Over the last few years, India has witnessed an ecommerce revolution. An increasingly online world has fuelled the unprecedented growth of this industry. With the rise of digital India and a new wave of the smartphone generation, direct-to-commerce (D2C) brands have made the online shopping experience for the user more convenient.
According to the ecommerce industry report by IBEF, India is expected to surpass the US to become the second-largest ecommerce market in the world by 2034. This sector saw exponential growth in the post-pandemic times as users were introduced to a new world of possibilities—seamless digital payments and quick delivery. Many D2C brands have established their reign online and are now eyeing the ‘phygital’ space. This hybrid approach is more profitable for brands as a chunk of the Indian market still shops through physical stores.
As emerging D2C brands and startups continue to redefine their relationship with their users, this industry is only set to rise. This year, we came across some breakthrough trends from this industry that brand marketers can utilise to maximise outcomes.
Here are some of them.
Omnichannel marketing strategy
Various D2C fashion businesses focus on providing a consistent brand message across marketing channels to serve their customers directly. This strategy that combines online and offline presence offers better costs, quicker delivery times, and more profits by eliminating mediators (such as wholesalers, retailers, and distributors).
D2C brands have total autonomy over how their items are displayed, priced, and promoted. This increases brand engagement, inspires repeat purchases, and fosters brand loyalty. Companies may improve their marketing ROI with this model and provide better pricing. The rising impact of social media influencers is also driving end-to-end consumer journeys and complementing the growth of this trend.
The identity you establish for your business makes your brand stand out from the clutter. Here are some questions you may wish to consider while creating your branding: Does my customer have full access to the product information that they require? Is the message being delivered to my customers?
According to a case study, 80% of buyers mostly research on YouTube about the products they want to buy. (Source: Think with Google: Consumer Insights). Therefore, accurate information should be shared with customers through branding that compels them to make a purchase.
Conversational marketing and brand building
Conversational marketing engages consumers in one-on-one, dialogue-driven, tailored experiences, allowing brands to listen and obtain unique customer insights while also providing value to the user. These one-of-a-kind experiences can be extended throughout the consumer journey via multiple channels such as digital marketing, owned and operated websites, and a mobile app.
A company’s ability to answer consumers’ concerns is crucial to its success. Therefore, it is advisable to customise the entire client experience in the online retail environment. When executed well, both companies and customers may benefit. It’s about streamlining the customer’s experience with the brand–a transaction should eventually turn into a relationship.
Many direct-to-consumer businesses are only available on digital platforms and marketplaces, limiting their exposure. However, some D2C businesses that have grown to a certain size are now attempting to enter the physical channel. Selling on one’s website is advantageous to them in terms of cost efficiency and simple access to data, which aids in product development. Customers may easily get things online, but having a physical presence also helps businesses as the customer has direct access to the product. Additionally, general trade and modern trade remain the most effective and lucrative offline channels.
Expanding to other countries may be the natural next step for brands that have already increased their regional market share and want to grow. It aids in expanding brand reach, bargaining power, and value, obtaining better opportunities, achieving higher ROIs, improving brand perception, and outperforming local competitors. Calvin Klein is a great example of a differentiated brand that has built itself and stayed relevant over the years.
Technology and data-driven decision making
Data-driven decision-making is crucial for D2C success in the face of escalating competition in the market. Regardless of the company’s size, technology is essential for growing corporate operations, improving customer satisfaction, and fostering brand loyalty. Brands can identify the preferences of their customers based on variables such as geography, demographics, and online behaviour.
Digital has enhanced reach but decreased pinpoint targeting. Firms may separate themselves from competition by creating a differentiated, real-time customer experience across all contact points. Businesses may stand out by providing a unique, real-time customer experience across all contact points. Customer value analytics shortens sales cycles without losing personalised service. Big data delivers an omni-channel solution that increases consumer experience and connections.
Here are some popular tech trends that brands have been using to grow their presence.
Predictive AI in decision making
With the help of this ground-breaking technology, marketers can elevate their game by providing what consumers want—customisation. Companies are now using artificial intelligence to hone their services and boost sales. Many ecommerce organisations anticipate a better, more prosperous online future due to the quick adoption of AI-powered personalisation. The capacity of AI to gather, understand, and make conclusions from massive amounts of data is where it shines. Once implemented, this technology can reap multiple rewards–increased profit, brand visibility and reputation, to state a few.
Having the correct customer data at their disposal is also critical for ecommerce firms as, based on data, they can pinpoint what excites their customers and encourages them to make purchases. D2C brands need to invest in data analytics that supports customer-focused marketing and boosts conversions. Data analytics technologies can combine and filter all this data to produce the most pertinent insights for enhancing production, profitability, and efficiency. Based on pre-determined indicators, such as profit per quarter, time to order fulfilment, and cart abandonment rate, the firm may assess its performance and make informed next steps.
Social commerce and video marketing
The tremendous increase in social media users over the past few years has supported the expansion of social commerce. There were 448 million social media users in the country as of January 2021, reflecting a 21% increase in users from 2020. (Source: Datareportal.com). Social commerce has many benefits, such as streamlining the checkout process and lowering abandoned cart rates.
Video marketing too opens a new world of opportunities for D2C brands. Not only are videos easier to share, but they are most likely to result in conversion. Similarly, another big trend is live stream commerce. In this, an influencer or business streams live content on their social media platforms, showing various products to the customers and providing a buying link in the description.
Loyalty programmes and BNPL
The cost of client acquisition has increased in most ecommerce categories, forcing firms to foster long-term customer relationships, through cashback, discounts and next-purchase vouchers. Long-term customer relationships help reduce marketing expenditure for acquiring new customers.
Customers enjoy BNPL (buy now pay later) for a variety of reasons. Ecommerce brands in India have begun using this payment option to increase average purchase values and decrease cart abandonment rates. In addition, it gives customers a flexible method to pay at checkout while facilitating a smooth shopping experience. According to statistics, from 2021 to 2028, BNPL usage is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 28.9% (Source: Cision).
Evolving D2C brands through CRM
The CRM (customer relationship management) tool equips brand managers to leverage all information about a particular customer for every interaction in a contextual manner. This tool helps build stronger relationships with customers and gives them another reason to remain loyal to the brand in a hypercompetitive market. It also helps brands understand which marketing platforms yield better, helps in the creation of a 360-degree customer profile, and helps run personalised campaigns for better results.
Brands can leverage CRM for the following aspects:
• Customer segmentation
• Customer support and service
• Centralised social media communications
• Intelligent order management
• Payment data analysis
Technology can change your brand for good
With so many D2C brands coming up now and then, a brand needs to be aware of emerging technologies and innovations. Tapping on new trends can result in fascinating prospects for development. When you decide to hop on a trend, it would be best to strike a balance between meeting your customer’s expectations and fitting your brand image.
Edited by Swetha Kannan
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)