of the size, area of operation, or industry, a D2C approach can make a difference in determining the success of any brand. For starters, you can save huge on the margins and sell products at much lower costs to the end consumer. Secondly, you'll have better control over manufacturing, supply, distribution, and fulfillment channels by selling directly to consumers. And most significantly, you can connect better with customers by delivering them a personalized omnichannel voyage.

While there are a lot of trends and innovative strategies that have the potential to affect the way the D2C market operates, I would like to mention a few which I believe are essential:

-    Innovation has to be pervasive and a mindset or culture in an organization. 

-     With social media and influencer marketing, D2C companies are expanding their reach to compete with their traditional counterparts. They've enforced automation across verticals, including product development, marketing, sales, and logistics, using analytical tools to improve customer service. Innovation can help improve every function, whether revenue-generating or not.

-    Innovation also comes from collaboration, autonomy, and design thinking. It is required to constantly streamline operations and unite with partners to ensure better and more efficient use of capital. 

-    Innovation through the use of modern technologies and data is vital for the brand's survival and expansion. The rise of e-commerce marketplaces and online shopping allowed brands to expand faster than ever.

-    Innovation is at the core of it all. Brands must be driven by both content and design. Whether a challenge involves a product, communication, creativity, operations, or logistics, divergent thinking can be used to tackle it.

-    D2C brands disrupt categories by creating new experiences, innovating products and services, and exploring new distribution channels. 

-    Innovation through outsourcing is a common practice in business today in lieu of which brands get fresh, new content that they can use for their own marketing campaigns. Partnering with third-party publications enables brands to explore new opportunities and innovate.

Brands still need to consider the D2C model risk of losing loyal customers whose behavior and expectations have changed. A Statista report suggests that 55 percent of buyers now prefer to shop directly with the brand compared to multi-brand retailers. Another 50 percent prefer to visit brand websites for comprehensive product information. 

Digital-first D2C brands now have a more extensive and more accessible consumer base to tap into. In addition, the power of new-age technology, such as AI and other aids, can enhance the consumer experience while amplifying visibility.

D2C market players are extending their reach to Tier II and III cities after experiencing accomplishments in metropolitan cities. Therefore, businesses must unlock the potential of these cities. Like e-commerce, many believe D2C will eventually spread from metros to smaller towns and cities.
 

 

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{Exclusive} Wellbeing Nutrition Eyes Funding of $10 mn to Expand Globally
{Exclusive} Wellbeing Nutrition Eyes Funding of $10 mn to Expand Globally
 

Wellbeing Nutrition, one of India’s leading plant-based nutrition companies is looking to raise $8-10 million in funding this quarter. The brand has received interest from some of the leading VC funds and a few strategic investors globally.

The brand will be using these funds to scale operations, build a senior global team and increase manufacturing capacity with new facilities in the USA and India, along with strengthening its R&D and research team while also building new categories 

The brand has expanded multi-fold since the last Series A fundraising of $ 2.2 million from Fireside Ventures in July 2021. Without any additional capital, its expected ARR is Rs 150 crore, unlike all its peers. Wellbeing Nutrition has achieved a milestone of break-even in March this year and moved towards 5 percent profitability since.

The brand in the last year has been able to reach out to close to 30 million audiences in the country with a 400 percent growth in net revenue over the previous year. The brand has already established a leadership position in the Melts Oral Thin Strips category already catering to a million plus consumers. To add to this the brand is already in the final stages to close some partnerships in the sports category along the lines of the Disney collaboration which consisted of Marvel and Frozen melts for Kids.

Avnish Chhabria, Founder said, “Ever since our inception, we have moved closer towards achieving new milestones. It makes us proud to be a homegrown brand that’s put India on the global map and is present in over 5 countries with 50+ variants. We are looking forward to the new funding and plan to use the funds for our expansion globally.

Previously, celebrities and wellness enthusiasts like Mira Kapoor, Rakul Preet Singh, and Dulquer Salmaan have also invested in Wellbeing Nutrition.

We are looking forward to the funding to scale operations, building a senior global team, and increase manufacturing capacity with new facilities in the USA and India, along with strengthening our R&D and research team globally, while also building new categories,” he added.

In the last 1 year Wellbeing Nutrition has scaled operations to over 3000+ stores across India and expanded its presence globally in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the Netherlands, the UK, and the USA.

Our major aim is to expand ourselves globally. We're present in India, the Middle East, North Africa (MENA), the Netherlands, the UK, and the USA. In the next 5 years, we aim to be recognized across the nooks and corners of India as well as the world,” he concluded.

 

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3 Emerging Trends in India's Fashion D2C Space
3 Emerging Trends in India's Fashion D2C Space
 

The pandemic of 2020 has paved the way to establish India as an important landmark for various industries. Gradually growing into a hub for one of the emerging sectors - direct-to-consumer (D2C) companies have been significantly boosting to create a positive impact. The development of e-commerce and new AI-powered technologies have accelerated D2C business growth.

Pertaining to the idea, the fashion industry has grabbed the lead in this area along with several segments that are performing well in this space. The discretionary expenditure in the fashion segment is higher than in other D2C industries, but it also increases competitiveness in the D2C fashion market. According to a study, the D2C sector's development potential is strongest in the apparel industry. 

By 2025, 77.6 percent of the online D2C fashion industry will be made up of the categories of clothing and footwear, which are the most important ones in the fashion sector. The rise of e-commerce, social media, and new technology has made this process immensely easier for businesses. In today’s era, people want more individualized goods and services, which has resulted in a substantial shift in consumer behavior since the pandemic.

Rise of D2C Fashion Brands

The new generation of Indian consumers now shops only at D2C fashion brands. Fashion brands can perform incredibly well by adopting the D2C model since it gives them complete access to consumer data, superior control over the customer experience, and the opportunity to foster and capitalize on brand loyalty. By investing in cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence and setting up a reliable supply chain, D2C fashion firms may effectively plan their long-term growth strategy.

With the D2C model, businesses have total freedom to use chatbots to engage with customers, respond to their questions, and connect with them. Through conversational commerce, a further application of chatbots, businesses are even using social media sites like WhatsApp, Facebook, e-mail, and Instagram to offer goods and services to clients directly. Consumers increasingly receive curated handwritten notes and personalized messaging that offer them a special perspective and a sense of connection to the business and the brand. To stand out in the growing market, several companies employ community-building tactics.

The Inclination of Consumers Towards D2C Businesses

Nowadays, consumers rely largely on internet fashion since it is more affordable, convenient, and provides immediate gratification. Compared to other industries, fashion has an edge in terms of logistics - shipping to thousands of pin codes across India, which is not necessarily the case for high-end watches, jewelry, electronics, and furniture. Due to social media exposure, customers are more aware of their needs and open to discovering new regional brands that operate on direct-to-consumer (D2C) channels. This has made it possible for D2C and fresh start-up brands to compete with established ones in the fashion industry. Above all, the simple exchange, refund, and return policies have provided online fashion shops with the best means of gaining the trust of their customers.

In the end, these elements are luring more investors to fund domestic fashion firms. They are also doing so since a lot of new start-ups are using their client base and social media presence to dominate the Indian markets. They surpass the Rs 100 crore revenue milestone before the established brands.

Expansion of Consumer Base 

With fashion D2C brands intending to increase their presence in Tier II and Tier III cities after growing with good efficiency in Tier I cities, smaller towns have promise, and businesses should make use of this to investigate and expand their consumer base. Constantly working to adapt to new and developing trends in order to stay one step ahead of their rivals, personalization of items is on the rise. 

In the last two years, D2C brands have undoubtedly been able to boost engagement and bring in more customers, but the next challenge will be to maintain them and earn their loyalty. The aforementioned elements point to the D2C fashion industry's enormous potential, which, if realized, will set the tone for the next ten years.

 

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D2C Vs Marketplace: Which is More Effective for Personal Care Brands during Festive Sale
D2C Vs Marketplace: Which is More Effective for Personal Care Brands during Festive Sale
 

It is that time of the year when the festival season takes over the country. While customers throng to their favorite e-commerce websites and portals to shop to their heart’s content, the festive shopping season is also the perfect time for companies to accelerate their marketing objectives. Brands must optimize the Festive sales period to bolster customer acquisition and revenue generation. 

It has been noticed that personal care brands are increasingly leveraging digital marketplaces to acquire new customers. This is primarily because marketplaces have access to existing customers who may have not shopped for a particular brand yet. Moreover, these brands can spend enormous amounts on marketing costs in an attempt to gain new customers on their platforms as well.

For D2C platforms, success stems from enhancing short bursts of sales, experimenting with newer offers, and making sure this is conducted post the festive time on Marketplaces to counter the reduction in daily revenue rates one sees post-sale months on these platforms.

With respect to the personal care industry as a market, it has been witnessed that logistics and marketing costs are usually high while the Average Selling Prices are less. This makes it imperative to curb the dependence on D2C particularly during Festive Sale season lest the Average Order values are increased.

In the last 10 years, E-commerce has witnessed a meteoric rise. The pandemic has inadvertently transformed the business dynamics across industries. This has led all brands, whether big or small, to shift towards online business models. However, it was only a matter of time before brands realized the negative aspects of having to seek customers in online marketplaces. 

The period between the months of August and December is inarguably the optimum time for orchestrating your sales plans as the abundant festivals across the country attract plenty of customers. This makes it the perfect time for all local, homegrown brands to put their strategies to test and permeate the D2C space. 

While the benefits of being active on e-commerce marketplaces are far too many to dismiss, a number of brands have registered stable growth in their D2C channels by attempting diverse customer acquisition approaches.

With several advantages that brands have witnessed through selling via D2C rather than e-commerce, brands can exercise absolute control over the business, simplify cost management, gain a clearer understanding of customer inclinations, and curtails marketing costs.

During the opening years, brands must focus on investing across marketing as acquisition costs are sky-high. Over a course of time, these costs tend to fall as the brand begins to carve organic visibility and achieve a decent percentage of sales month on month which usually occurs through customer retention.

The benefit of marketing through e-commerce portals is the extensive visibility that a brand achieves while contending with hundreds of brands across multiple price ranges. Having a website at your command enables you to target a captive audience and the opportunity to interact with them to greater effect as compared to any e-commerce platform. It is prudent for small emerging businesses to leverage e-commerce as an ‘advertising medium’ that can assay an essential part in the brand expansion. 

 

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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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{D2C 100} DailyObjects: Functional Accessories
{D2C 100} DailyObjects: Functional Accessories
 

DailyObjects is a functionality and design-driven brand that creates aspirational products for every day. The brand caters to a wide range of lifestyle categories including tech accessories such as smartphone cases, designer watchbands, AirPod cases, laptop sleeves, wireless solutions, tech briefcases, and organizers as well as lifestyle accessories such as desk accessories, backpacks, messenger bags, other lifestyle bags, wallets, travel accessories among others.

DailyObjects has been on steady growth and profitable path for the past four years. The company clocked 2X growth in the past year and is EBITDA positive for the last three years. For FY 22-23, the brand is on Rs 80 crore ARR with a gross margin of more than 50 percent while 65 percent of its sales come from our platforms. 40 percent of the brand sale comes from Tier-III and IV cities. 

65 percent of sales come from our platform while the remaining 35 percent of sales come from other marketplaces.  

“We not only plan to enter the global market but we will also be launching DailyObjects ’products at 100 Apple Premium stores in the next 3-4 months. Talking in figures, we intend to earn revenue of Rs 120-130 crore by next year, and our business target is to cross Rs250 crore gross sales target by the next two years. We wish to achieve the Rs 500 crore revenue mark by 2025,” Pankaj Garg, Co-Founder, and CEO, DailyObjects stated.

 

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{D2C 100} WOW Skin Science: Natural Skincare
{D2C 100} WOW Skin Science: Natural Skincare
 

WOW Skin Science is a direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand focusing on the beauty and wellness market. The brand offers skin care, hair care, body care, and wellness products to consumers. The products are targeted at consumers in the age group of 15 to 50.

The brand leverages the digital platform to reach various markets across the country. It primarily continues to be sold through various e-commerce platforms. WOW Skin Science does have a presence in physical stores including large format beauty outlets, department stores, and health and wellness shops. The ratio is still over 70 percent digital and 30 percent physical.

One of the biggest successes of the brand has been the introduction of its paper tubes for face washes. This has helped it take a big step towards becoming a more sustainable brand. Also, the brand was able to expand its team and set up a special product innovation team that is constantly involved in working on new formulations and innovative SKUs.

“Going further, we plan to launch new products and new formats of skin and hair care solutions. Also, we are driving towards becoming a clean, green beauty brand. We will look at strengthening the same. Besides, we are also exploring international markets with our products,” Manish Chowdhary, Co-Founder, WOW Skin Science said.

 

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{D2C 100} Zouk: Going Cruelty-Free
{D2C 100} Zouk: Going Cruelty-Free
 

Zouk, a 100 percent PETA-approved cruelty-free bags and accessories brand entered the billion-dollar-plus industry in 2016. It offers products in the category that was predominantly offline driven prior to the pandemic.

“With the twin effect of the shift to online and the country opening up, we are seeing a massive boost in online buying in our category,” stated Disha Singh, Founder, and CEO, Zouk.

While most players offer western looking products, majorly made of animal-based leather, Zouk offers products that are made in India and provide an Indian look and feel. The brand’s products are currently focused on the bags, accessories, and footwear category for women.

“Our customers love our products as they are made of traditional Indian handicraft fabric like Ikat portraying Indian heritage via printed motifs. With our mission to bring stylish and functional products, we aim to build a large global lifestyle brand that has deep roots in the Indian culture,” added Singh.

The brand currently serves 2 lakh+ customers across the country and has witnessed 16x growth in its business. The brand has raised Rs 11.75 crore in pre-series A led by Stellaris Venture Partners.

Zouk, currently available on its own D2C website and other e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, Ajio, and Myntra, aims to expand its current collection of products while adding newer segments.

“We will also be expanding into newer channels of distribution and geography. We are planning to expand in the USA, Canada, and Europe, as a few bespoke orders have already been closed for these geographies,” concluded Singh.

 

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{D2C 100} Amrutam: Betting Big on Commerce
{D2C 100} Amrutam: Betting Big on Commerce
 

Amrutam is a preventive and therapeutic brand, offering both application-based and consumable products focusing on holistic healing and addressing the root cause. Its goal has always been to bring together a community of individuals who are as passionate about Ayurveda and natural living as the brand. 

Currently, the brand has 100+ products listed on its website in different categories - hair, skin, and health. It started amrutam.global as a side project in 2019 to offer Ayurveda consultations to its customers who would often call it and ask it to connect them with its Ayurveda docs and although it has been running in stealth mode since then - it helped the brand understand the pain points of customers and how a large segment of audience from Tier-1 cities are shifting to ayurvedic consultations and making them as their first choice when dealing with lifestyle concerns.

The Step Forward 

The brand has been working on and building a mobile app. “With this app, we plan to include Commerce, Community, Content & Consultations at play - where commerce remains the majority stakeholder like always,” Agnim Gupta, Principal: Tech & Growth, and Stuti Ashok Gupta, Principal: Brand & Vision, Amrutam said.

The app would offer features where - Ayurveda experts/ Yoga professionals listed on its platform would be able to offer consultations, produce content, build their own audience and engage with them on the platform itself. 

 

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How D2C Brands are Planning to Drive Sales This Festive Season
How D2C Brands are Planning to Drive Sales This Festive Season
 

The longest festive season in India, which begins from mid-September and stretches till mid-November, is currently underway. The brands are seeing a steep rise in positive sentiments in product adoption as the latent need to get together and celebrate what was significantly subdued due to the pandemic. Nearly 65 percent of households across the country plan to spend during the current festive season, according to a new survey by LocalCircles.

With pent-up demand and the opening up of travel and leisure, the phenomenon of revenge spending is expected to drive up demand this season. Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) brands are aggressively pursuing their own strategies to woo customers. In a bid to build up their pandemic-induced growth, D2C brands like IGP, Zouk, Solethreads, and The Tribe Concepts are ramping up their offerings, building their inventory as well as increasing tech capabilities and marketing functions.

Ramping Up Product Offerings

Keeping in mind that stylish casual wear is in vogue during these times, Solethreads is coming up with footwear designs that will amp up the style quotient of Millennials and GenZ. For this festive season, the brand is currently focusing on open footwear including flip-flops, slippers, and slides, and is aggressively working on launching other categories in the casual footwear segment soon. Its average current price point range is between Rs 700-800.

“Our experience and engagement strategies consist of one core philosophy of being 'design-led' as product design is the precursor to any kind of interaction that a customer will have with a product on any channel, whether it is just browsing a product, buying it, or even recommending it. We provide sustainable and recycled footwear and to promote upcycling and circular fashion, we have launched the 'reuse program' where consumers can replace their old flip flops for new ones,” Sumant Kakaria, CEO and Founder, Solethreads said.

Meanwhile, Zouk claims that during the festive season, consumers pick more India-inspired products. The brand’s most popular choices remain its Indian office bags and tote bags. Zouk will also see good movement in its slings and handbags, given people buy products as gifts or for casual outings. As travel has picked up, the brand is also seeing a good uptick in its backpacks also.

This festive season, Zouk has added office bellies along with a new collection of casual flats and sandals. Furthermore, with a request from its consumers to add a gift box option, the brand has added the same across all its products.

“Office bags, tote bags, and sling bags would be the personal favorite for the season. The average price range for the category would be between Rs 1,000-2,000. In footwear, we believe bellies, chappals, and casual flats are our bestsellers and the average price range would be between Rs 800-2,500,” Disha Singh, Founder and CEO, Zouk stated.

How D2C Brands are Planning to Drive Sales This Festive Season

IGP, too, expands its offerings every festive season in gifting, fashion accessories, floral bouquets, sweets, cakes, etc. This festive season, it has also launched a new collection of gift products, all revamped to cater to the latest vogue.

“Our gifting products will come in customized packaging to add to the festivities. Gourmet sweets, festive fashion apparel, festive essentials, and accessories are always the most searched categories on our portal, and customers tend to spend lavishly on products under these categories, making them the bestsellers every festive season,” Tarun Joshi, Founder and CEO, IGP asserted.

Similarly, The Tribe Concepts already has festive gifting which contributes to a major portion of its festive sales. The brand has a lineup of much-requested minis and a new skincare line targeted at pigmentation. Apart from this, it has products that address issues head to toe - so it’s very flexible and easy for its buyers to make customizations of their own.

“Skincare continues to be our best seller category - come winter it is going to increase more as we are having new launches planned for skin care and hair care as a category has seen stable growth. Bring a gateway brand our average price point range from Rs 800-1,200,” Amritha Varshini Gaddam, Founder and CEO, The Tribe Concepts added.

Revamping Supply Chain Network

Solethreads is opening up new warehouses and regional fulfillment centers in Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Kolkata to cater to the high demand.

Similarly, Zouk has massively scaled its supply chain to build up inventory for the festive season. It has also set up a strong collaboration with Amazon and Myntra, to expand its reach beyond its own website. Both of these will ensure it can get its products in the hands of more Indian consumers.

“One of the key concerns from our customers has been that our products get sold out very fast. To counter it, we have enhanced our inventory so that we can ensure more consumers across India get to carry a Zouk bag or wear a Zouk footwear,” Singh explained.

IGP has a global footprint with customers spanning 100+ countries and the capability to deliver gifts to over 150+ countries and 1,000+ cities in India. It is currently expanding its delivery network through dark stores and is looking to automate wherever possible.

“We are in the process of expanding our dark stores' network to more than 120 new dark stores pan India that will further bolster our already impressive fulfillment infrastructure of existing 40 dark stores that 3 mother warehouses support,” Joshi said.

Integration of Technology

IGP has automated online procedures, warehouse, and operations management software, etc., to cater the best services to our customers this festive season, while The Tribe Concepts has strengthened all its Analytics divisions by dashboarding all the reports and implementing SAP for smoother on-ground operations.

Solethreads has proprietary formulations and technologies like Superfoam footbeds and Ecotread soles and it is working on a newer formulation to provide the next level of comfort. All its product launches are use case based and it has launched concepts like grass slippers, all-terrain anti-skid, yoga mat slippers, etc. this year which have already become its bestsellers.

“With more than 30 design and technology patents under our umbrella already, our constant endeavor is to keep innovating for our consumers,” Kakaria said.

Zouk believes in the power of live commerce and hence has planned a bunch of live sessions on its Instagram handle and has done a couple with Flipkart too. “These have already seen great engagement and that is a big way for us as an online brand to break the barrier and answer questions that online consumers always have,” Singh claimed.

How D2C Brands are Planning to Drive Sales This Festive Season

Sales Target

During the festive season, The Tribe Concepts is looking forward to gaining more sales from its website. It plans to close the festive year on a high by clocking in at least Rs 5 crore worth of business on books.

Zouk claims that it has already started very strong on marketplaces like Amazon and Myntra, while its own website continues to be big and that wave will now continue from here till next March.

“In the past 2 years, a lot has changed, even Zouk as a brand. This has helped the brand grow over 16X from pre-pandemic. We now have over 2.5 lakh happy customers across every state in India. We expect this pace to continue and we will do more sales this year compared to last year,” Singh stated.

IGP believes that its superior design-to-delivery consumer experience, farm-to-table supply chain, and extensive same-day delivery network can cater to the rising demand for festive gifting from Tier-II and III cities.

“The pandemic did impact the overall sales last year. However, we are expecting an increment of approximately 100 percent in sales this festive season,” Joshi noted.

READ MORE: Consumers Expected To Spend Higher This Festive Season

Future Outlook

At present, IGP provides same-day delivery to almost 400+ cities in India and 24 to 72-hour delivery in over 1,000 cities. In addition to the mentioned figures, the brand plans to mark its presence exponentially in Tier-II and III cities nationwide. In the next two years, IGP aims to be the largest and most preferred destination for all special purchases.

“We also look forward to increasing our brand footprint in the commercially sound international markets of North America, the UK, and Australia,” Joshi said.

Zouk is present in 30+ multi-brand outlets on the offline side. The brand looks to expand this offline retail presence further in the coming quarters.

Solethreads is also going full throttle to increase its retail footprint in the Indian market. It eyes to establish its presence in 2000 MBOs until the end of this financial year.

“This is roughly 5X than our current retail footprint. Apart from these 2000 retail MBOs, we are also foraying into large format retail stores this fiscal year,” Kakaria informed.

The Tribe Concepts is also looking forward to expanding its online channels and offline stores by having exclusive stores for the brand. “We are looking more forward to expanding the business, targeting new audiences, and witnessing an increase in the conversions,” Gaddam concluded.

 

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Why Pure Sense is Betting Big on Food Like Skincare
Why Pure Sense is Betting Big on Food Like Skincare
 

Pure Sense, a personal care brand that offers a range of Skincare, Mood Elevating Fragrances, and Bath & Body products, believes beauty is deeply rooted in well-being and its mission is to create delightful little luxuries for self-care. 

Keeping this in mind, Pure Sense products are carefully crafted to look, feel and smell amazing, uplifting the user’s mood with every use. With holistic wellbeing at its core, the Pure Sense Skincare range is loaded with care ingredients derived from food sources, making it ‘food like skincare’. The current portfolio has ~70 SKUs.

“We believe, that in the current market there is a gap - where skincare is seen as something functional, as opposed to being an integral part of holistic wellbeing. With Pure Sense’s ‘food-like skincare, we are aiming to bridge that gap and transform the way people perceive skincare,” asserted the Spokesperson of the brand.

“Pure Sense products have no parabens, no sulfates, no carcinogens, are 100 percent cruelty-free, and promise to refrain from giving half-truths or false claims. The packaging is recyclable and Pure Sense is committed to planting a tree for every 20 products sold,” he further added. 

Retail Strategy

Pure Sense is a digitally native brand and its primary strategy is to engage, understand and deliver consumers exactly where they are. Therefore, Pure Sense products are widely available online on key platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa, Myntra, Swiggy, Blinkit, and its own website. 

According to the spokesperson, “We have also expanded our presence in select neighborhood beauty stores across key metros in India.”

Offering Innovative Products

Keeping in line with Pure Sense’s ‘food like skincare’ proposition, the brand has launched the Pure Sense Pink Guava Face Scrub, with a unique pink guava pulp-like texture and fragrance. 

“We have extended similar sensorial to the Pure Sense Natural Papaya Face Scrub and will continue to innovate in offering sensorially pleasing, unique textures with strong functional benefits,” he added. 

Future Plans

With the lifestyle changes that the pandemic brought with it, the brand has witnessed an increase in consumers’ focus on holistic well-being. Today, people are actively focusing on self-care and investing both, time and money, in their well-being. 

“And with wellbeing at its core Pure Sense has launched various pre-bundled gift boxes this festive season with ‘self-care’ as the central theme, at highly competitive prices. Customers can also customize and purchase Pure Sense hampers on-the-spot at select offline stores,” he stated.

“Going ahead, we are looking to proliferate in the skincare and fragrances categories in the next few quarters. We are also aiming to continue to be present on more channels online and rapidly expand our presence in offline stores,” he concluded.
 

 

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How Earth Essence is Innovating to Create Clean and Vegan Personal Care Products
How Earth Essence is Innovating to Create Clean and Vegan Personal Care Products
 

Imagine a world where our beauty and personal care routine is directed and governed by synthetic products cleverly camouflaged as the need of the capitalistic hour. Imagine a scenario where our personal care is blindly surrendered to the hands of synthetic ingredients, and our very body and health readily succumb to the ever-expanding realm of noxious chemicals and obnoxious ignorance. Is it anywhere close to the pleasant life these products guarantee? Does it, in any way, reflect the beauty and personal care these fast-selling products brand themselves on? 

To turn the negating answer into an assertive reality, Ashish Kampani launched Earth Essence. With the advent of synthetic chemicals infusing our body, the purity that our 100 percent pure and natural products offer is the need of the hour. 

“Our products vouch for a more harmless personal care, a totally reliable beauty routine, and a purer shift to cosmetics. Earth Essence is the solace you need to get away from the destructive world of synthetics to unison with nature,” he asserted.

“The idea behind introducing the brand is to be the brand that will free the planet and the consumer of harmful toxins cleverly camouflaged in personal care products and give the consumer an honestly natural and organic alternative,” he further added.

The brand is betting big on hair and skincare as the category is the most common category which we use in our daily routine, regardless of age, sex, or demographics we all indulge in some or the other form under this category.

“The fact that we are here to clean up the act of personal care industry by using innovation and nature to create clean, green, and pure organic products gives us the conviction that we can pull this off, most of the brands are Green Washing the consumers and blatantly pedaling lies and false claims, whereas, we are here to deliver on our promises without any greenwashing or lies or false claims,” he explained.

“We are not here just to sell our products to the consumers, we are here to gain their trust,” he further added.

Retail Strategy

The last few years have changed the way brands retail and market most of their products. It is the digital era driven by social media and online stores, hence, Earth Essence’s retail strategy is in lieu of the latest trend by exploring social media to showcase and market its products to the world. 

“To begin with, we will put our products online with our own store and various marketplaces making use of influencers and exploring the network of social media. And as of now, we want our focus to strengthen on our online channel and create a seamless, hassle-free, and quick experience for all our visitors and consumers,” he explained.

Technology: The Soul of Brand

Technology is an integral and consistent part of a brand’s system as it has been using it right from its research and development stages to formulating, production, packaging, and now even distributing and selling.

“Apart from this, innovation is the soul of our existence. Our efforts and hard work have helped us innovate one of the cleanest, greenest, and safest brands which are 100 percent pure and natural, Vegan, free from all synthetic and harmful chemicals, and free of all colors and fragrances,” he asserted.

Future Plans

The brand is bootstrapped to date, but it intends to raise the first round of funding soon which will be deployed mainly for inventory, advertising and marketing, market penetration, and working capital.

“Going ahead, we plan to grow from D2C channel to other various forms of retailing and marketing channels, mainly in modern trade, and increase our distribution network pan India,” he asserted.

“We also see ourselves at the pinnacle of innovating the best products in our space while continuing to be the cleanest, greenest, and safest brand which delivers what it promises, raising the bar in whatever we do with utmost passion and dedication. We also hope to have the same footprint in various countries across Europe, Middle East, Africa, North, and South America,” he concluded.

 

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5 D2C Brands Transforming the Furniture Industry
5 D2C Brands Transforming the Furniture Industry
 

A number of interesting, new direct-to-customer firms have entered the furniture industry in recent years. These brands are able to compete with market leaders by rewriting the conventional retail structure and selling directly to customers rather than through third-party retailers who take a share of earnings and pass along additional expenses to customers. 

Direct-to-customer furniture businesses may better tailor their future product upgrades and new offerings to what customers need and want by interacting with customers directly and learning more about their requirements, desires, likes, and dislikes.

Additionally, the population’s living standards and lifestyle are changing due to the expansion of metropolises and the housing industry, which is driving up the demand for new furniture and home solutions.  

Here are 5 D2C Brands that are Transforming the Furniture Industry

1. Pepperfry - Pepperfry, headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra offers appliances for the dining room, kitchen, bath, and housing. Pepperfry’s studio footprint currently covers 100+ cities with 195+ studios across India. In Northern India alone, Pepperfry has close to 90,000 sq. ft. of retail space with some of its largest studios and six distribution centers. Various cutting-edge technologies, including serverless architecture, machine learning, augmented reality, and virtual reality, are now being used by Pepperfry.

2. Sleepyhead - Bengaluru-based Sleepyhead is a D2C lifestyle home decor company created for Gen Z and young Indians who are digital natives. Sleepyhead, which defied all expectations for the category when it was introduced in 2017, is now one of the fastest-growing D2C mattress brands in India. With its carefully crafted items, the home lifestyle brand Sleepyhead today strives to make daily life enjoyable and fabulous. The company meets the unmet needs of the modern Indian consumer by making exceptional designs affordable without sacrificing quality or customer service.

3. Furlenco - Incorporated in 2012 by Ajith Karimpana, Furlenco is an Indian online marketplace for renting furniture. Furlenco provides furnishings on a monthly leasing subscription basis for the complete home. 

The D2C brand struggled to attract new clients as the supply chain collapsed during the lockdown. But its rental-based business strategy continued to generate profits. Currently, Furlenco offers its customers the freedom of choice to select any furniture they want, access it in any way possible, and modification by returning or selling it back.

4. Duraster - Jodhpur-based Duraster is known for offering heirloom-caliber solid wood pieces. The furniture that it offers is redefining contemporary even though it is made of natural wood including Sheesham, acacia, and mango wood. The brand takes great satisfaction in the work of its artists and craftsmen, who produce the finest antique-quality solid wood furniture using vintage tools and conventional techniques. By opening three experience stores in Mumbai, Pune, and Bengaluru by the end of 2022, Duraster plans to give its clients an omnichannel experience. 

5. InvisibleBed- InvisibleBed, a Bengaluru-based company founded by Prashanth Havinahal, saw potential in this transformation design category and launched its D2C platform in 2013. The company currently offers wall-mounted desks, sit/stand tables, full-size beds that fold into sofa sets, and other foldable furniture. 

 

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How D2C has Given a Boost to the Feminine Hygiene Care Brands
How D2C has Given a Boost to the Feminine Hygiene Care Brands
 

Direct-To-Consumer (D2C) brands are businesses that straightforwardly reach the end customer through a combination of their own online and offline channels, with the majority of them also having a presence on big e-commerce marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart. Several D2C brands have sprung up in India in recent years, disrupting both conventional and online retailers. New-age digital companies are discovering novel ways to meet customer needs that large larger players have overlooked.

There has almost certainly never been a better time in India to launch a direct-to-consumer (D2C) feminine hygiene care brand. Customers are steadily exploring a slew of new products, boosting the development prospects of feminine health care, thanks to the availability of low-cost smartphones, the proliferation of the internet, and, most importantly, menstrual hygiene awareness.

In India, menstruation is shrouded in secrecy compounded by shame and cultural taboos, resulting in an estimated 23 percent of girls dropping out of school when they begin menstruating. In such a situation, the availability, accessibility, acceptability, and affordability of feminine hygiene products are even more critical within or near every household, health or educational institution, public institution and place, and workplace.

Many women entrepreneurs are taking up the gigantic task by redefine the traditional way of menstruating by assisting women in making an eco-friendly switch after recognizing the limitations of conventional plastic pads. They are offering an array of 100 percent safe biodegradable hygiene products from anti-microbial reusable cloth pads, natural cotton sanitary pads, 100 percent organic period wear wash, menstrual cup and wash, anti-bacterial soothing intimate care wipes, and organic cotton pantyliners.

Aside from being safe for the skin, D2C feminine hygiene products are well positioned to tell an engaging story across all three key aspects of customization, customer feedback, and supporting a clear cause – all of which are important factors in building trust. These brands are predominantly digital-first; however, many have ventured into the offline space and are attempting to establish an omnichannel presence. D2C models are increasingly outperforming traditional marketplaces since they enable the direct relationship between clients and brands, allowing for product improvement, innovation, and enhanced customer experiences.

Here is how D2C gave a boost to the feminine hygiene care brands:

Personalized and Subscription Deals - Since each period is distinctive to a woman, D2C brands can clearly recognize each customer’s interest and create specific deals to drive purchasing decisions with a data-driven strategy. Brands can make recommendations and tailor deals based on previous purchases, preferences, shopping behavior, and demographics. The D2C subscription service model also delivers shoppers with a more convenient, personalized, and cost-effective way to buy what they need on a regular basis. Not only does the service empower women, but it also makes the hygiene ritual more manageable and effective.

Customization of the Products - Product customization is essential for meeting diverse customer requirements and assisting a large customer base in a meaningful and more personalized manner. D2C enables feminine hygiene care brands to design their products to meet the needs of specific groups of women. Customization allows brands to have multiple versions, shapes, and sizes of the same product. Customization, therefore, is a strong business practice since it makes customers satisfied, and satisfied customers are regular customers.

Real-time Support - To create awareness regarding menstruation and support informed customers’ choices many female hygiene brands have pivoted all their efforts to D2C. This not only helps in building a credible brand but also enables feminine hygiene care brands to create a support system of medical experts who can better guide the end customer. Before making a purchase, most customers prefer to have a comprehensive knowledge of the product. As a result, real-time conversations with experts to answer their questions are certain to make a big difference for a brand.

More Opportunities to Innovate - When it comes to selling, most retailers adhere to a set standard. They frequently avoid selling new female products that have no record of success in being a ‘hot-selling’ product. D2C, on the other hand, enables businesses to roll out new products on a smaller scale, evaluate with specific populations, and collect feedback. Feminine hygiene care brands can comprehend what their customers desire, produce what sells, and strengthen what is in demand.

Lead Generation - Direct interaction with clients during every phase of the purchasing process, including after sales, enables the gathering of their email addresses, location, profiles on social media buying interests, and more. Understanding about consumer purchasing habits enables businesses to improve existing products and, in some cases, develop new products. Also, by collecting details and contact information from prospects while taking them through a conversational journey, D2C brands can get a higher chance of improving lead generation and follow-ups.

Increased Control Over Brand Messaging - Conventionally brands have little authority over their offerings in the traditional manufacturer-retailer relationship. While brands have control over packaging as well as other advertising strategies, as soon as the item is carried over to retailers, they don’t have the power to influence sales, build relationships with consumers, or collect data. Brands may spend a considerable amount of money on marketing, but retailers are inevitably responsible for presenting the product to the buyer.D2C enables feminine hygiene care brands to develop a voice that resonates with menstruating women in order to build a product/space for women by women.

 

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Key to Becoming Successful & Building a Strong Customer Base in the D2C Brand
Key to Becoming Successful & Building a Strong Customer Base in the D2C Brand
 

D2C has been on the rise for some time and is quickly transitioning from a fad to a widely used business model. The pandemic of 2020 further shifted the market in favor of direct-to-consumer (D2C), encouraging more individuals than ever to shop online and satisfy their desire for a deeper sense of connection with their favorite businesses.

Brands can easily enter the market by selling directly to consumers (D2C) without the help of a middleman. By taking this path, brands can speak with and learn from their customers directly.

Startups and businesses alike are using the D2C paradigm today to:

  • Create innovative new goods and services.
  • Obtain useful customer information
  • Increase your profit margins
  • Increase consumer involvement and brand loyalty
  • Faster scaling

Manufacturers and CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) brands are increasingly using the Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) strategy to bypass middlemen and join the market directly. 

What is Direct-to-Consumer (D2C)?

Manufacturers and CPG companies can sell directly to consumers using the low-barrier-to-entry D2C eCommerce model. The Direct-to-Consumer business strategy, which “cuts out” the retail middleman and sells directly to the end-user, has been shown to completely disrupt the conventional approach.

Yes, by definition, direct-to-consumer businesses do not involve third-party retail companies in their business models. But that doesn't mean the retail side of the equation doesn't exist. In other words, going D2C means that the manufacturer is responsible for all retail-related aspects of the business in addition to original manufacturing and fulfillment.

Perhaps you are pondering:

'When they could just as easily continue selling their goods to retailers wholesale, why would a manufacturer take on this additional responsibility?' This question has two aspects, both of which revolve around how the requirements, expectations, and behaviors of the modern client are changing.

First off, when investigating a range of goods or brands, or when making a purchase from a particular brand, customers of today want to be able to go straight to the source. For instance, Astound Commerce discovered that 55 percent of buyers prefer to make purchases in the same manner as they conduct their research—directly on the manufacturer’s website.

While the barriers to entry for a startup D2C brand are relatively low, keep in mind that you are competing against big players like Amazon and Walmart, which have already established massive customer bases. This is why you must have a strategy in place to help you become a recognized brand and disrupt the status quo. To make a name for yourself in your industry, you must stand out from the moment you launch your D2C brand.

What Does it Take for D2C Success?

Here are some things to consider if you want to go down the D2C route:

Choose an Everyday Item and Make it Accessible - Know why you should enter the market before you even decide to build a direct-to-consumer brand. Along with being affordable, concentrate your product and branding messages on addressing frequent consumer pain areas.

Build a Subscription-based Business Model - Many popular direct-to-consumer (D2C) businesses provide a subscription plan that allows clients to unsubscribe at any time. Customers can save time, money, and effort by using the subscription model. Additionally, it aids in increasing customer retention.

Offer Easy, No-fee Returns - A free returns policy assures your customers that your brand is trustworthy and gives them the confidence to buy from you. Many well-known e-commerce companies, such as Amazon and Flipkart, use this strategy. If people are unfamiliar with your brand, free and easy returns will entice them to buy something from you. Make sure you offer excellent customer service when exchanging or returning products. 

Influencer Marketing - While not everyone is a star entrepreneur — though it would be nice — you can certainly use celebrity influencers to help promote your product. Working with influencers will expand your customer base. Influencers typically have a large audience to whom they can spread the word about your product. People will consider purchasing your product if they give it positive reviews. You may not have a large budget for influencers if you are just starting out. In this case, you ought to work with micro-influencers from your niche. Connect with people who have a reputable number of followers to raise brand awareness.

Use Infographics and Memes - Memes have gained fame, and many individuals use Instagram solely to skim through them. Increase your following by using memes to communicate your brand's mission or your products. Users tag one another in memes, thus if your memes are good, the reach of your brand will naturally increase.

What makes your products superior? What advantages do you present? Why should they only purchase from you? We strongly advise using infographics to respond to these queries.

Encourage Your Customers to Spread the Word - Would your customers or other users create content for your brand? Creating content would only benefit your brand, not your customers. Customers must be incentivized. You can hold different contests, give shout-outs to your customers, and award prizes to them.

  • 10 shares: Shout-out
  • 25 shares: Discount Coupon
  • 40 shares: Freebies

You may devise several strategies to reward your customers in the same way.

Provide Testimonials - You can ask your customers to talk about the brand. Instead of just you speaking, give other users opportunities. People tend to believe what other users have to say about a brand. So, if a large number of people on social media and your website speak positively about your brand, your company's goodwill will grow. People will have more faith in your brand, and your sales conversions will rise as a result.

Give Memorable Customers Experience  - A good customer relationship is essential for any business. Connect with your target audience and learn about their needs. After understanding, it is critical to fulfill them in a unique way. You must treat them well from beginning to end, in addition to providing a high-quality product. Your after-sales support should be outstanding.

Make sure your team returns every call; if any are missed, they should call the person again. Respond to all emails within 24 hours and be courteous while answering any questions. If you have made a mistake, admit it and offer an explanation of what went wrong. You’ll stay in the race for a while if people associate your brand with good recollections.

What Lies Ahead?

D2C, in our opinion, is here to stay. It makes first-party connections possible that otherwise wouldn't have been possible. Additionally, it improves consumer profiling and micro-segmentation, which aid in tailoring the experiences of customers.

A D2C maturity curve will exist. By category, different success factors will apply. And distribution will either be multi-channel or exclusively available online. Additionally, when D2C brands grow and develop, many of them choose the other path and join offline retail in order to increase their visibility, experience, and reach. Investments in talent and channels, including digitizing in-store experiences, are necessary for this omnichannel push.

Whatever the outcome, the times need you to re-evaluate how to connect with customers and control the arena of consumer relationships. D2C has the potential to be your most powerful weapon.

 

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Why D2C Brands Prefer Collaboration over Competitive Prices
Why D2C Brands Prefer Collaboration over Competitive Prices
 

A Direct-to-Customer (D2C) business model is a recent development, which is often confused with conventional supply chains. In a conventional supply chain, a manufacturer creates and sells products to a wholesaler, who then sells them to a retailer. The point of contact between the company and the customer is the retailer. The pandemic has, however, resulted in a pronounced rise in the number of brands that offer their products and services to customers.

As the direct-to-consumer (D2C) retail market grows, so does the competition. According to Statista, D2C e-commerce sales are projected to reach almost $175 billion by 2023, and more brands are vying for a piece of the action.

What Does Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) Mean?

Currently, the best opportunity for innovative brands to establish direct relationships with their customers is through direct-to-consumer (D2C) e-commerce. D2C refers to the practice of selling goods directly to customers through a business' online store, eschewing third-party wholesalers or retailers. Building D2C e-commerce capabilities enable businesses to communicate directly with customers, which supports brand strategy and innovation based on current customer insights. With the aid of these insights, a business can directly address customer needs, increasing lifetime value and brand loyalty.

D2C can be used as a long-term defensive strategy in a competitive environment, but it can also lead to an immediate increase in market share because it reduces the company's reliance on e-giants like Amazon and gives it a chance to expand its share of the expanding online market.

With varying degrees of success, many businesses are attempting to develop D2C businesses. Leaders in this field have succeeded in integrating direct-to-consumer sales into not only their main growth platform but also their core operations. Given the significant portion of sales that come from traditional, indirect sales, others are finding it challenging to shift their priorities to D2C, even though they have experienced some growth in this new channel.

Building a D2C business may be easier for some, as companies differ in terms of their history in direct selling as well as the attractiveness of their brand and category for direct sales. However, companies of all kinds and sizes have been able to make use of D2C e-commerce by scaling their capabilities, or by accessing capabilities such as marketplaces, ready-to-use platforms, and software as a service (SaaS) that facilitate access to the online channel.

Let's examine why D2C is viewed as the retail model of the future and why an increasing number of D2C businesses are seeking brand partnerships.

The Numerous Benefits of D2C

D2C brands have many benefits for both customers and brands. The ease of shopping online from the comfort of one's home, even for expensive items like mattresses and jewelry, is one of these advantages. You can be sure that you'll always order clothes that fit, tasty food, and makeup that matches your skin tone by saving your preferences with a D2C brand. Additionally, D2C brands can save money by shipping directly to customers and eschewing physical retail locations, and they can pass those savings along to customers by providing free next-day shipping, for instance. Additionally, they can provide customers with more practical customer service options like easy returns and shipping updates.

Brands can see the power of D2C because even the major retailer, Nike, ended its partnership with Amazon to concentrate on its D2C strategy. Direct-to-consumer does not involve any wholesale or retail partners. D2Cs make decisions regarding their markets, product pricing, values, and marketing strategies. Due to the D2C brand's total control, they are not required to compete on retail store shelves with comparable brands or products. Owning the customer relationship also improves the D2C brand's ability to customize its offerings.

Scaling Through Brand Partnerships

Even though D2C has many benefits, traveling alone in a retail setting has some drawbacks. D2C companies have a wide range of responsibilities, including manufacturing, marketing, shipping, and customer service. A high-quality brand finds it even harder to stand out due to the proliferation of D2C brands. Companies must come up with creative and compelling strategies to boost their brand without overstretching their resources. This is one of the explanations for why more and more direct-to-consumer businesses are searching for brand alliances with other businesses.

In a successful brand partnership, both parties promote one another to their respective audiences and assets. It's a win-win circumstance that boosts brand strength and perception.

Listed below are a few strategies that can act as the basis for fruitful brand alliances.     

Customer Experience - When customers identify emotionally with a brand, their lifetime value multiplies by four. Offering a compelling brand experience, which is possible through brand partnerships, is one efficient way to strengthen the relationship between the customer and the brand. 

Market Positioning - In many niches, consumer brand competition is fierce. However, a strong competitive advantage can be gained by D2C brands—and even well-known enterprise companies—through the right alliance.

Blending Online and In-store Retail Presence - D2C brands are distinguished by the fact that they launch entirely online, forgoing a physical location in favor of online sales. One drawback is that the customer can't touch or try the product before buying, which helps keep overhead costs low. Many D2Cs seek brand partnerships with established retailers as a result.

Delivery and Fulfilment - How to give customers a positive post-purchase experience is a major challenge for D2C brands. Logistics problems and inadequate third-party services that fall short of their brand promise frequently cause delays during the fulfillment and delivery stage. By locating brand partnerships with suitable delivery companies, D2Cs can create innovative and effective strategies to match the distribution stage with the brand's values and image.

As there are brands, there are as many different kinds of brand partnerships. The identities, target audiences, and niche markets of the two participating brands all play a role in determining the type of brand partnership activity that will be most successful.
 

 

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D2C Brands Continue to Shine with Brand Websites Order Volume Up by 80 pc
D2C Brands Continue to Shine with Brand Websites Order Volume Up by 80 pc
 

Unicommerce, India’s integrated SaaS platform for post-purchase experience management, and Wazir Advisors have launched the first edition of "India’s Retail and E-commerce Trends Report” covering FY22.

The report assesses the growth of India’s retail and e-commerce industry in FY22 and how consumer buying patterns have changed in the last two years. According to Wazir Advisors, India’s retail sector was estimated worth $836 bn in FY 2022, with an 81.5 percent contribution from traditional retail followed by Organised brick and mortar at 12 percent and online sales channels at 6.5 percent.

Wazir Advisors added that despite the impact of the pandemic on overall retail in FY 2021, the online retail market in India is expected to grow at 32 percent over the next few years with the potential to reach $225 billion. The D2C segment emerges as the key propeller of this growth; reflecting a robust CAGR of near 45 percent levels with the potential to reach $70 Billion over the next few years

E-commerce order volumes on rise driven by smaller cities:

According to Unicommerce data, the overall e-commerce order volume continues to rise with 69.4 percent YoY growth in FY 2022, while in FY21, the order volume reported 49.4 percent YoY growth.

In the last two years, the strong e-commerce growth of India is driven by consumers from Tier-II and-III cities. The young aspirational consumers from these markets are shopping across segments and changing India’s e-commerce landscape. The shoppers from Tier-II and-III cities accounted for over 61.3 percent of the overall market share in FY 2022, increasing from 53.8 percent in FY 2021. The order volume from Tier-II and-III cities grew at almost double the pace of Tier-I cities with 92.2 percent and 85.2 percent YoY growth in FY 2022. In contrast, Tier-I cities indicate a comparatively slower order volume growth rate of 47.2 percent.

Beauty & personal care grows fastest; FMCG, Health & Pharma segments accelerated in FY22:

Given the significant e-commerce growth over the last two years, various segments have become prominent with promising growth potential and consistent YoY growth. While Beauty & Personal care reported the maximum order volume growth of over 143 percent in FY 22, the FMCG & Agriculture and Health & Pharmaceuticals have also grown significantly over the last two years, with 61.7 percent and 62.4 percent order volume growth respectively. Fashion & Accessories and Electronics & Home appliances have been the biggest categories and they have reported an order volume growth of 59.7 percent and 34.7 percent respectively in FY 2022.

D2C brands post faster growth on websites at 80.4 percent; marketplace growth at a healthy 59.6 percent:

The report further draws out how D2C and digital-first brands continue to rise with consistent order growth of brand websites. Over the last two years, many digital-first brands have emerged and they are dressing the industry gap to offer new products at attractive price points catering to young online buyers. This has helped Brand websites report a strong YoY order volume growth of 80.4 percent in FY 22 while Marketplaces witnessed a 59.6 percent YoY growth. Beauty & Personal care products segments continue to lead here as well with 132.8 YoY growth on the brand website and 169.1 percent growth on marketplaces.

The other segments that have reported strong growth on the brand website are Health & Pharmaceutical with 84.8 percent YoY growth and 67.7 percent YoY growth for FMCG in FY 22. The rising phenomena of D2C has helped the fashion segment to continue its growth despite being the most mature segment. Fashion & Accessories have witnessed 89.5 percent YoY growth on brand websites in FY 2022, as opposed to a marketplace growth of 52.2 percent.

Return orders start to decline; a small but useful drop helps reduce costs for e-commerce

Every e-commerce business has to manage the complex process of returns and it constitutes a major part of operations costs. With rising order volume, online selling companies have invested in technology platforms and process enhancements to reduce return orders. Return orders are on a consistent YoY decline, as return orders for FY 2022 constitute 14.8 percent of the overall order volume, as compared to 16.10 percent in the previous year. While this may seem like a marginal dip, it significantly boosts the overall bottom line. Increasing focus on technology deployment for COD orders positively impacts e-commerce. Returns on COD orders show a decline from 22.1 percent in FY 2021 to 18.8 percent in FY 2022. While returns of prepaid orders remain constant YoY at 10.4 percent of the overall order volume.

On the occasion of the report unveiling, Kapil Makhija, CEO, Unicommerce said, “Over the last 2 years, India’s retail industry has seen a remarkable evolution with wider technology adoption, readiness to try new platforms, and changing mindsets of brands. We launched our report with a vision to showcase a holistic picture of how consumers shopped over the last two years. This will enable brands to reflect on their business and make better decisions. We believe in the power of data and our technology platform allows retail brands to analyze their business performance and plan future strategies accordingly.”

Speaking on the launch of the report Pakhi Saxena, Practice Head, retail, and consumer packaged goods, Wazir Advisors stated, “We have seen the retail industry bounce back from a severe impact of the pandemic in FY21. The overall retail sales are back at Pre-COVID levels with strong growth in the e-commerce industry. It will be interesting to see how the retail industry adapts to the rising e-commerce shoppers of Tier-II and-III cities and how it will impact traditional and organized retail.”

 

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D2C Marketing Premium Global Kitchenware Brands in India
D2C Marketing Premium Global Kitchenware Brands in India
 

Recent global research by IBM/ National Retail Federation indicated that one in ten consumers categorize ‘brand’ as a major factor in their purchasing decisions. These consumers typically have a higher average income and are well traveled, aspirational, well read, and fairly sophisticated. So, they are willing to pay a premium for assortments that fit their lifestyle. The highest concentration of them globally was found to be in India (along with the Middle East and Latin America).

The forces shaping the Indian consumer are 4A’s: Affluence, Awareness, Attitude, and Access impact behavior. This means that the upwardly mobile Indian consumer seeks quality, choice, and product mix similar to their global counterpart. Awareness and Access have traditionally been a bottleneck in experiencing international brands. However, with the exponential adoption of digital channels, both awareness and access has been growing. And global brand offerings that take culture and local tastes into consideration clearly have an advantage.

This is true for branded international quality kitchenware category.

The Kitchen as the New ‘Theatre’ Setting and Rise of Cooking at Home

In the past two years, families have been gathering around the table, and experimentation in the kitchen has also been high. Consumers consciously attempt to create a mood and vibe in their kitchen and dining spaces-re-create the restaurant environment right at home - especially when it comes to desserts, baking, and drinks. This will be a big driver for stylized designs and premium finishes in tableware and experimentations with newer patterns, prints, and colors. Kitchen products that are high on style, yet efficient, high performance, and incredibly functional for everyday use will remain the top picks for the consumer. More food prep tools will be preferred as they offer ease of use and cut down on routine tasks.

The Evolution of the Conscious Consumer 

Even with the ebbing of the COVID-19 scare, cooking and eating healthy is a key trend that is here to stay with consumers who have become more conscious of the ingredients and foods they consume. There is also a willingness to prioritize health over other benefits such as convenience. They look at food and thereby their kitchen ecosystem to nourish their bodies while being a foundation to their sustainable lifestyles.  There is an emphasis on being green in essence, sustainable and responsible.

This mindful eating has led to the need for high-quality, nutritious food ingredients along with sustainable tableware, gentle on the environment. Denby tableware is a great example of products that are eco-friendly.  Consumers are looking for sustainable options not just in food and dining but also in kitchen storage. Kilner’s sustainable storage lines are expected to cater to just that.

A Tech-Vantage Playing Out in Kitchens 

The new-age kitchens will certainly see a larger presence of IoT. There is going to be a larger preference for appliances that are high-tech for the urban consumer. With busy schedules and multiple commitments, consumers would love to have the option to control the oven temperature while out on a walk or be able to use an app to see the inside of the refrigerator while on a grocery run. 

3C’s approach

With consumer shopping behavior rapidly shifting to online channels and increasing competition within categories, marketers are deploying a mix of marketing tools to attract new consumers, and demographics and provide a seamless user experience on their platforms. 

Customer-Centric Content Marketing

In addition to cooking picking up, the pandemic has also driven people to become more health-conscious and this inclination to adapt to a healthier way of living has also led to critical lifestyle changes. And hence as part of our content strategy, our focus is on edu-awareness equipping consumers with relevant knowledge to understand the science and ergonomics behind the purchase of cookware.  For example, Stainless Steel cookware and serve ware are widely used in Indian kitchens. However, not many consumers may be aware that all stainless steel is of food-grade quality.  

Pre-Purchase and Post-Purchase Experience

Finally, to keep customers happy, customer service needs to be unparalleled. Having dedicated and trained customer service teams and product advisors is a good idea. Addressing customer feedback and complaints and handling, and solving their problems goes a long way in turning a one-time customer into a loyal one.
 

 

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How D2C Brands can Reduce their RTOs
How D2C Brands can Reduce their RTOs
 

D2C brands are trying to provide an individualized experience by creating a story and understanding the essential needs of customers. The key to becoming successful and building a strong customer base in the D2C brand is by creating trust and meeting customer expectations. 

A joint study between Affle’s MAAS and Sensor Tower has reported the growth of daily active users in the Indian market and reported, “India’s e-commerce is booming, and it is expected to grow by 84 percent by 2024”. 

Last year, the e-commerce industry has seen an increase in sales, especially the D2C brands. This industry has also faced a harsh reality that is an increase in returns and D2C brands have faced difficulty in managing their operations. 

Mehmet Altug, Associate business Professor, George Mason University mentioned, “As online sales increase, the return rate has also increased significantly, and I don’t think it’s a secondary problem anymore.” 

Return to Origin (RTO)

RTO happens when the product is not delivered and shipped back to the seller’s pick-up address. The convenience of online shopping has allowed customers to purchase multiple sizes or colors to ensure the right fit and return the product at their convenience, which is making sellers' rides difficult. Looking at the scenario, reverse logistics is also a part of the business plan now as brands have to ensure that the ‘customer should like it enough to not to return it. 

At once, brands may bear the loss of order processing but it’s hard to entertain the loss when it comes to inventory. As when the product is locked for days, breaks its cash flow despite of physical existence. It’s been observed that the probability of return is higher in the case of online shopping, which is one of the big challenges for the seller. The reason for return could be multiple like incomplete or fake address, non-genuine buyer, refusal to accept, spelling error, missing information, COD payment is not ready, unreachable customer, or not available at the address provided, issues of trust in the brand or product quality, or payment method, brands need to understand their customers and find out ‘why orders are turning into RTOs’.  

The reality is it impacts the revenue and the profit directly because the undelivered package is neither good for the buyer, nor the seller and even holds back customer satisfaction too. Brands not only bear the shipment charges for forward and reverse shipping, but also face many other issues like warehouse space, costs of repackaging, locked inventory, and cost of handling recalled inventory.

Why COD? 

Return to Origin (RTO) is an extra expenditure and one of the big challenges to businesses, as they have to bear additional costs which include order processing, and logistic fees too. In the case of the D2C brand, businesses facilitate the option of cash on delivery for multiple reasons as a customer believes it as a safe option, which consecutively increases the possibility of the return either by refusing the order or denying the payment. 

One of the studies on demonetization shared, “The average rate of returns' for all e-commerce purchases was 20 percent. However, when looking only at COD purchases, this rate doubled to 40 percent. When you consider the various estimates of India's e-commerce, COD being anywhere from 50–80 percent, the massive scale of the problem becomes apparent.” 

D2C brands should verify their COD orders by either investing in Interactive Voice Response or automated Non-Delivery Report. Such investments ensure the probability of reducing the risk to return by giving a verification call to the registered mobile number and by taking follow-ups with customers for re-attempt of delivery. 

NRF found that “returns can create opportunities for fraud, too. For every $100 in returned merchandise accepted, retailers lose $10.30 to fraud.”

Many D2C brands have already started converting their COD to prepay by sending regular notifications by SMS or Whatsapp and enticing them with some last-minute savings by offering discounts or options to save on delivery charges.

COD undoubtedly is one of the major factors that is making an e-commerce business successful but also bringing subsequent losses too. Brands need to analyze the customer history, verify contact details and addresses, notify the customer about the product status, enable prepay options, put a minimum order value for COD, and others. Brands should analyze the loss by identifying the category with high demand and high return and prepare themselves with the solutions to the same.

Steve Prebble, CEO, of Appriss Retail mentioned, “Retail is dealing with an influx of returned items. Now is the time to stop thinking of returns as a cost of doing business and begin to view them as a time to truly engage with your consumers.” 

Retailers are even trying to adapt the best possible solution like open box pricing or convincing customers to either keep the product for free or donate the product to eliminate shipping charges. Store retailers see this option as an opportunity of bringing customers back in-store and build rapport to gain their loyalty. Retailers must note that a polite return process also helps in gaining credibility as well positive perception of a brand. 
 

 

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