The pandemic has pushed the growth of the D2C (Direct to Consumer) ecosystem and it has made it easier for customers to directly connect with brands of their preference in a more personalized manner. Therefore it becomes important for the brands to build a user interface that provides a seamless experience to its customers. As per data shared by KPMG India, currently, over 800 D2C brands are operating in India. D2C players have raised an excess of $2.5 billion since 2014, making the D2C sector worth $44.6 billion in India as of 2021.

The panelists of the session included:

Neha Kant, Co-Founder, Clovia
Nitin Agarwal, CEO, GlobalBees
Nitin Singhal, Managing Director, Adobe India
Tarun Sharma, Co-Founder & CEO, mCaffeine
Vikas Bagaria, Founder, Pee Safe
Vikram Gupta, Founder and Managing Partner, Ivycap Ventures

And the session was moderated by B S Nagesh, Non-Executive Vice Chairman, Shoppers Stop and Founder, TRRAIN.

Talking Points:

  • Traditional brands foraying in the D2C world
  • Adopting Omnichannel approach
  • How Investors are looking the brand
  • Emerging new category in the ecosystem
  • Brands driving the purpose

The direct-to-consumer model is catching the retail sector by a storm. The ecosystem is growing from strength to strength through funding, unicorns, innovation, and much more. Nitin Agarwal, CEO, Globalbees commented on this and added, “First of all, I don’t think there’s any concept of D2C, it’s more of digital native or digital cruiser. If you look at a digital- first brand, their characteristics can vary as they are also selling through marketplaces. A D2C ecosystem basically means looking at data and rapidly launching new products. The brands are making products obsolete much faster to the speed of the entire execution irrespective of the channel. Talking about the fashion segment, earlier traditional brands would majorly have two or four fashion cycles. But in the D2C ecosystem, a brand can launch 100 SKUs per month and can also launch weekly cycles.”

He further added to it and stated, “The digital native nature of a D2C brand is to work with the data and be able to do things faster and get faster customer feedback on it. When we look at a brand’s ecosystem our idea is to provide knowledge fast and enable all the channels to provide an ecosystem of a brick and mortar store. The D2C brands are providing customers with the value-added product at a much  faster rate.”

Brand building is getting awareness, establishing, and promoting a company using strategies and tactics. In other words, it is all about enhancing brand equity using advertising campaigns and promotional strategies. Branding is thus a crucial aspect of any company as it’s the visual voice and creates a unique image for the company.

Tarun Sharma, Co-Founder, and CEO, mCaffeine shared with us, “We come with zero tolerance, basically it means no delusion no dilution. If we have defined our brand in a certain way, we will not move an inch for anything. As we asked the customers to apply coffee on skin and hair and became the first brand to say that ‘coffee is great for skin and hair’. Hence, our communication is coffee- centric and highlights its benefits and we will stick to that.”

“I consider a brand has to be like a person with a personality and there should always be a purpose attached to it. If a brand is getting away from the purpose, then we’re diluting it. We are basically a high degree ethical brand that uses natural, vegan and PETA verified ingredients and is one of the cleanest brands. If some data comes in and comes to us that pushes us to tweak some bit of that ethos and create a product that is the top line. We won’t do it, because it will be good for the short term but will create a bad impact in the long term. That’s the reason we are not launching fairness cream, as we have never done it and will never do it. The purpose and personality will reflect the brand for decades to come, and with it, zero tolerance should be there. We’re creating an emotional currency in the invisible space of the customer’s head If we get successful with this it will get difficult to confuse us with some other brand. We’re putting all our efforts into it”, Sharma highlighted.

The new age brands are creating a disruption in the market by addressing the problems and making a new category out of them. PeeSafe is one of the brands that has been addressing women’s problems and changing the narrative using its products. Vikas Bagaria, Founder, Peesafe highlighted told us, “When we created a new category in India it was a taboo to talk about menstruation and toilet hygiene. Getting deep into the category won’t bring you to the top line but keeping on adding adjacent categories is also one of the ways. As a brand, we started with toilet hygiene and then went with menstrual hygiene. PeeSafe is a name synonymous to toilet seat sanitizer, but we need to create trust and dive into the purpose that is also about sustainability. As a brand we need to reduce the risk of many diseases and offer different products with it, through this we can create a sense of trust among the customers. In simple words, to create we have to go into the depth and come out with adjacent categories.”