Gone are the days when a brand could afford to focus only on its product. Today, companies also have to work on digital marketing, digital sales, and digital customer service, not to mention physical distribution, warehousing, and logistics.
To do so, D2C brands have to work with almost 10 different partners to manage pieces of their ecommerce value chain, including tech agencies, marketing firms, and warehouse operators.
Gurugram-based startup ANS Commerce is bringing all these different aspects on one platform with deep expertise and a technology-based approach.
Vibhor Sahare, Sushant Puri, Nakul Singh, and Amit Monga — who have rich experience in ecommerce, digital marketing, brand building, and operations — saw brands struggling with performance marketing to get traffic to their webstores and decided to focus on this domain.
“We started in early 2017 as a mere consultancy for brands to improve their marketing ROI, but soon realised that current international brand stores were becoming a bottleneck to achieving the true scale and performance,” Vibhor tells YourStory.
Handling ‘everything ecommerce’ for D2C brands
In its first year itself, ANS Commerce won its first client, a B2B FMCG company wanting to start a D2C brand.
“We operated out of a basement office and had many late nights shipping products and solving customer pain points. By the end of our first year, we had grown to 50 people, and realised that brands were increasingly realising the importance of ecommerce but lacked the skills to manage the complexities involved,” Vibhor recalls.
At the end of 2017, the startup was approached by a domestic foods brand seeking marketing solutions; it soon requested the ANS team to develop a brand store for them. That’s how Kartify was born.
The first pay cheque it got from the platform was of Rs 25,000 and business has grown manifold since then, says the founder.
Kartify helpsD2C brands with “everything ecommerce” and focuses on their core —bringing products to the market. The platform is pre-integrated with more than 60 partners such as Unicommerce, Fynd, Delhivery, Razorpay, among others.
It offers sales-focused performance marketing, marketplace management, and warehousing and logistics solutions, and also helps brands sell on their own and on marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart.
“Our full-stack solution enables brands to create their online store and jump-start marketplace operations in no time. Our extensive experience across product, ecommerce, retail, and marketing helps a brand achieve higher sales and stronger brand differentiation,” Vibhor says.
The startup works on a revenue-share model (percentage of sales),and also charges a monthly retainer for managing end-to-end services. It claims to be serving over 100 brands and plans to have 200 clients by the end of this year.
The founders of ANS Commerce
A lucrative market and what lies ahead
In 2018, ANS Commerce was selected as one of eight finalists in Flipkart LEAP accelerator’s first cohort.
In 2019, the startup raised an angel round of $300,000 from Kunal Khattar, Managing Partner of AdvantEdge; Ankur Singla, Founder of Tapzo, OneDirect, Akosha; Akhilesh Bali, Founder of LimeTray, Foodpanda; and Sahil Chalana, Founder of CollegeDunia, Zoutons.
The period between March and May 2020 was ANS Commerce’s most difficult time because of the uncertainty brought by the first wave of COVID-19 and the nationwide lockdown.
“We had to work with even more determination to survive and thrive the period. But, our hard work and luck paid off. We are now profitable with 20 percent month-on-month growth and this was achieved without any lay-offs or salary cuts, ” Vibhor says.
According to Avendus Capital, the D2C sector will be worth $100 billion by 2025, with over 6,000 homegrown brands from India.
Globally, companies offering similar to mid-market and enterprise brands include Shopify, Baozun (China), aCommerce (South East Asia), and Upaghna Ventures in India.
“We enjoy enabling first-time entrepreneurs who want to start a DTC startup but are intimidated by the complexities of ecommerce operations. It’s a treat watching them scale and get consumer love,” the co-founder says.
Over the next 18 months, the startup wants to work towards this goal, sign up more partners, develop better products, and drive value for its clients.
“We aspire to drive more than one percent of all ecommerce sales in India by 2026 and be the preferred partner for every brand in the country for ‘all things ecommerce’,” Vibhor signs off.