How Innovation Can Help D2C Brands Grow Further

In D2C, customers are not able to touch and experience the product and through technology, D2C brands are making that happen.
How Innovation Can Help D2C Brands Grow Further

The Indian retail market is huge and the offering for the supply side is affordable but inspiring. The huge opportunity in India is how you serve the pent-up demand and needs of consumers. With consumers coming online, it creates a huge opportunity for D2C brands to fulfill their needs effectively. 

“D2C is a core area of focus for us because at the end of the day we are seeing transactional conversions getting easier day by day. As consumers, Indians are suspicious by nature, so when they see that a product is coming directly from a website, it makes shopping easier for them,” adds Varun Khanna, Co-founder, Fast&Up.

Apart from this, personalization is another factor that is helping the D2C brands to connect with the consumers. 
“We feel that consumer feedback helps us in merchandising good products for them, analyzing the right price points, and managing the demand. We also cater to personalize products which we cannot offer inside the stores. This is the main reason for us to reach them directly. In the future, most of the brands will move to D2C because that’s the space that lets you understand your consumers well and serve them better,” says Rupesh Jain, Founder & CEO, Candere explaining it further, whose 95 percent of business comes through online.

“I went for D2C because we found that my consumers were looking for personalized and customized skincare products. And a less amount of investment is required in D2C to penetrate into the market. We were looking for a certain kind of TG typically we call them Skintellecutal consumers. In order to educate these consumers, we took the route of transparency and honesty. We made them aware of the importance and functionality of ingredients. We also told them about our suppliers from where we source certain ingredients that created the experience of credibility in the consumer's mind. The crux is that personalization is what drives consumers to visit the website of an online D2C brand,” adds Harini Sivakumar, Founder & CEO, Earth Rhythm resonating the same thoughts.

Overcoming Challenges
The nature of an entrepreneur is as you scale you’ll have different challenges. The first stage is where you analyze your market strategy, selection, etc. As you crack customer acquisition space it is not one-stop to all solutions. You constantly have to find the audience to market the challenges to overcome.

“With digital being a necessary surplus, what keeps me up late at night is a constant stiff and utter competition of talent,” states Rahul Anand, Founder, Hopscotch.

“We are a manufacturing company as well, so when we started the first thing we wanted to own is the product. Since we are into problem-solving skincare, there is no doubt that we need to focus more on our research and development, and products. From sourcing to manufacturing to testing the products, everything was managed in-house for us. Customer acquisition is getting expensive day by day but customer retention is more expensive for us. We can cut the clutter through good customer service and loyalty programs. I believe challenges are different for every brand and it changes at every stage, for me, the biggest challenge right now is that my factory is overloaded and I’m trying to figure out how to scale my production,” adds Sivakumar.

Betting Big on Technology
Technology is the spine of not only transactions but understanding consumers as well. In D2C, customers are not able to touch and experience the product and through technology, D2C brands are making that happen. Technology helps you identify the right target audience for you.

“Design is our first touchpoint. The second is we got feedback from our customers that they want to touch and then buy, so for that, we rolled out a virtual try-on website. Suddenly, our product line of necklaces went up 4x for the normal orders. We are the only brand in digital where you can find your ring size by just keeping your ring on the phone and virtually you’ll get to know the exact size. We are just trying to solve a problem that people are facing in the offline and online world through technology. We have also made partial payment for our consumers where they can book the jewelry by paying 10 percent or 20 percent and then remaining payment in the next 6 months. If the gold rate goes up they will get the same rate they have booked on and if it goes down then they can also get the rate at which gold would be. This is what we call the Double Gold Rate Protection Plan. One more thing which we have done creatively at Candere is that we have divided our entire customer segment into three parts which are pre-purchase, post-purchase, and post-delivery. We have seen 25 percent of our sale comes in the post-purchase funnel,” explains Jain.
“A lot of ramping up for most of us has happened digitally. We have been leveraging Instagram, Facebook, and Whatsapp from the beginning of time. Competition cannot eradicate the deep passion that a mom has for her child and moms love taking photos when their children dress up, therefore, we built a Special Moment website, and any given day we get 100 user-generated pieces of content. We are using social as a way to engage with our consumers,” adds Anand.

D2C Brands Going Omnichannel
In India when you start as a D2C brand you achieve a certain scale because 95 percent of India still shops offline. If you have to scale from 1 to 100 then offline is way forward along with other components. 

“We started as D2C but in order to reach a certain scale in a category like ours where there are more than 10 lakh outlets within Delhi, I think it is important to be present in different offline channels so that customers see you,” explains Rohit Taneja, Director-Consumer Insights, Bombay Shaving Company.
”We started with exhibitions purely offline to understand what people like. After one year, we thought to operate via Mumbai and to sell to 25,000 pin codes online. That’s how we move to what I like to call online D2C. The idea was that when anyone buys they say I bought a Zouk bag. For us, online was a way to tell our story as well. After a certain scale, since offline driving a lot of consumption, every brand has to go there. If I make 10,000 bags and send them to Chandigarh or Indore and it doesn’t sell then I have to bear the loss. This is where online gives me flexibility. Making a brand proposition online is a little bit easier than offline,” adds Pradeep Krishnakumar, Co-founder & COO, Zouk.

How Bright is the Future?
The brands which are able to build the right customer experience with the right product and deliver it repeatedly will be the ones who will succeed in the D2C segment. 
“These are times when each brand is going to flourish. The market is going to be US$ 100 billion dollars in the next 5 years, only brands who understand the consumer better are going to survive and get that pie,” asserts Taneja.
“D2C has a long way to go. Two things that will matter the most for D2C are growth and innovations. As much as D2C is growing, technology is also evolving rapidly, for example, we launched an AI on our website that scans consumers’ faces so that we can provide real-time suggestions on the concern of their skin. Innovation will cut the clutter and take the brands to another level,” adds Sivakumar.

Publish Date
Not Sponsored
Live: People Reading Now