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D2C brands of today will achieve breakthrough growth and emerge as big corporations, say experts

The post-COVID era witnessed a surge in brands wanting to explore the internet economy to reach out to their customers. As a result, the D2C model gained momentum in the country with thousands of new brands paving their way in the daily life of a consumer.

The evolving D2C ecosystem and the industry estimation of $100 billion market growth in the upcoming years has put India in the global spotlight. Today, all retail brands want to achieve the D2C success story to scale their business faster with limitless reach and access to first-party data.

To discuss in detail, YourStory in association with Cashfree hosted a webinar on ‘How to build and scale a D2C brand in India’ featuring Amar Preet Singh, Co-founder and COO, Neeman’s; Ganesh Balakrishnan, Co-founder and CBO; Flatheads; Gaurav Singh Kushwaha, Founder and CEO, Bluestone; and Manmeet Singh, Director, Growth, Cashfree Payments.

Key profitability areas

Amar Preet kick-started the discussion by highlighting the key profitability areas that are essential to building a D2C success story. The new and emerging brands should first focus on building a website, getting traffic, and establishing a consumer connection. “Brands can start with having a website on Shopify that offers all the necessary features. Moreover, brands can integrate with key logistics and payment enablers to get started with the business,” he said.

When brands choose the D2C route, said Amar Preet, it’s extremely important to build a loyal customer base, which will further help brands scale to the next phase of the growth journey.

Talking about the challenges a brand faces while building a full-scale D2C model, Ganesh of Flatheads said that the first roadblock is always the discoverability factor. Finding the right kind of audience, getting them to engage with your brand, and establishing a connection with your customer are some of the critical areas for brands to work on. Creating a differentiating factor and communicating how the brand stands out are also important. Finally, customer delight is another factor that needs consideration from a brand’s point of view.

Technology is the backbone

“D2C brands rely heavily on technology. Tech is the backbone of all kinds of processes and operations that helps them build the right kind of product,” said Gaurav of Bluestone.

According to him, traditional companies have multiple layers to them and it is difficult to understand the consumer sentiment in the initial years. That’s where the differentiation comes in for D2C brands. “Being a D2C brand enables you to be closer to your customer and look for feedback in real-time. Leveraging technology helps a great deal in building a product that your customer desires,” added Gaurav.

Reiterating Gaurav’s sentiments on technology, Manmeet of Cashfree said, “We have witnessed a systemic push for digital payments majorly from two sectors – government and fintechs.”

The government has taken various measures to increase the penetration of digital payments through UPI, as a result of which a majority of online transactions are happening through the UPI.

Apart from the government, fintechs are revolutionary institutions that are now making products for the unbanked. “Innovative products and features like BNPL, credit cards for kids and teenagers are sure to increase the penetration of digital payments in the country,” he stated.

Sharing their views on the future of the D2C ecosystem, the panellists noted that trends like virtual e-commerce, optimised logistics solutions, hyper-personalisation of consumer experience, are set to define the future. The future will also look at the new brands of today making it big and directly competing with the giants of the market in the upcoming years.

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