D2C is not about a product. It is more about the consumer. Apart from this, the other ingredients that help in building a successful D2C brand include building a brand identity, establishing a consumer-brand relationship, and leveraging technology to improve business productivity.
A lot of brands are entering the D2C space because it is the fastest way of getting into the household of their target audience.
"We saw a sudden spurt of oil DIYs during the pandemic, which led to a demand for Soulflower's Ylang Ylang Essential Oil. Last year we listed our products on Amazon and grew on the platform by 600 percent because we went direct to the consumers. Today, we are 95 percent into D2C and only 5 percent in retail. I believe 2020 was a rebirth year for Soulflower. When we started our D2C journey last year, we realized that D2C is more strategic than tactical," says Amit Sarda, MD, Soulflower.
"We started our journey in 2015 by launching The Man Company on our website. The idea was to be close to our customers, understand their needs, and build the brand together. Post demonization because of the cash crunch in the market, we associated with other e-commerce websites like Amazon, Flipkart, etc., but our primary focus was to build our brand through our website. Post-COVID, there is a behavioral change among customers that will stay for another 12-18 months. So our focus will be to strengthen the online channel and other marketplaces while maintaining the same customer experience as a brand," states Bhisham Bhateja, Co-Founder, The Man Company.
Building Strong Backend
For D2C brands, the challenge comes when they are attending to a large sales volume. Therefore, brands need to build a robust supply chain network that includes inventory management for error-free pre-delivery that keeps the entire inventory on a centralized database across multiple channels. They should also opt for warehouse management solutions to smoothen the supply chain operations, and strong logistic integration to ensure timely delivery and with minimal returns that could be attained by collaborating with multiple shipping partners.
"When you cut the extra layer and listen directly to the customer, you'll get the feedback cycle done faster. To me, that is the crux of successful D2C. So we experimented with a web consultant. We are currently working on a scalable hybrid model that conveys the message that a customer doesn't need to visit the Kaya clinic for their Kaya-related needs. We are also experimenting with Artificial Intelligence to boost our customer experience. I think new avenues with technology enable us to be an omnichannel and play a huge role in the D2C growth," shares Neilmani Sahu, Head - IT, Kaya Ltd.
“The way for a brand to stand out is by having a strong message. We think of ourselves as D2C in everything we do. e.g., our product development cycle starts for the consumer, and our entire product line is built from what the consumer is saying across our feedback, research, and social media interactions. We started our journey very differently. From the beginning, Moms Co. is available on other e-commerce platforms because we believe that wherever moms are comfortable shopping, they should have us over there, and when they need expert advice, they can come to our website. And, if they want to engage with the brand, then our social media is there. D2C is fairly holistic. 2 months into our journey, we had our first offline presence, which was a store inside the hospital's waiting room. Post-COVID, in June-July, we did our first retail launch, and since March, we are in 1,000+ stores. D2C is not about going live on a website, it is about keeping customers at the center and listen to their needs. I think this has been the secret sauce of Moms Co, growth," Mohit Sadaani, Co-Founder, The Moms Co.