Smytten can be considered to be one of India's largest tech-enabled D2C product discovery and trial platforms. The brand enhances how Indian consumers discover and experience products and services. The journey of the brand started in 2015 by Swagat Sarangi and Siddhartha Nangia.
Since its inception, Smytten has been working towards bridging the gap between brands and consumers across various touchpoints in the consumer journey. Smytten enables customers to experience products before they buy by offering trial packs. To streamline the discovery process, Smytten works with more than 1200 D2C brands to curate personalized trial feeds based on user interests.
D2C and heritage brands like Mamaearth, Plum, mCaffeine, WOW Skin Science, The Man Company, Bodywise, Sirona, and many more have taken their sampling activations online via Smytten. Users can sample products across lifestyle categories like beauty & personal care, makeup, health & wellness, food & beverages, fragrances, and more. Smytten follows a pull sampling strategy wherein the customer can pick what they would like to try from the app and create a box with samples of their choice.
Smytten was formulated in late 2015 to solve the problems around product trials in India. Product trials were something the founders had first-hand knowledge of through their stint at HUL and for Sarangi through his subsequent stint at Google India, where he was closely involved with the great online shopping festival initiative.
“Smytten aims to be the ‘bridge to discover products for Indian consumers. The model allows the target consumer base to discover premium products, thereby providing a more engaging experience. With digital product sampling, Smytten offers brands a more targeted approach which reduces pilferage. With their feedback module and retargeting activations, Smytten helps brands drive conversions after sampling activation,” stated Swagat Sarangi, Co-Founder, Smytten.
Smytten, through its platform hosts 1200+ lifestyle brands across categories like fragrances, beauty & makeup, male grooming, food & beverages, baby & mother care, and health & wellness. It is further expanding into trials of services by onboarding salons, skin clinics, etc.
Moreover, it is a unique platform that offers a personalized shopping experience for its customers, setting itself apart from its competitors in several ways, mainly with:
Technology and Smytten
Smytten has made massive investments in deep technologies like AI, ML, and Big Data, which are at the core of most of it’s product offerings. These algorithms are further used for everything, from generating a highly curated product recommendation feed for the customers to helping brand partners to make sense of customer behavioral patterns within the app. On the user front, these technologies aid in seeing products that customers are genuinely interested in without going through the entire catalog.
Recommendations and curation are provided based on a customer’s order pattern and several other indicators collected as part of their app journey.
For the brands, these algorithms are used to process millions of product feedbacks, filter out noise, and derive actionable insights. The analytics provided to the brands help them plan and strategize their campaigns, optimize marketing spending, and identify specific growth cohorts. With these investments and productization, Smytten has been able to deliver almost 50 percent less CAC (Consumer Acquisition Cost) for the D2C brands compared to the traditional media platforms/marketplaces.
Sarangi believes technology will be a game changer in the long haul for Smytten. Thus being a tech-enabled company, Smytten’s focus will be on leveraging the new technology and helping its clients with more targeted solutions. Moreover, Smytten recently launched Smytten Pulse, an AI-enabled customer research solution that enables brands to drive consumer engagement, research, and trend mapping with ease.
“Through AI and guided methodologies, brands can directly own their consumer journey. Smytten's Customer Research Solutions aim to assist D2C brands in discovering untapped markets with a potential customer base, thereby expanding their business. This data-driven research will provide emerging brands with 360-degree support in raising awareness and sustaining competition, thereby enabling growth,” asserted Sarangi.
Growth and Marketing
Smytten has raised Rs 100 crore in Pre-Series B funding led by Fireside Ventures and Roots Ventures. The round also saw participation from Sharrp Ventures (Harsh Mariwala family office), Waao Partners (Pratul Shroff Family Office), Survam Partners (Munjal Family Office), and Sattva Group Family Office.
Furthermore, Smytten believes in partnering with new-age D2C brands to provide them with a targeted sampling strategy in India. The top of the funnel, which represents awareness, intent, and contemplation, with the transaction acting as a by-product, is where they are concentrating their attention.
“In India, we are not a very big Advertisement market yet, we are about $12-13 billion market; almost $600-700 million today in an organized way is being spent on sampling and trial. In any market from the overall marketing spend, only 5-7 percent is spent on consumer engagement in trials,” said Sarangi.
Smytten’s goal is to revolutionize the way brands and consumers interact by creating a worldwide omnichannel platform that provides immersive and experience-based interactions. They currently have an offline presence in NCR, Chandigarh, Bhopal, Surat, and Udaipur. The focus for the next year is to expand their reach in India's Tier II cities through a combination of physical and digital experiences, promoting the adoption of D2C brands in these areas.
With the belief that an omnichannel presence is the need of the hour, with the right online-to-offline strategy, tech, and customer experience across touchpoints, Smytten intends to aggressively expand its retail footprint to offer an omnichannel experience to consumers in many Indian cities. The company’s objective is to facilitate and provide customers access to the top trending lifestyle brands during their purchase decision journey.
“For most new-age D2C brands, their primary channel of sales remains online. With Smytten’s offline presence, the partner brands will get offline exposure in Tier II markets. The store's aesthetic curation caters to the needs of millennials and Gen Z consumers by providing a unique and tasteful retail experience,” added the Co-Founder.
Smytten launched India's first-ever experience store is exciting, where shoppers can try products from trending brands and provide feedback post-trial through a seamless app interface and buy online from Smytten if they like it.
With this, Smytten aims to further expand its footprint by launching hundreds of new offline touchpoints by the end of this year, bringing new-age brands to the heartland of the country. Smytten hopes to connect better with evolving consumers.
Smytten addresses a significant gap in the consumer's pre-purchase journey by offering the opportunity to test a variety of products across different lifestyle needs at a minimal cost. The platform has not only assisted millions of consumers in making informed purchase decisions, but it has also improved brand partners' customer acquisition cost and engagement metrics.
“In the future, Smytten plans to expand its presence in international markets, increase its offline touchpoints and invest more in technology to give meaningful consumer insights to brand partners,” concluded Swagat Sarangi.