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500+ Attendees, 8 Sessions: Here’s A Lookback At Inc42’s D2C Day 2.0

500+ Attendees, 8 Sessions: Here’s A Lookback At Inc42’s D2C Day 2.0

Powered by Dukaan, The D2C Day 2.0, held on December 10, witnessed over 510 folks from D2C brands, online retailers and budding entrepreneurs

The headliners of D2C Day 2.0 include BoAt’s Aman Gupta, Licious’ Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta, Plum’s Shankar Prasad and many more

Inc42 Plus members will now get to access to 7+ hours of insightful and exclusive video sessions which decodes business and marketing strategies from some of the leading D2C brands

The future is now, and that future is definitely direct-to-consumer (D2C). With India being one of the largest retail markets in the world, projected to surpass $1 Tn by 2025, the pandemic has come as a blessing in disguise for online native brands. At the same time, offline retail brands have come to a standstill amid the pandemic-induced lockdowns, and thousands of retailers, wholesalers and entrepreneurs are looking to go digital, trying to build innovative business models for sustainability. 

Over the past few years, we have been actively tracking and covering the rising trends of the D2C landscape. “India currently has about 500+ D2C brands in the country, across various categories, including fashion, lifestyle, consumer electronics and many more, looking at $100 Bn addressable market by 2025” stated Vaibhav Vardhan, cofounder & CEO of Inc42 Media, at the opening of D2C Day 2.0, powered by Dukaan.  

In the second edition of The D2C Day, Inc42 brought a new line of experts, thought leaders and D2C enablers, hosting the most interactive and insightful Fireside Chats and Masterclasses, focussing on the essential of marketing strategies, unit economies, profitability, marketplaces, revenue growth and more, in a bid to help D2C business scale.  

The D2C Day 2.0 witnessed 510 folks from D2C brands, online retailers and aspiring entrepreneurs tuned in to the sessions and workshops, same as first edition of The D2C day, where we had featured Kaushik Mukherjee of SUGAR Cosmetics, Vikas Bagaria of PeeSafe, Chaitanya Ramalingegowda of Wakefit, The Moms Co’s Malika Sadani, Melorra’s Saroja Yeramilli, Fablestreet’s Ayush Gudwani and moderated by Apurva Chamaria, SVP & chief of staff to CEO & MD at Tech Mahindra. 

Here are some of the key takeaways from the second edition of D2C Day 2.0: 

Licious On Bootstrapping To Achieve Organic Growth 

At the first Fireside Chat ‘On The Road To India’s First $1 Mn Brand,’ featuring Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta, cofounders of Licious, along with Inc42’s Vardhan, discussed various strategies, business models, hurdles and roadmap ahead of building a $1 Bn brand. 

Many industry experts in the past have advised early-stage D2C brands to focus on customer obsession and happiness as a valuable metrics, however, Licious Hanjura believes that the key to building a successful brand relies in staying bootstrapped and focussing on solving the core problems at the very initial days. “We started with one city (Bengaluru), and further bifurcated it into segments. In fact, for the first six months we were only supplying in a few locations like White Field, Indira Nagar and Banaswadi,” said Gupta, stating that solving the harder problems today, will help you scale the business in the long run. 

“If a brand is not getting organic traffic or organic customer acquisition, then there is something seriously wrong,” said Hanjura. 

Further, he said that it is not only about product quality, but also giving that bundled experience to customers, right from delivery of the shipment, etc. “If the experience is ‘wow’ nothing is going to stop you from getting that organic traffic,” he added, stating that Licious gets about 90% organic repeat customers. “Digital marketing gets you only a small pool of customers.”

Both Hanjura and Gupta believe that digital marketing for building a brand is not the only answer, instead said to take a holistic approach, which includes packaging communication, content writing, recipe writing, etc. 

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Unleashing The Power Of Marketplaces For D2C Scale 

In the Marketplaces 101 Masterclass, Sarika Grover, cofounder of Green Giraffes Consulting, shared a brief overview around sales, brand building and marketing strategies on marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa and own native website. 

Citing the example of one of her clients in the workwear category, said that when it started out a few years ago, the idea was to first generate revenue and then go back to brand building the webstore. Throwing light on some of the metrics driving the sales on marketplace versus standalone webstore, Grover said that brands can leverage marketplaces to build trust and create awareness intent concentration funnel. 

According to her, it is much easier to kick start the D2C journey on marketplaces rather than own native website as it is comparatively lesser in terms of cost, advertising, logistics and others. Further, she said that the fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) and other marketplaces give brands the flexibility to experiment with pricing and discounts, however, one the hindsight brands do not own these customers, unlike their own webstore.  

Unleashing the scale on marketplaces, Grover suggested brands to focus on six broader areas, including inventory management, listing, content, building relationships, deals and promotions, ad campaigns and other important metrics to tap into the marketplace module.  

“Amazon allows a lot of information on the dashboard. There are a lot of reports available which can help to optimise revenue, compared to some of the other ecosystems,” she added, citing the metrics like tracking product traffic, conversion, ACOS, CPC, search frequency and inventory health etc. 

Content Marketing Strategies For Growing Your Brand Organically 

At the Content Marketing Masterclass, Dukaan’s cofounder Subhash Choudhary highlighted the importance of growing organic traffic and developing a long term strategy for scaling a D2C brand.

Citing the organic growth metrics of some of the popular D2C brands like Bewakoof, LivSpace and others, Choudhary delved deep into some of the areas that got them, healthy organic customers, onto their websites which involved simple content marketing techniques and keywords that brought up organic search volumes multifold and more.  

Giving an example of running a D2C mattress business, Choudhary took the audience through the journey of content marketing and how it can bring organic traffic to the website. Accordingly, he categorized the opportunity into two categories, intent (customers who are actually looking to buy your product) and non-intent (customers who landed on the webstore because of broken link problem) and other subcategories around products, SKUs and categories through content marketing and keywords that are SEO friendly. 

“Deciding the structure of the website early on is very important,” he added, stating that a simple user friendly website can get brands close to 85% organic traffic.

Further, he emphasized on posting content of the products (either in-house or outsourced) and raising awareness around the benefits on a regular basis to fuel the organic growth of the products and services. 

How To Use Performance Marketing To Acquire New Customers Online 

At the ‘Paid Marketing Masterclass,’ Rohin Mittal, cofounder of Adyogi, gave an overview around various paid ad strategies to help brands acquire customers online and increase RoI in the most efficient manner. “Typically, pay-per-click advertising conversion can go up by 7-8%,” said Mittal, and maximum it can go up to 30-35% as well, depending on how well you run the ad campaigns across channels.  

“Facebook and Instagram has anywhere between 300-350 Mn users, and once you identify the niche audience, you will know which product is selling,” mentioned Mittal, stating that it is the fastest way to scale on digital ads, alongside running ad campaigns on YouTube and Google, which can give higher conversion of traffic. 

“To work your strategy around all these four platforms, brands need to create a funnel – mid, top and bottom-funnel,” shared Mittal, stating that at the top funnel one has to optimize their cost per click to get maximum RoI, while the remaining funnel continues to do dynamic retargeting. “Success of each campaign depends on how efficiently you set up your tags within the catalogue,” he added, giving multiple examples.

Sharing one of the hacks to tweak the performance marketing and increase RoI, Mittal said that brands need to understand which platform is giving them the better cost per click. For instance, he said that the first click typically gets generated by Facebook or YouTube, which is much lower in cost compared to Google search or Instagram. “This is the format which consumes less amount of budget compared to the overall digital budget that you have, where you split 80:20.” he added. 

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boAt’s Aman Gupta On Building Brand Loyalty, Community Approach 

Kickstarting the second half of the session of D2C Day 2.0 with a Fireside Chat ‘Decoding BoAt’s D2C Strategy To INR 500 Cr Revenue Club,’ featuring boAt’s cofounder Aman Gupta and moderated by Inc42’s Vardhan, Gupta openly shared various insights, idea behind celebrity endorsements, manufacturing and supply chain hurdles and marketing strategies into how it built one of India’s homegrown electronics brands, which is among the fifth largest wearable brand in the word, and leading earwear category with a 32.4% market share.  

Gupta, a man of few words, highlighting the basics of marketing for the audience said that companies need to focus on 4 P’s – product, price, promotion and place (distribution channel). 

“Consumerism is at its all time high while consumer loyalty is at all time low. So, they will try to experiment your brand, and if they like you, they’ll buy again and if they don’t, they don’t care,” he added 

Emphasising on the importance of building a community (Boatheads) around a brand right from the start, Gupta suggested brands to maintain a close relationship with the users to garner honest feedback and evolve your products, before making it available to the masses. Also, providing discounts, early access to products and others, plays a pivotal role in scaling the business. 

Focus On Brand Building, RoI Comes Automatically

Social Panga’s Gaurav Arora enlightened the audience with various marketing strategies with examples, including Mamaearth, And Nothing Else (now ‘The Whole Truth’) and others, alongside talking about unique D2C brand funnel, which can help brands grow 10x across online storefront and marketplaces.  

At the very beginning of the masterclass, Arora said that brands need to ignore RoI in the initial phase of the brand-building as it hurts most of the product owners and marketers. 

“It’s just not the price always, it’s also about the brand proposition. So, focus on the brand narrative around why customers should buy your products or services in the first place,” he added, stating that this will drive the whole conversation going forward. 

Further, he said the most D2C brands make mistakes by chasing the audience of direct competitors, and suggested that they move away from them and start looking at the insights that are very specific to their products, as these insights can drive more profit in the long run. “One of the tactics which specifically comes from marketplaces like Amazon, you don’t get access to the customers data,” he added, citing the example of brands like Sony and Bose, where 80-85% of sales comes directly from branding. 

Plum’s Shankar Prasad On Developing A ‘Hero Product’

At the Fireside Chat ‘Decoding Plum’s Multi-Brand & Marketplace Strategy To Reach INR 200 Cr’ Shankar Prasad, cofounder and CEO of Plum and Phy, along with Apurva Chamaria, SVP at Tech Mahindra moderating the session, discussed the company’s journey, team, market insights, growth metrics and marketing strategies around Plum’s stunning growth in the women/men skincare and haircare space, which also claims to contribute 1% sales/profit to the environment.     

“Currently, we have about 80-85 SKUs, where 25-30% is in bodycare, 10% in men category and remaining is in skincare and haircare. Well, skincare is still our bread and butter, where we generate close to 65-75% revenue,” shared Prasad, stating that all its products are driven by innovation, and suggested D2C brands to continue developing ‘hero products.’ 

Further, he said that this product should resonate among the present-day consumers and your native website is the best place to experiment and scale, claiming 100% of the sales comes from D2C channel, where 50-60% revenue comes from marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra and others and 30% from its own native website.  

Talking from a funding perspective, Plum’s Prasad said that the best way to get funded is to remain bootstrapped and sell more. “I believe it is very important for people to get their revenue model, unit economics model right, before going in for too much funding,” shared Prasad, from his personal experience, and suggested brands to raise small about of capital from friends and family first, whatever helps you to get your idea out into the market. 

“Start small, it can even be selling to 10 people, but those 10 people are going to tell you something very valuable,” he added. 

Choosing The Right Logistics & Payments Partner For Your D2C Brand 

Ending the second edition of The D2C Day by highlighting the importance of the role of logistics and payments partnerships in scaling the business and retaining customers, Rishab Malik, cofounder of Droom, modering the Fireside Chat ‘Decoding The Payments & Logistics Landscape For D2C Brands,’ along with Shiprocket’s Saahil Goel and Simpl’s Nitya Sharma, emphasised on various areas around building trust, simplifying the experience for customers and helping D2C brands scale. 

In addition to this, the panel discussion also highlighted the importance of various features such as ‘buy now, pay later’ and optimising consumer experiences to ensure easy checkout of the products directly from the website, and how logistics players can ensure smooth delivery services across pincode locations, thereby helping D2C brands focus on their core business.   

One of the most common problems in the D2C space is skepticism around the refund and returns of products and payments, to this ShipRocket’s Goel said that it becomes crucial for brands to work on a robust return policy in the early days, and invest in reverse logistics to ensure smooth experience and build trust among the consumers. “Today, we do not have integrated payment solutions available,” Goel added.  

Adding to this Simpl’s Sharma said that the biggest challenge is building trust and brands need to work on bringing efficiency in refunds and keep customers updated, citing the example of Swiggy and Zomato. “Brands need to focus on giving high-quality experience to customers, which translates into building trust,” he concluded. 

That’s it from the second edition of the D2C Day, hope to see you all soon in the third edition of the D2C Day early next year, where we will bring to you more insights, marketing strategies and growth hacks! 

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