By Harsh Shah
India’s direct-to-consumer (D2C) model has witnessed enormous growth and popularity lately, with brands (from all sectors) ever-increasingly adopting this model. It allows brands to eliminate intermediaries and reach their customers much faster with ease and convenience. The rise of e-commerce, social media, and new technology has made this process immensely easier for businesses. Since the pandemic, the significant shift in consumer behaviour has also contributed to this as people today demand more personalized products and services.
The most important advantage of the D2C model is that it provides superior flexibility to brands to tap into the latest trends with exclusive products. Interestingly, no other category can epitomize this better than fashion. Fashion leads the segment as its discretionary spending is much higher than most D2C segments. Besides, the competition in the D2C fashion arena has exponentially surged. These factors suggest the highest growth potential of the D2C fashion market that would expectedly make $43.2 billion in sales by 2025. Due to this, the sector is attracting favourable investor interest, and the number of Indian D2C brands is rising with each passing year.
The prominence of D2C fashion brands
The D2C fashion brands have become the one-stop place for the new generation of Indian shoppers. By embracing the D2C model, fashion companies can perform exceedingly well, as D2C allows them to have complete visibility of customer data, better control of customer experience, and gives them a chance to build & leverage brand loyalty. D2C fashion brands can effectively plan their future growth strategy by investing in cutting-edge technology like Artificial Intelligence and building a solid supply chain.
The D2C model allows brands complete freedom to connect with consumers through chatbots, handle customer queries and drive engagement. Companies are even leveraging social media platforms, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Email, and Instagram, to directly sell products and services to customers through another use case of chatbots – conversational commerce. But to prevail in the pandemic-infused competitive business environment, fashion brands need to leverage the power of omnichannel retail.
Why does Omnichannel edge matter?
Omnichannel has emerged as the most preferred business model for successful fashion brands. It offers unparalleled benefits and competitive advantages, unlike a multichannel approach. By adopting the omnichannel ecosystem, fashion brands can effectively bridge the gap between online and offline models, synchronize sales channels and position their customers at the centre of their decision making. This way, fashion retailers can deliver seamless customer experiences and address fashion’s vital aspects, i.e., the speed to market aspect. Moreover, omnichannel offers unprecedented visibility across different sales channels. This allows fashion retailers to rapidly offload their collections (new/older/seasonal products), thereby serving consumers’ growing demand for buying apparel online over other product categories.
Consumer receptiveness towards online fashion retail
Today, consumers heavily rely on online fashion due to lower prices, convenience, and instant gratification. Online sites also provide huge discounts and free shipping on products. Unlike other industries, fashion retail has an edge in easy logistics that allows brands to pack, ship and send apparel across thousands of pin codes in India. These factors strikingly set fashion apart from other product categories (like electronics, jewellery and watches) sold online.
Return/Exchange/Replace policies by D2C fashion brands
Today’s D2C fashion brands provide great options to consumers, including super-fast deliveries and return/replace/exchange facilities when apparel does not match the size, fittings, or style. These provisions help fashion retailers drive phenomenal customer loyalty and engagement, enhancing brand credibility.
The factors mentioned above signify a bright future for D2C fashion businesses, especially when a smart omnichannel strategy is in place. On the way forward, the industry shall expect the entry of more fashion brands adopting the modern omnichannel approach every day to rule the digital street. The robust omnichannel model will further help them add new feathers to their business aspirations and make them stay one step ahead of their competitors.
(Harsh Shah is the Co-founder of Fynd)