There’s never been a more exciting time to be an entrepreneur; Be a part of the Indian Startup ecosystem; Be a D2C Brand. These numbers speak for themselves:
19000+ e-commerce entrepreneurs
- 5217 active e-commerce start-ups
- 800+ D2C brands
- India will have over 214 million hyper-local e-commerce consumers by the end of 2022
E-commerce really took off during the pandemic years when Indian consumers were forced to stay indoors but continue living in the new normal: shop for essentials online and access all types of services online (think healthcare, education, finance, retail, beauty, wellness, etc..)
The convenience of online shopping has the Indian diaspora hooked, and new age technologies, including AI/ML, blockchain, biometric verification, etc have enabled digital payment players to offer seamless payment options, including the very popular 1-click checkout as offered by Simpl.
Spurt in D2C brands
Not surprisingly, this ease of pivoting to online channels is encouraging more Indians to take the plunge into the Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) bandwagon. Right now, the most popular categories are personal care, clothing and footwear, groceries and refined foods, Jewellery, Electronics, Healthcare, Home furnishings, and garden.
Brands want to own their narrative and own the customer experience, and there’s no better way than D2C to be able to do this. The four factors that are helping D2C brands spread their wings:
- Agility to change the business model in tune with changing consumer behaviour and mindset
- Go-to-market strategy is nimble (You can choose to sell homemade pickles with your unique branding at a local fair; Your journey into D2C has begun)
- Strong digital capability in the age of the digital native (the GenZ and millennial cohort spend an average of 8 hours per day online)
- Attractive Brand packaging still woos eyeballs and closes the sale!
Besides these aspects, D2C brands have the luxury of developing their own apps and setting up their own, unique marketplace.
At the recently-concluded Simpl D2C Unlocked meet at Bangalore, we had over 100 participants, including D2C brands, D2C enablers, investors, and the larger ecosystem to share their brand stories, challenges, and what it takes to succeed in this exciting market.
GETTING GO TO MARKET (GTM) RIGHT
These days, performance marketing and omnichannel presence are all the rage, but it isn’t for every brand. Take Supertails, for instance. According to Vineet Khanna, Co-Founder, of Supertails, while the initial GTM involved going omnichannel, they realised early that offline wasn’t the right way and stuck to online.
Besides a nimble GTM, entrepreneurs in the D2C space should be ready to rewire their business model. Vineet recounts that Supertails had to revisit its business model; the founding team realised that they couldn’t acquire customers from vets (interesting fact, there are more than 32 million pets but only 10K vets in India; problem statement – how do you provide quality pet health care given the paucity of vets?). So they started selling their pet care products online, and the catch – every purchase made by a pet owner won them a free consult. Within 4 months, the team had enabled over 4k consults.
Make your product visible and discoverable on all platforms. Networking events such as Simpl D2C Unlocked can help you gain visibility in the right circle and develop an enabling and supportive community as well.
GETTING THE CONSUMER PULSE
Consumers these days are all about brand authenticity, sustainability, and responsible consumption. And the most important – TRUST!! Trust is a currency in D2C. Being a direct-to-consumer brand, you must earn your consumer trust, and once earned, it can help you disrupt the marketplace; The Network Effect takes off. E.g.; The Moms Co; Raw Pressery
If you can tick all of these boxes or at least address these asks in your product while ensuring quality and value for money. And don’t forget the age-old adage, your employees are your first customers. If you hire the right set of people who believe in your vision as a founder and share your passion for the product, you are in it for the long haul, according to Vinay Kothari, Founder, GO DESi.