D2C Unlocked Chapter 5 : Namaste Dilli

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a change in consumer behavior and a surge in D2C brands in India. With more people using the internet and smartphones, the country is now witnessing a rise in online buying despite previously being skeptical about eCommerce.

 

We were back in Delhi for Chapter 5 of D2C Unlocked, following four successful previous events. At this Delhi Chapter, D2C founders had the opportunity to connect with their peers and other industry leaders, as well as gain valuable insights from experienced professionals in the industry.

 

This time around, our speaker panel featured industry leaders, including Bharat Sethi, the founder of Rage Coffee, Anshuk Aggarwal, the co-founder of ADYogi and Jayant Rajan, the Agency Partner Manager at Meta – moderated by Nitya Sharma, the CEO of Simpl, who shared their experiences and knowledge on building a successful D2C brand. They discussed the strategies and insights that helped them stand out among other brands and attract customers.

 

The Rage Journey

 

Bharat Sethi, the founder of Rage Coffee, discussed his entrepreneurial journey and the mistakes he made as a founder. He explained how coffee, although not a traditional or ancient beverage in Indian culture, has become a staple part of many morning routines. 

 

Bharat also mentioned that India is the world’s 6th largest coffee producer. He emphasized the importance of branding in product recognition and how the name “Rage” was chosen for their coffee brand. 

 

When asked what sets Rage Coffee apart from other brands in the market, Bharat explained that they focused on tackling bigger problems in the market such as sourcing, ingredients, and manufacturing techniques, and made difficult decisions about production and distribution rather than aiming for quick wins. This, along with the fundamental differentiation of their product, helps set Rage Coffee apart.

 

AdYogi’s Growth

 

Anshuk Aggarwal, Co-Founder of ADYogi, shared his experience of building a business from scratch and how it differs from scaling an existing one. He acknowledged that it can be challenging to acquire the first 100 customers in the early stages of a business, but that utilizing effective marketing strategies can help to increase the customer base. 

 

He also mentioned how paid marketing channels such as Meta helped in getting the products recognized among customers. Anshuk also highlighted the importance of the quality of content and products in building a strong brand and competing with both local and global players.

 

He also emphasized that content is the driving force that can push the product forward, and a business becomes stronger when customers speak positively about it.

 

Meta’s Thoughts

 

Jayant Rajan, Agency Partner Manager at Meta, discussed the competitive nature of the market and emphasized that different strategies work for different products – emphasizing that it is important to understand the unique features and characteristics of the product you are launching and not to try to replicate the success of other brands. 

 

He also suggested that new brands should focus on both short-term profit and customer loyalty. While the customer acquisition cost (CAC) may be higher initially, the lifetime value of the customer will be higher, which leads to increased margins and cost-cutting in return on investment (ROI) and marketing. Jayant also talks about the importance of targeted marketing efforts to the right TG.

 

Key Takeaways:

 

  • Sometimes, having a well-designed product may not be enough, in such cases, branding plays a crucial role in making the product stand out in a crowded marketplace.
  • When scaling a business, it’s important to focus on solving real problems in the market related to sourcing, production, and distribution to make the product unique.
  • To be cost-effective and efficient, it’s important to use the right marketing channels and places to reach potential customers and avoid wasting resources on channels that don’t yield results.
  • The product’s content is the primary driver of its success, other factors come later.
  • Rather than trying to replicate the strategies of other successful brands, it’s important to understand the unique features and characteristics of your product and tailor your strategies accordingly.

 

Register for Chapter 6 in Bangalore, this Febrauary here…

 

5 Ways to Optimize Your Product Pages

When we think of optimization for D2C businesses, product pages take the spotlight because the whole purpose of these pages is to provide a wealth of information to potential customers and help them decide whether they’re making a purchase or not.

Is that not reason enough to ensure that these pages are optimized?

Here are some pointers to keep in mind when for you’re evaluating the optimization of your product pages:

>  Address your customers’ pain points: Make your product page about solving your customers’ problems and not about your brand because most customers make a purchase to solve a problem or make life easier and not simply because they love a brand. It also helps if you can establish your product as the best solution to a problem by sharing customer stories, statistics and anything else that customers might derive direct value from.

> Ensure your website loads lightning fast: Statistics show that 40% of eCommerce shoppers don’t wait for more than 3 seconds for a page to load before they choose to leave a website. You can retain a huge chunk of customers by just optimizing your website for speed – check what’s wrong by running a simple assessment for free on GTmetrix or PageSpeed Insights and optimize for those issues.

Test your loadspeed now

> Experiment with exit intent pop-ups: It’s a misconception that a brand loses out on a potential customer as soon as they click on the exit button. However, exit intent pop-ups serve that exact purpose. Experiment with these pop-ups to incentivize customers with offers or exclusive deals to make a purchase as soon as they decide to leave a page or even hover near the exit button.

Look at some interesting exit pop-ups

> Mobile friendliness is not optional anymore: Mobile eCommerce holds a 72% market share in 2022, which is why it is extremely important for you to ensure that your store is mobile friendly because a poor user experience can be a major turn off for potential customers.

How good is the mobile-friendliness of your store?

 

 

> Build trust with product page elements: Product reviews and testimonials can go a long way in building trust with potential customers. Most customers read reviews before taking a dive. Feature social media posts, star ratings, user reviews, etc, on your product pages to ensure that your existing customers advocate for your products, helping potential customers convert.

5 Ways to Supercharge D2C Growth

The D2C space has been booming in India with over 5000 E-commerce D2C brands. The competition is steep and is on an increasing slope and as a D2C brand, you must do what it takes to ensure your business stands out from the rest. That is why we’ve identified 5 key points to keep in mind for when it comes to D2C startup growth.

 

> Personalization for the win:

The increase in the number of shoppers and stores online have made things very generic – this is a huge opportunity for businesses to make a difference with a little personalization which can go a long way in helping you stand out. A friendly message, calling out your customers’ name or even location based personalization with your marketing communications can improve your customers’ experience and even improve brand recall and conversions.

>  Automation can release a huge burden:
D2C businesses like yours have the potential to grow rapidly which means you need to focus on what really matters. Automating the more menial tasks such as marketing, workflows, reporting, etc, can allow you to do more in less time whilst reducing the risk of human error.

>  Pay attention to your buyers’ journey and map out your buyer persona:
Map out your customers’ entire journey to highlight friction points as well as identify opportunities for personalization. Something as small as removing an unnecessary step in your customer journey can go a long way with improving your customer experience. Additionally, ensure you have a stronghold on your buyer persona and highlight pain points, challenges and anything else you can gather about your ideal customer. The more your refine and define your ideal customer, the easier it becomes to relate to them and help them make a purchase decision.

>  Mobile first is the way to go:
Global statistics show that 56% of online sales happen on mobile sites, which makes it utterly important that your customer has a great experience on mobile as well. Optimizing your website to be mobile-first will ensure your site is more user-friendly and improve customer experience and attract more clicks and improve conversions.

Optimize payments and checkout

Payments have the potential to cause the most amount of friction for your customer, which is why it can be a crucial aspect of converting your customers as well. Having multiple payment options including credit/debit cards, UPI, COD and even a BNPL option for your customers makes it more likely for them to make a payment faster than if they have limited options.

 

5 Must-Have Shopify Apps to Elevate Your Post Purchase Experience

 

A seamless post-purchase experience can go a long way in enhancing your customers’ last mile. This is why we’ve curated a little list of Shopify apps that help elevate your customers’ post purchase experience and keep them coming back to you 🔄💯

 

> 🛍️Turn shoppers into brand advocates with Smile.io

Every customer loves a good rewards program and that’s where Smile.io comes in, providing easy-to-use reward programs to help D2C brands transform their one-time sales into repeat customers. Explore the app…

 

> 🎧Leverage support to increase sales with Gorgias

Quality of support can be the difference between a million dollar brand and a future billion dollar brand, this makes it crucial to pick the right helpdesk tool for your business. Gorgias offers a multi-channel helpdesk while allowing merchants to manage it all from one dashboard, giving support agents a unified view of their customers. Explore the app…

 

> 🚚📦Optimize your shipping experience with Pickrr

Pickrr is a logistics aggregator that partners with leading courier companies to make shipping faster, easier and cost-effective for our clients. It helps businesses scale rapidly by streamlining shipping and order fulfilment. It will help you manage your deliveries across multiple carriers on a single dashboard to make your shipping experience affordable and hassle-free. Explore the app…

 

> 🔔Create a seamless delivery experience with Aftership

The wait before their product is delivered can be the most anxious time for any online shopper. Keeping them engaged during this phase can help reduce their anxiety and give them a pleasant delivery experience. With Aftership you can keep your customers informed with timely shipping notification as well as provide them with a branded tracking page in case they ever want to know the whereabouts of their delivery. Explore the app…

 

> 🔙Seamless returns can increase customer loyalty with Return Prime

We often underestimate how important it can be to build trust and loyalty and how seamless returns can make customers come back to you. With Return Prime, you can manage all your returns, exchanges and refunds at one place – and it is self-serve, which means your customers can do it on their own, helping you reduce your support queries. Explore the app…

 

> ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Let your customers speak their mind with Reviews.io

E-Commerce businesses can benefit from review collection – your future customers will research your company online before even arriving at your website so it’s important to maintain a consistent reputation everywhere. Moreover, word-of-mouth is great for business, which is why Reviews.io’s product allows you to monitor and grow your online brand through review collection and management. Explore the app…

 

D2C Unlocked Chapter 4 : Amchi Mumbai

 

The D2C space in India is more exciting than ever – this is because the Indian population has warmed up to shopping online over the course of the pandemic. However, here’s an interesting fact – 60% of India’s 1.4 billion population is under the age of 40, which means half the individuals in the country are potentially internet savvy and D2C brands can target and tap catering to their needs, interests and wants.

 

Chapter 4 of the D2C unlocked took place in Mumbai after 3 successful events in the past where D2C founders got to network with peers and other founders while also getting to hear great insight from industry titans. 

 

This time around, we had Ninad Karpe, Partner at 100x VC, Trisha Rajani Vaidya, Co-Founder of Dr. Vaidya’s and Sahil Gupta, Co-Founder of MyMuse alongside Simpl’s CEO, Nitya Sharma – who talked about their journey, some things that helped them along the way, other insights that helped them overcome their challenges among other things. Read on to learn more about their conversation.

 

The much debated “aha moments”

 

Sahil, the founder of MyMuse had a successful career in private equity in NYC before entering the D2C space in India. However, he felt a lack of passion or drive for what he was doing. That’s when it became clear that he wanted to move back to India to start something of his own. The idea of MyMuse came from how hard and embarrassing it can be to purchase sexual wellness in a store in India and there was nothing more than the regular over the counter products when it came to intimate wellness. 

 

Trisha says that both she and her husband Arjun, who founded Dr. Vaidya’s together, had worked abroad for a long time and always wanted to take a plunge and never really got to it. They first started an offline store that did very well initially but couldn’t scale to the heights they wanted it to – which is how the idea of leveraging the internet for an online store came up. One must also remember that this was a time when online shopping was new and unheard of and D2C didn’t have a name yet.

 

Ninad Karpe spoke about what changed his mind with regards to out of the box ideas – an encounter with a 17 year old founder led to a change in the way Ninad now looks at pitches. He even listens to thrice as many pitches in a day than he used to previously because an amazing idea might come from anywhere one must listen to as many of them as possible to not miss out on any. 

 

Learnings:

 

  • The right research is key to starting a brand or creating a product.
  • Find out if you’re solving a problem that people are facing.
  • Don’t define yourself and your product, let the people around you do it – that’s when things start to unravel.
  • Entrepreneurship has more lows than highs but that’s something no one really talks about.
  • Whether it comes to packaging, pricing, branding, etc, always cater to what your target customers will like and relate with and not what you or the people around you like.
  • Follow market opportunities – you might not always be right but it’s all an experience.

 

Taking market share from other players is regressive

 

When you think of building a brand, it’s always better to think of someone rather than trying to pitch your idea to everyone. Great brands don’t think of TAM initially – the way to go about it is to optimise for the first 100 customers and then the next 100 and so on.

 

“Great companies create their own new TAM”

 

Marketplace vs D2C

 

Both these channels have their pros and cons. For instance, marketplaces can help with discovery but when you’re starting out, it’s difficult to get your product up there in the search results. There’s no real answer to whether your brand should be marketplace first or D2C first. However, it is extremely easy to start online today with no code tech stacks readily available and enablers and tools offering trial periods for you to leverage. 

 

On the other hand, when it comes to a marketplace, it is tough to build a brand but with D2C, you own your whole customer journey, making it easier to keep them happy.

 

Cutting down on RTOs

 

Building trust is key to reducing RTOs. Some brands experience a huge chunk of COD orders that are potential RTOs, however there are some ways to overcome this challenge such as tools that help you verify customers and give them a score. Additionally, calling customers 3-4 times in a span of 12 hours if they don’t respond can help you verify your order. 

 

The delivery phase is extremely important as it can enhance or break a customer experience because customers don’t care about the delivery partner, they know the brand they purchased from and any discrepancy will be attributed to them. More importantly, being transparent with your customers is key to building that trust and reducing RTOs. 

 

Reducing Cost of Acquisition (CAC)

 

The biggest question every entrepreneur faces is how to reduce the cost of acquisition. Ever since Google and Meta ads have grown in stature, people have abandoned many other low CAC methods of marketing, simply because of how easy Google and Meta are to use. 

 

One cannot reduce CAC overnight, it’s a process that takes years of effort but bears a lot of fruit. Here are some ways for entrepreneurs to reduce the CAC of their business:

 

  • Email marketing: Emails are essentially zero CAC. All you need to do is pay a monthly subscription to email an email software and have access to a relevant database and it’s practically free forever to send out emails to these customers.
  • Word of mouth: If you delight your customers, they will spread the word about the great experience they had with your brand. If a customer tells his friend about your product and they go on to make a purchase, you’ve already reduced your CAC by half.
  • Referral programs: Run referral programs to make your customers the advocates of your brand. This will help you reduce CAC in the long run.

 

3 pieces of advice from a seasoned investor

 

As a seasoned investor, Ninad Karpe has seen his fair share of businesses, ideas and success stories and he shares three key takeaways from his experience.

 

  • Inch wide, mile deep: Don’t focus on creating too many different products, instead focus on perfecting the product you have and make it flawless first before expanding.
  • Fall in love with a person, not a product: Entrepreneurs are often passionate about their products. However, as an entrepreneur, you must be falling in love with your customer and focus on solving their problems instead of just being passionate about your product.
  • In Ninad’s words, “You don’t have to please your Chacha”: As an entrepreneur, you’re not in the business of pleasing everyone – be it stakeholders, investors, etc. You’re there to create something great and your customers are the only people you must please.

 

“D2C before the name was just convincing people to buy online” – Trisha Vaidya

 

Stay tuned for the next D2C Unlocked event coming to your city soon! For now, here’s a glimpse of the event.

 

 

D2C Unlocked Comes to Delhi!

The second edition of Simpl’s much-awaited D2C Unlocked meetup was held last week in New Delhi. Over 65+ brands, 25+ investors and 20+ other D2C enablers including the Simpl team focused on building the D2C community participated in the event. The D2C meetup provided a great networking opportunity for major brands in the Delhi NCR region. Our partners for the event included Fluid VC, All in one, Cybez and Headstart.

 

The first hour of the mixer began with a fireside chat with panelists like Arpit Agarwal, Director at Blume Ventures; Nitya Sharma, Cofounder and CEO at Simpl; Rohit Chawla, Founder and CEO at Innovist (Bare Anatomy) and Mansi Baranwal, Founder, Troovy; Founder, Vouch; Co-founder Headstart Network Foundation; ex-Director Bain Company (consumer products). This was followed by introductions and networking. It was a great platform for D2C brand founders, especially those who are just starting out, to have insights from 15+ investor companies. Investors shared insightful pointers on key areas to focus on.

 

We had investors such as Angelnest, Anybodycanfly, 8roads investor, Sauce VC, Blume ventures, Shiprocket Ventures, Speedfund, Carpe Diem Capital, Emerge Capital, RPSG capital, Cybez and Stock Pe, attend the event.

 

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Building a D2C Community, One Brand at a Time

Simpl hosted the first of many D2C Meet Up with representatives from 21 brands from the D2C ecosystem at GoNative, Bangalore. Nitya Sharma, CEO & Co-Founder of Simpl, along with our entire Business team, joined the meeting. The session included insightful conversations between Nitya, and Ankur Khaitan, Principal, Fireside Ventures.

The brands were able to network with their peers and understand the nuances of branding and marketing from each other. The fireside chat went on for a couple of hours with lots of interesting questions and knowledge sharing on marketing and branding.

At Simpl, we’re driven by the idea of empowering merchants, big or small, and constantly working towards strengthening their bonds of trust with their exclusive consumers and tangibly growing the brand power of D2C brands.

 


 

The D2C brands that joined us: Flatheads, Waterscience, Mytravely, Mensa, BuyWow, Plugo, Freshmenu, Country Clay, Medwiser, Bounce, Ethical, Audio, Headstart, Rapido, We Are For You, Nutri Fuel, Stratham.

 


 

For many guests, it was their first business onsite catch up, and this is what the folks had to say:

“There are not many meetups that happen in D2C, so it was good to attend one; it also gave us a perspective of what investors look for in early-stage D2C brands and how can we collaborate with them.”

“I would love to attend more such meetups if the venue is more central; this gave me an opportunity to learn what’s new in the early stage D2C world.” 

 “Meeting other D2C companies made us realize that there is so much opportunity for us to collaborate with D2C companies; this meetup helped us find new business opportunities.”

“We look forward to more such sessions, in collaboration with Headstart, and further strengthening the D2C community.”

Back in Bangalore – D2C Unlocked : Chapter 3

 

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.