D2C Is Solus-, Not Omni-channel

The D2C offering must be available only through the platform, not everywhere and anywhere. Those who discover the joy of D2C solus get focussed, repeat & deep revenues, says Harish Bijoor, Business & Brand-strategy expert & Founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. in this conversation with BW. Excerpts:

The rise of ecommerce over the past few years has demonstrated its importance for businesses as they transition to a more online society. During the Covid lockdown, consumer sectors who had been reluctant to shop online were compelled to do so, and they haven't turned back since then. D2C or direct-to-consumer refers to the practice of selling goods directly to customers through a business’ online site, eschewing third-party distributors or merchants. Currently, the best chance for innovative brands to establish direct interactions with their customers is through D2C ecommerce.

Discussing the trends of D2C marketing with BW Marketing World, Harish Bijoor, Business & Brand-strategy expert & Founder, Harish Bijoor Consults shares his insights.

Excerpts from the conversation:

On standing out in a cluttered online space…

D2C brands are solutions looking for an application. They are sought out by the consumer, as opposed to brands that are pushed down consumer’s gullets. To that extent, D2C brands fit the new age definition of brands being solutions ferreted out by consumers. D2C brands are therefore bottom-up offerings. In such a scenario, for a D2C brand to stand out from the clutter, the most important aspect is product quality and the key defining point of what the product achieves for the consumer on the prowl. You need to have the USP of being a product that is cutting-edge in what it does, or even better, bleeding-edge. D2C brands stand out in terms of how they work. It is not what they do but how distinctively they do it as well.

On building trust and brand loyalty….

The brand is a thought. It needs to build that unique thought in consumers' minds. That one thought triggers just this one offering and nothing else. Brand trust and loyalty follow. Positioning is a very key aspect of building D2C brands. You need to be able to position your brand with a finer degree of uniqueness. Narrow spectrum positioning works best in this space. You cannot be everything to everybody. You need to be just that one thing for that one body. And there are enough such bodies that will chase your offering then.

On D2C purists versus the rest…

There are D2C purists and then those who treat it as yet another channel to offer their products and services. I am a purist. D2C is a solus-channel strategy to get the brands moving. Not an omnichannel exercise. The D2C offering must be available only through the D2C platform, not everywhere and anywhere else. I see companies discovering the joy of using D2C solus. Those who do, are discovering revenues that are focused, repeat and deep.

On D2C marketing way for Consumer to Consumer….

I do believe every brand will have a D2C avatar in the years to come. D2C offerings will distance themselves from their mother-company identities. In the future, you will buy stuff on D2C without depending on the name of the company that made what you are buying. Pedigree does not matter in D2C. Much else does. And the early players in the D2C segment are discovering this ‘much else’.

In the future, I do believe D2C offerings will cleave the way for consumer-to-consumer (C2C) offerings that will develop. And this is where the role of barter will emerge once again in Indian markets. This is the next big wave we will witness in niche segments of craving. You will not buy your almond biscotti from the MNC brand offering. You will first buy it from that niche guy who operates a D2C brand that is distinctive and different in every aspect of the offering. The product is not a ration shop, it is a boutique. And then consumers will move on to buy from consumers. You will buy from others you trust. Others like you, live in ordinary homes but have extraordinary products to offer. And that’s when C2C will mature.

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