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.