Direct-to-consumer business model has taken the business world by storm. D2C has helped businesses survive and thrive in the pandemic, and the growth was remarkable as well. It is a game changer for almost all segments- healthcare, fashion, beauty, and more.
“The country’s online shoppers base is likely to jump to 300 million in the next five years with 90% of the consumers from tier II cities and beyond. Last year, during the festival period alone, e-commerce giants, Amazon, Flipkart and various vertical players clocked nearly $9 billion sales, despite the pandemic onslaught, as per various estimates,” Mrigank, Gutgutia, Director, Redseer.
Looking at these numbers, it is not surprising that all brands are focussed on their digital channels. It has been reported that more than 800 brands have joined the D2C club in recent years, in India. Not only new brands and startups but traditional players are also establishing a strong presence in the D2C market. The key players of the segment include Lenskart, Licious, Zivame, Epigamia, BoAt, Wow Skin Science, Healthkart, Mamaearth, MyGlamm, SUGAR Cosmetics, Country Delight, amongst others.
Customer is god
You must have heard this saying a lot. When it comes to digital models, it becomes more of a challenge as the only means of communication is internet-based. So it becomes important that brands make their customers’ journey as convenient and seamless as possible.
As appealing as this business model looks, it has got its own set of challenges- customer experience being one of the key struggles. It is utmost important to not just focus on scalability and revenue, but adopt new capabilities to build a smooth journey for your customers.
Here’s a list of things brands should focus on to enhance their customer experience:
- Focus on retention
Customer acquisition has become a broken record by now. Brands know marketing, campaigns, ads but how to stand out of the crowd? Bringing in new customers is important but so is focussing on your old ones. Planning a customer retention strategy is the key to stay in business and thrive.
Be personal with your customers. From wishing on their special days to offering discounts and surprise gifts, D2C is all about making that personal connection using digital tools and channels.
- Present an accurate picture
It is better to be honest than to pretend you are the best. Take clear and accurate pictures of your products. Add as many details and features as possible so your customer can know exactly what they are signing up for and can choose wisely.
Customers of the new age believe in transparency. Be sure of what you are conveying through your pictures and content as content has become the new age packaging. Shipping charges, delivery charges, returns and refunds all must be clearly established to avoid any confusion for both the consumer and the brand.
- Communication is the key
Throughout the buying process, it is important to communicate clearly and effectively. Keep your customers informed about every step of the process. Confirmation receipts, shipment information, real-time tracking, delivery process all should be informed about.
For optimal customer experience, ensure the post-buying process is also smooth. Returns and refunds should be as smooth as the purchasing process. These days businesses are also enabling reviews and ratings, conducting surveys for this.
- Offer smooth transactions
Digital payment models have been on a rise. Brands must try to make the transactions simpler, and offer multiple payment methods at checkout. Enable multiple cards, wallets and UPIs for your customers.
Deferred payments, also known as ‘buy now, pay later’ is also one of the recent trends witnessed in the industry. Smooth transactions can be a make or break for your consumers.
( Also read: India’s e-payments landscape, trends and opportunities )
- Don’t ignore social media
Social media is a vital tool. It can be confusing as there are so many choices available today-Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and so many more. Instead of trying to excel your strategy on all of them, it is better to focus on what your capability allows you to do.
Use these channels to identify your target audience, communicate with them. Additionally, keep your profiles updated with new launches and products. Use the right channel and the right content strategy. Social media is also a great tool for marketing as influencer marketing has become hugely popular.
- Take advantage of data
With digital channels, one of the key advantages is data. Nobody has to do the guesswork anymore. One can easily find stats, reach, engagement rate and plan their strategy accordingly. Be sure that you handle this data skillfully.
As the data is abundant, there might be some challenges. Brands should filter this data to get a clear picture of their custom journey across different platforms.
- Don’t be shy of investing
To overcome the struggles of D2C, it is suggested that brands don’t shy away from investing in new age platforms, tools, services, even people. These professionals can help you boost your engagement and revenue exponentially.
D2C businesses should leverage automation tools, modern day technologies such as AI, ML, AR and also stay updated with new trends.
Direct-to-consumer businesses have to be more consumer oriented than product. As long as your customers take the centrestage and your product is right, you can expand and grow remarkably with technology and data.