D2C Unlocked: Chapter 19: Vanakkam Coimbatore || The Greatest Insights Unlocked!

19th Chapter of D2C Unlocked, a flagship community-led founders event held in Coimbatore witnessed a gathering of founders of over 50 Direct-to-Customer (D2C) brands from the state, for networking and knowledge exchange among industry leaders and experts. The event unfolded with a dynamic panel discussion with co-founders of leading D2C brands namely:

  1. Nihal TC from Blue Tyga
  2. Khais Rahman from LRL Motors
  3. Pritesh Asher from Juicy Chemistry
  4. Shivam Kumar Dang from Simpl

Let us quickly discuss the most important insights witnessed during this discussion:

Community trust is important:

Community trust is a cornerstone for success in the realm of Direct-to-Customer (D2C) brands. Khais Rahman emphasized the pivotal role of User-Generated Content (UGC) in nurturing this trust. He commented, “When customers contemplate purchasing high-involvement products, their inclination to seek insights from fellow consumers becomes paramount. Hence, fostering a platform that encompasses reviews, testimonials, social media posts, videos, and other content generated by customers themselves is imperative.”

The strategic use of UGC significantly contributes to establishing the bedrock of credibility and authenticity. Potential customers, when exposed to genuine user experiences and opinions, are more inclined to positively perceive and engage with a brand. This, in turn, substantially influences their decision-making process, nudging them towards confident and informed purchase decisions.

Marketplaces to begin with but later move to your D2C channel:

Panelists spoke about the importance of starting on established platforms like Amazon or Flipkart as it initially benefits brands by tapping into existing customer bases and reducing initial costs. This approach speeds up sales without needing to create their own sales platform. The platforms handle logistics and analytics, allowing brands to focus on products and marketing.

However, the long-term goal of D2C brands is to move to their direct sales channel. This move offers significant advantages: complete control over branding, a better understanding of customer needs, and personalized marketing. Direct channels also mean owning valuable customer data, guiding better product development, and targeted marketing. It reduces reliance on external platforms, safeguarding against policy changes or higher fees. It establishes a direct link with customers, ensuring tailored solutions that meet their preferences, promising sustained success in a dynamic market.

Trusted checkout is a mandate for your D2C business: 

In the world of direct-to-consumer (D2C) businesses, a reliable checkout process is crucial. Khais from LRL Motors highlighted this during the panel discussion, citing Simpl’s impact on their business. The checkout phase marks the culmination of a customer’s journey, significantly shaping their experience.

Simpl’s streamlined and secure checkout system transformed LRL Motors’ operations, ensuring a seamless transaction process. This not only boosts customer satisfaction but also reduces cart abandonment rates and increases conversions. Beyond efficient transactions, a trustworthy checkout mechanism like Simpl fosters customer trust and simplifies purchasing.

Make the lives of people more comfortable by researching about the problems they face: 

Making people’s lives more comfortable involves a proactive approach to understanding and solving their day-to-day challenges. Nihal from Blue Tyga shared a compelling example of this approach by highlighting the inception of their Sunscreen jacket. This innovative product stemmed from observing a woman spending a considerable amount of time covering herself before riding her two-wheeler, which sparked the idea of creating a solution to this specific problem.

The key principle behind this strategy is empathy-driven research. It involves delving into the lives of the target audience, actively listening to their experiences, and identifying pain points or inconveniences they face. This meticulous observation allows companies like Blue Tyga to gain a deep understanding of the real-life issues people encounter.

Talk to your customers:

Pritesh from Juicy Chemistry spoke about the importance of engaging in direct conversations with the customers. He spoke about how it stands as a fundamental pillar for their brand, particularly when it comes to introducing new products. He commented, “We firmly believe that educating consumers about our offerings takes precedence before anything else, a crucial step often overlooked in marketplaces.”

D2C brands also need to study consumer behavior. Understanding the evolving behaviors of the Gen Z generation is pivotal. Their seamless integration with phone applications and swift adaptability characterize their shopping habits. Time is of the essence for them – the traditional shopping journey involving travel, parking, and in-store browsing doesn’t align with their fast-paced lifestyle. They prefer the convenience of purchasing products with a simple click.

The trust of your consumer on every platform is very important: 

Consumer trust stands as a paramount asset in any business strategy. Establishing direct communication channels, such as through WhatsApp or other mediums, plays a pivotal role in nurturing this trust. Timely responses, ideally within one minute, are crucial to demonstrating attentiveness and reliability. Moreover, comprehensive product information readily available on the product side ensures transparency and instills confidence in the consumer. Recognizing the significance of skincare and haircare in consumers’ lives, products must deliver on promises from the first use; otherwise, there’s a risk of losing the customer permanently.

To fortify connections and accessibility, it’s essential to create multiple touchpoints across platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and various other channels to engage consumers effectively. The post-sales experience significantly impacts customers’ perceptions and willingness to become brand advocates, underscoring the importance of exceptional service and support during and after the purchase phase, nurturing not only satisfaction but also encouraging positive word-of-mouth referrals.

To quickly sum up about the brands given above:

  • Blue Tyga: It deals with comfortable athleisure wear in India, their bestseller is Sunscreen Jacket
  • LRL Motors: Prominent player in the import and marketing of premium motorcycle-related products
  • Juicy Chemistry: Specializes in 100% organic beauty and personal care products for face, skin, hair and body in India

D2C Unlocked: Chapter 18: Aamar Kolkata || The Greatest Insights Unlocked!

18th Chapter of D2C Unlocked, a flagship community-led founders event held in Kolkata witnessed a gathering of founders of over 100 Direct-to-Customer (D2C) brands from the state, for networking and knowledge exchange among industry leaders and experts. The event unfolded with a dynamic panel discussion with co-founders of leading D2C brands namely:

  • Ayush Gupta, Co-Founder & CEO, Chaigram
  • Mayank Bindal, Co-founder & CEO, Snap E cabs
  • Ankit Kothari, Co-Founder, WishCare
  • Sunil Saha, Co-Founder & CEO, Blue Tea
  • Moderated by Shivam Dang, Head of Startup Ecosystem & Partnerships, Simpl

Let us quickly discuss the most important insights witnessed during this discussion:

“Everyone is targeting the same 1 crore people in India who are buying. Everyone’s mobile time is limited and we all brands are fighting for a space in that. So decreasing the CAC is difficult but if you can market your product in a way that is unique, then maybe half the battle is won.”

Sunil Saha emphasized the significance of a standout product, stating that in a competitive market, where numerous brands target the same pool of customers, standing out becomes crucial. With everyone vying for attention in limited mobile space, reducing Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is challenging. However, if your marketing approach is distinctive, it can significantly tip the scales in your favor, potentially winning half the battle. He added that “Most people have to think out of their best wit to figure out a way that how do I reach my consumers with the lowest possible money and how do I still sell and beat the hell out of competition”. He proposed the following ideas:

  • Distinctive Branding: Creating a unique brand identity can capture consumer attention more effectively.
  • Innovative Marketing Tactics: Employing unconventional marketing strategies can yield better results.
  • Value Proposition Highlight: Emphasizing the product’s unique value sets it apart from competitors.
  • Pioneer something entirely new or unprecedented: Make something completely new that nobody has made before.

“If your product struggles to gain traction in a specific region, consider a global approach.”

Ankit Kothari highlighted the advantage of leveraging online platforms to gain a deeper understanding of customer preferences. For instance, by running targeted advertisements in a city or state, businesses can gauge the level of interest in that area. This data enables informed decisions about potential physical presence in that location.Expanding globally can help find markets where your product might be in demand, even if it isn’t selling well in a particular state or country. Basically, online platforms offer valuable insights into customer behavior and this data shall help in evaluating whether establishing a physical presence in those areas would be beneficial. Therefore, going global allows businesses to explore untapped markets and make informed decisions about expanding their reach.

“What is the feedback you are getting from your customer? It can be related to opening the package to the delivery boy, to using it, everything is covered. It now has a fancy term called customer satisfaction”.

Every panelist was onboard about the most important C in marketing – Customer satisfaction. In today’s business landscape, customer feedback holds immense value, shaping product development, service enhancement, and overall brand success. From the moment a package arrives to interacting with delivery personnel and using the product, each touchpoint contributes to what’s now known as “customer satisfaction.”

  • Unveiling the Power of Customer Feedback: Decoding Customer Satisfaction:The customer journey spans various stages, offering crucial insights into the user experience. From purchase to packaging quality, delivery timelines, and product functionality, feedback at each stage provides comprehensive views into consumer perceptions. Actively listening to customers’ opinions helps address concerns and appreciate positive feedback, showcasing a commitment to customer-centricity. Addressing feedback-driven pain points leads to enhanced loyalty, positive word-of-mouth, and increased brand advocacy.
  • The Role of Technology: Advancements in technology have streamlined feedback mechanisms. Artificial intelligence-driven sentiment analysis tools and data analytics help businesses make sense of vast amounts of feedback data. This empowers them to make data-driven decisions to improve customer experiences.

“One other metric to take care of is availability. We have to be present in different parts of the world and the customer should get the product the very next day.”

One of the panelists highlighted a key strategy: their product was strategically stocked in 18 different warehouses across India. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, this became a significant advantage for their brand. The multi-warehouse setup enabled them to offer a one-day delivery option, which proved crucial during the pandemic. Therefore, supply chain efficiency, particularly ensuring product availability across diverse global regions and timely delivery is paramount, aiming for customers to receive their ordered products within a swift 2-3 day timeframe.

A smooth supply chain is super important for D2C brands. It’s not just about making good stuff but also making sure it gets to customers worldwide without delays. Faster deliveries make customers happier and more likely to stick around. So, these brands should invest in a strong supply chain setup using tech and good logistics. This way, they can make sure their products are available everywhere and reach customers fast. This not only meets customer needs but also keeps these brands ahead in the competition.

“Brands today sell on the basis of community. Community is building the D2C space as customer behavior has changed.”

Mayank Bindal and Ayush Gupta highlighted the pivotal role of community engagement in today’s brand landscape. They emphasized how community-driven sales have significantly influenced the Direct-to-Customer (D2C) sector, adapting to changing consumer behaviors. Building and nurturing a dedicated community around a brand has become integral to success.

While initiating a D2C brand is comparatively straightforward, sustaining its success poses challenges. However, the rising disposable income among the middle class has facilitated easier product purchases. The key is to create products that customers love enough to organically promote within their communities. Moreover, the streamlined one-tap checkout process has enhanced the overall buying experience. As consumers have both the financial means and a desire for unique self-expression, they’re empowered to achieve personal fulfillment through their buying choices. This evolving consumer behavior underscores the importance of brands focusing on fostering strong communities and aligning their products with customers’ sense of individuality for sustained success in the D2C landscape.

To quickly sum up about the brands given above:

  • Chaigram: Specializes in offering a diverse range of organic tea in multiple flavors.
  • Snap E Cabs: Focuses on providing electric car services.
  • WishCare: Deals in beauty and personal care products.
  • Blue Tea: Offers unique tea made from blue flowers with Ayurvedic properties.