Yogyata’s note : In each essay, I draw from my experience and learnings at startups. My last essay had 350 reads and I feel excited to share more. Feel free to share your thoughts or get in touch to discuss more. This is essay #11.
My mom placed an order on the website of a D2C brand for the first time today and she told me about her experience and the kind of doubts she has in her mind about delivery. She also added, “No worries, if they didn’t deliver it’s a COD order anyways. I will go to moti nagar next week then I will buy it from the shop”. This instance helped me realize how important it has become for D2C brands to be available offline and online where their customers are happy to buy the products but their loyalty to the brand is also impacted by the availability of the brand on various sources.
So I am about to share my notes on how the D2C brands are meeting their consumers with online and offline sources and how it is impacting their strategy & business.
1. Online vs in-store experience
People now have several options to buy products from various marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, TataCliq, Ajio, Myntra, etc and they are now well-educated on how to place an order so that they can always get the cheapest and most authentic products. In an online purchase, a consumer can check the reviews, ratings, description, discounts, and even compare with other brands available but the in-store experience adds more delight for the consumers where they can buy more products from the same brand with the help of the available team in store and no fear of damage or frauds. While people are able to buy generic products online with lower order amounts, people still trust offline purchases in the case of premium products where the in-store experience is also a factor for the sale conversion with the display of brand experience.
2. The product itself drives your re-conversion
No matter how much you invest in your online and offline experience, if the product itself is not useful to the consumer or they don’t like it, they will definitely not return to purchase it again. There can be people who use it only once and decide to not use it again or there can be people who might try it a few more times until they find a better alternative. Because of this, brands only have to spend more on marketing and getting new customers where the audience that can be converted is also limited. Not only this, but the price of the product also plays a role where people always compare the value (impact/use) of the product vs the price of buying the product.
3. Purchase, exchange & refunds.
Consumers compare not just the price of the products but also check how easy it is to return the product, and what is the exchange & refund policy. I believe this is because of the lack of trust the consumer has in brands, while they do judge a brand on the basis of what they are willing to do to retain a customer or make them purchase a product. People are buying the products online if they see a 10 days return & exchange policy, giving them the window to secure their money in case of damage or fraud.
4. Delivery & Consumption
The post-purchase experience for a consumer impacts a lot on the next purchase behavior of the consumer. Brands are investing in better quality packaging to ensure the safe delivery of the products, custom packaging with branding and imprints on the boxes, thank-you notes, and coupons within the packaging. I once had a discussion with one of my friends who buys supplements online and is now a repeat customer of a brand that provides a specific spoon size within the supplement, which makes it easier for him to consume the supplement with less hassle of measuring. Brands are taking care of the consumption of the product and how the container of the product itself can take care of that to ensure the consumer enjoys using the product with ease.
5. Recommendations and offers
To increase the order value and average cart value brands are recommending more products to the consumers to increase cross-selling within categories and provides more offers on certain cart amount in order to motivate the consumers to purchase more products. The conversion of this strategy varies in the offline and online experiences. While a brand that has invested bids to get a customer on the website to purchase will definitely want to have a higher cart value.
6. Loyalty & returning customers
The strategy to make your consumers buy from both online and offline locations interchangeably is still yet to be discovered and it doesn’t seem like a straight path. Eg. Chaayos makes you register on their platform when you make a purchase in-store and then it keeps sending you offers to purchase online and offline as well. The loyalty of a customer is also impacted by the omnichannel and omnipresence of the brand to make itself the first choice of the customer.
7. Catalog & Variety
Catalog expansion itself has become a strategy for brands. Brands research what all products are bought together and introduce in their own catalog. The catalogs, packaging and social media posts are also designed in a way which are online marketplace friendly and looks good in online marketing for the set of people who are attracted by packing. The expanded catalog and variety also helps brands to convert the consumer for all their needs. Online catalog expansion also helps brands to have more impressions in search engines and marketplaces to create a recall in consumer’s minds in order to increase chances of repeat buying as well. Catalog expansion for D2C brands is also important when they are trying to be in a market which already has classical brands available. Eg. Sugar trying to compete with Lakme in Indian market.
8. The face of brand
Brands are focussing to onboard celebrities and influencers in order to get the buyin from their end consumers. Having a celeb based promotion for the brand helps buyers to trust the brand that they are a stable brand and also attracts the fan following of the celeb to become a customer for the brands.
There is so much going on behind the scenes which are finally making you purchase something online or offline from a D2C brand. This is very interesting as we see more brands coming in the market and how they evolve over time. Not just we get the options to purchase but also the strategy they use to make their products a part of our lives is also something we will see evolving over time.
What do you think can be added to this list? Feel free to share your thoughts.
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