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.

D2C Unlocked: Chapter 17: Aamchi Mumbai || The Greatest Insights Unlocked!

17th Chapter of D2C Unlocked, a flagship community-led founders event held in Mumbai 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:

  • Shweta Srivastava, Chief Experience Officer at TATA Cliq
  • Puneet Sehgal, Co-founder of Freakins
  • Niti Singhal, Founder and Designer at Twee In One 
  • Rahul Rohra, Co-Founder & Chief marketing Officer at Scitron
  • Moderated by Nitya Sharma,  Founder, Simpl

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

 

“Performance marketing is so monetized, we go and raise money from the investors and we give away 50% of that to Mark Zuckerberg”

Performance marketing has become heavily monetized, where a significant portion of invested funds ends up allocated to platforms like Google and Facebook. Puneet Sehgal made an insightful observation about how brands today tend to funnel half of their advertising budget into these platforms, leading to an oversaturation of content. Instead, businesses should focus on devising more effective marketing strategies, particularly within the consumer market.

An exemplary case is Freakins, positioning themselves as a supply chain company within the fashion industry. Their success lies in consistently introducing new styles on a monthly basis, recognizing the pivotal role of a robust supply chain in the realm of fashion.

 

Merely engaging influencers to showcase your products isn’t enough.

To break through the clutter and establish a lasting brand recall, influencer marketing should foster a genuine association between the influencer and your brand.

The influencer landscape has significantly expanded over the past decade, with numerous influencers each advocating unique core values, typically in the 22-25 age range. Recognizing this, Freakins recognized the importance of forging authentic relationships with influencers. They innovatively introduced the concept of ‘Capsule collection with influencers.’

What does this entail? Freakins involved influencers as part of their design team, allowing them to contribute their unique style ideas. Upon launch, these collections were branded with the influencer’s name, clearly highlighting their involvement. This strategy resonates with our audience, emphasizing authenticity, while also making influencers proud of their contributions to the collection.”

 

When faced with an oversaturated market, the pivotal question arises: how does one carve out a distinct positioning?

This question is particularly pertinent for every Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) brand striving to stand out amidst the colossal presence of over 1 million brands.

Shweta from Tata Cliq offered a compelling insight into this dilemma. Tata Cliq devised a unique strategy centered around a curated marketplace model. They meticulously selected only authorized sellers, prioritizing trust as a fundamental factor. Additionally, they embraced a ‘phygital’ approach, implementing an omnichannel strategy to cater to their customers across various touchpoints where they are present. This approach was designed to create a model that aligns seamlessly with the diverse needs of the customer base.

 

Fast Fashion versus Sustainability: A Battle of Priorities. Is the quick turnover of trends more important, or is saving the planet our ultimate goal?

During the panel discussion, it became evident that two panelists represented contrasting markets. Freakins champions fast fashion, aiming to bring Zara-like options to the Indian market at half the price, catering to the budget-conscious Gen Z demographic. 

Conversely, Twee in One stands as a ‘Made to Order’ brand focused on sustainability. The discussion revolved around the significance of sustainability in today’s landscape, posing the question of whether brands are willing to invest in sustainability, even at a premium cost.

Niti from Twee in One presented an intriguing perspective, emphasizing that the answer is both ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ Twee specializes in ‘Reversible’ and ‘Convertible’ clothing, appealing to consumers looking to minimize their environmental footprint. Niti highlighted their focus on individuals making conscious decisions to invest in versatile clothing, promoting a lighter travel experience without compromising on style. They target a niche market seeking sustainable choices rather than catering solely to the masses.

Perhaps, this is a topic that we shall pick up for our upcoming webinar. For now, it leaves us contemplating which path holds the key to the future.

 

How to Establish a Business Presence in Tier 2 and 3 Cities?

Rahul from Scitron provided valuable insights into this topic. His extensive experience of visiting 22 states led him to conclude that Tier 2 cities thrive on community connections. In these cities, fitness represents more than just physical well-being; it’s a means to break barriers, gain respect, and become an integral part of a community. He described this phenomenon as the ‘Guruji and bhaiyaji market,’ where community leaders are revered and influential.

The sports nutrition market in India is growing, with different types of products becoming available. But to reach smaller cities, you need influential leaders who can make people like your brand. Rahul says if your brand becomes the choice of these leaders, you’re halfway to winning.

To quickly sum up about the brands given above:

  • Freakins specializes in fast fashion denim wear
  • Tata CLiQ is an ecommerce platform offering Fashion, Footwear, and Accessories
  • Twee In One creates exclusive collections of reversible and convertible clothing
  • Scitron focuses on nutritional supplements