India's D2C Rush
As more and more consumer brands go digital to reach customers faster and carve a unique identity, India’s direct-to-consumer (D2C) moment is well and truly here. With thousands of brands competing in the D2C space, will this be the future of India’s retail market?
The internet has brought people closer than ever before and even in the pandemic, real-time connections were the one thing that made many lonely days and nights less lonesome. In the Indian context, the explosion of digital communication has been an ongoing process since 2016 when Jio arrived on the scene. But the penetration of mobile internet did not immediately result in the adoption of online services. Well, not in the manner that most would have expected.
Up until a decade or more ago, the only way a small retail brand could reach a consumer was through super-markets or other retail outlets. This means a startup had to share margins with wholesalers, distributors and retailers so as to reach the hands of the consumers. Other than the popular but unorganised door-to-door selling of soaps, detergents, clothes, tea, and others from 1970 till 1990s, the direct relationship between the manufacturer and the consumer was almost non-existent and even when it did exist, it was more of a person-to-person relation than a brand-to-consumer. Thus, the ability to understand the target market and what consumers want was also significantly lower than what is possible digitally.
Today, with the internet turning into a household commodity, we have seen the emergence of direct to consumer (D2C) brands and as a commerce model in the consumer arena. Homegrown players like Ustraa, Mama Earth, Sunday, Sleepycat, Bombay Shirt Company, Bewakoof, Wakefit and Licious have made a mark for themselves. Post-Covid, the D2C model is seeing more takers and is being looked at as the future of Indian retail, especially when the consumer is getting more and more comfortable with shopping and exploring online.
Entry Barriers Razed
Innovative and personalised marketing, discounts and quick delivery are the critical factors that drive the ecommerce industry today and that’s exactly what D2C brands are riding on. In particular, food brands have tied up with high-visibility online grocery apps such as Bigbasket or even hyperlocal players such as Dunzo to extend their reach.