D2C Unlocked Chapter 9 : AAPNU GUJARAT

December 7, 2023
5 min

In eCommerce, it’s important to standardise two major factors:

  • Customer Journeys
  • Trust

Yes, in e-commerce, it is important to standardize the customer journey to ensure a consistent and positive experience for all customers. On the other hand, customers also need to feel confident and secure about purchasing from a brand, which further enhances their shopping experience and boosts loyalty.

We set foot in Ahmedabad for Chapter 9 of the D2C Unlocked after 8 Successful chapters in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Bangalore on the 4th of May, 2023.

In our first Ahmedabad chapter, we had a huge turnout of founders who had the opportunity to connect with their fellow founders, meet industry experts, and gain valuable insights from an exciting panel discussion.

This chapter, our panel discussion featured great founders including Sulay Lavsi (Bummer), Siddhartha Nangia (Smytten), and Shaili Shah (Mortantra) who shared their experiences on customer acquisition and market research strategies.

The AHA Moments

Every founder has their own unique story and, of course, an ‘aha moment’ or moment of realization on their journey towards building a successful business.

Bummer is a direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand that started with a mission to make underwear fun. The founders noticed that there wasn’t much innovation or excitement in the underwear category, so they decided to shake things up. They used the advantages of D2C to bring their vision to life, connecting directly with consumers to get feedback and improve their offerings. Their success really highlights how important it is to differentiate and innovate in the D2C space, and how even navigating through a stagnant category can lead to breakthroughs and success.

Shaili’s inspiration for Mortantra came from her own experience as a bride. She didn’t want to spend a lot of money on jewellery and realized there was a gap in the market for affordable gold pieces. She traveled around and made a few sets of jewellery, which quickly gained popularity among the masses. However, the unique nature of the business made e-commerce a challenge, as jewellery requires a personal touch. Even after 6 years, the Mortantra team is still working on finding ways to overcome this challenge. Despite the niche nature of the business, Shaili’s AHA moment highlights the potential for success in identifying unmet needs and catering to them.

Siddhartha, the founder of Smytten, had a personal goal to start his own business before turning 40. Although he began planning in 2009, Smytten officially launched in 2015. The company’s AHA moment came from the realization that there were other channels that could help brands acquire customers beyond traditional performance marketing. Smytten provided a platform for brands to showcase their products and reach new audiences. This innovative approach has paid off, as the company has raised over 200 crores in funding over the years.

On Creating a Category and Customer Acquisition

  • Strong brand recall is crucial for success in the market.
  • Building a memorable and aspirational brand can be a challenging task.
  • Customers can be divided into two categories: impulse buyers and those who save products for later.
  • The first group tends to make more direct purchases, while the second group, mainly from tier 2 and tier 3 markets, requires a more customized approach.
  • A strong brand, coupled with excellent product offerings, is a winning combination.
  • To achieve growth, focus on retaining existing customers, not just acquiring new ones.

On Retention

  • Establish an emotional connection between customers and the brand to capture the market.
  • This connection is built on the emotional idea behind the brand, which is the story that attracts customers.
  • Don’t rely solely on advertising and platforms to acquire customers.
  • Storytelling is a powerful tool that can be used to establish an emotional connection with customers and capture the market more meaningfully.
  • Providing a great experience is crucial for customer retention.
  • This is especially important for products that aren’t easily announced.
  • Effective strategies include minimizing the rate of return-to-origin (RTO), highlighting the packaging, and creating a memorable first impression.
  • Customers tend to associate the brand with the initial experience.
  • A great experience doesn’t have to be expensive.

The Smytten Numbers

Smytten is a platform that serves 15 million consumers, with 5 million monthly active users. The initial one million users were the hardest to acquire, with a strong focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience. The next 6 million users were obtained through increased spending, while the last 8 million were acquired through referrals and partnerships, including roadshows and offline marketing.

Only 30% of users were acquired through traditional means. During tough market conditions, the focus was on acquiring more users, despite a high cost of customer acquisition. The platform uses data from multiple sources, including demographics and algorithms, to provide the best possible user experience and succeed in the market.

Key Takeaways

  • Standardizing the customer journey and building trust are key factors in the success of an e-commerce business. Customers expect a seamless experience from the moment they discover a product to the point of purchase and beyond. Standardizing the customer journey involves mapping out the different touchpoints and ensuring that the customer experience is consistent across all channels. Building trust is also important as it helps to establish credibility and encourages customers to return for future purchases.
  • Differentiating and innovating in the D2C space can lead to breakthroughs and success. With the rise of D2C brands, it’s important to differentiate oneself from competitors by offering unique products or experiences. Innovation can also help to set a brand apart and attract customers who are looking for something new and exciting.
  • Identifying unmet needs and catering to them can create potential for success. By understanding the needs of customers, businesses can create products and services that meet those needs. This can lead to a competitive advantage and help to establish a loyal customer base.
  • Building a memorable and aspirational brand, coupled with excellent product offerings, is crucial for success in the market. A strong brand identity can help to differentiate a business and create an emotional connection with customers. Excellent product offerings are also important, as customers expect high-quality products that meet their needs.
  • Establishing an emotional connection with customers and providing a great experience are important for customer retention. By providing a great experience, businesses can establish a loyal customer base that will return for future purchases. Establishing an emotional connection with customers can also help to create brand advocates who will recommend the business to others.