Powered By Inc42 Brandlabs


The brand solutions arm of Inc42 Media combining Inc42’s creative and editorial strengths to create compelling stories for brands partnering with it.

How Customer Centricity Helps D2C Brands Boost Sales, Drive Success

In the realm of direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands, customer centricity is no longer a buzzword but a survival strategy as the market gets fiercely competitive. This is no overstatement, as the essence of D2C success is embedded in brand-consumer engagements. With India emerging as the third-largest digital shopping base globally, comprising 190 Mn online shoppers and 700 Mn internet users, the stage is all set for digital-first D2C startups to leverage their unique advantages and forge deeper connections with consumers.

Recognising the immense potential of this ecommerce sub-sector, Inc42 and Simpl, a fintech startup specialising in payment solutions for online commerce, came together to organise a panel discussion titled How Customer Centricity Helps D2C Brands Boost Sales, Drive Success

The session explored many critical areas, such as:

  • Insights into how to arrive at a problem statement and find a solution
  • Deconstructing and unpacking D2C brand positioning
  • Implementing customer-centric strategies, including frameworks and best practices

Moderated by Nitya Sharma, cofounder and CEO of Bengaluru-based Simpl, the discussion included Bharat Singhal, founder of Bili Hu Coffees; Jovita Mascarenhas, founder of Bartisans; Rajat Jadhav, founder of Bold Care, and Deepanshu Manchanda, founder & CEO of Zappfresh.

How To Get The D2C Branding Right

Establishing a strong presence in the D2C space requires a thorough understanding of the target market that a brand aims to serve. Therefore, gaining extensive insights into customer problems, behaviours and habits is essential. Such insights instil confidence in the brand’s offerings and highlight the problem areas it will address within the chosen category.

“Meat as a [grocery] category stood out for me. So, we delved deeper to figure out the issues customers faced and their overall behaviour. I had a couple of concerns as well. First, it should be a big enough market. Next, there should be enough broken pieces to solve [to position ourselves strongly]. Finally, from a customer’s perspective – things like quality, convenience and availability were missing [and needed to be fixed]. That’s what made us [feel] sure about what we wanted to do,” said Deepanshu Manchanda, founder of Zappfresh.

Analysing what worked well for men’s sexual health brand Bold Care, founder Rajat Jadhav termed India as a post-consumer market. It essentially means the country has progressed beyond the initial stage of consumerism, and there are brands for all sorts of needs. However, it is worth noting that the Indian startup ecosystem still has untapped areas and unresolved pain points.

“When prompted to think of a sexual health brand or a way to resolve sexual health issues, most people I spoke with couldn’t think of anything right away. It is one of the few remaining areas in consumer healthcare where a problem statement for around 90 Mn+ men in India is yet to be effectively addressed,” said Jadhav.

“In the epharmacy business [my first venture], sexual health products made up 30% of the business volume. That was the first trigger. Later on, when I spoke to companies like Practo and DocPrime, I found that this category also accounted for 10-15% of their business volume,” he observed.

This also demonstrated how D2C brands must unravel complexities, pinpoint gaps and craft innovative solutions to thrive in a fast-evolving landscape. Also, resonating with specific audience segments will eventually drive growth and success.

To gain valuable insights into customer-centric strategies that D2C brands should adopt, watch the panel discussion titled How Customer Centricity Helps D2C Brands Boost Sales, Drive Success.