How the pandemic has redefined digital landscapes for brands and businesses

The pandemic has accelerated the pace of digital transformation across sectors – from healthcare providers moving to telehealth to retailers adopting contactless shopping and delivery.
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With increased digitisation due to the pandemic, all organisations and individuals had to adapt to interacting online, almost overnight.

Now, as the next step, companies to make bold investments in technology capabilities that will equip their businesses to outperform their competitors.

In a panel discussion at the launch of YourStory’s Brands of India initiative, Ankit Mehrotra, CEO, Dineout; Aanchal Saini, CEO, Flyrobe; and Ankit Aggarwal, CIO, Bikano explain how companies and brands are rethinking the role of digital technology in their overall business strategy and how to conduct business at the quickening pace that's now needed to operate. 

Here are some key takeaways from the Brands of India launch session:

Digital strategies in the post-pandemic era

“Over the last 18 months, the entire physical connect or the offline world has suddenly been disrupted by the pandemic. For brands that rely a lot on consumer engagement on the ground, it's been a massive challenge,” explains Ankit.

He said that for Dineout, working with around 50,000 odd restaurants has been a challenging experience during the pandemic when restaurants were shut.

In order to ensure that restaurants can interact with their customers, the startup enabled them to share their recipes with the customers and took part in campaigns as well. Many of these strategies had to be adopted on the fly as it all happened in real-time without anyone getting the chance to prepare for it, shares Ankit.

Speaking about Flyrobe’s strategies, lawyer-turned-entrepreneur Aanchal said that the switch to online had a positive impact on their business. Initially started as an online business seven years ago, the startup was required to have offline stores as their customers preferred to have the look and feel of the outfits before renting. Post pandemic, they changed the model and people started ordering online, which led to growth in its business too.

Now, there is also an option to virtually try the outfits on its platform

Century-old Bikano, with over 3,000 employees, had an offline business model but the pandemic had changed the way they were operating. They started doing video conferencing, which they had never done before, and moved to ecommerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart where they had seen 50 percent more sales compared to pre-COVID-19 period. 

“It's a big transformation; we start working more on security as well, because if people are working from home, we have to make sure our data is secured as well. So security has been a very important concern which I have always wanted to improve as, in recent times, security breaches has been very common in the FMCG sector. And we had to make sure that we don't fall prey to the same thing,” said Ankit Aggarwal.

Impact on D2C brands

It was a challenge for the restaurant industry, says Ankit Mehrotra as with the lockdown, the footfall had stopped. So, they had to quickly shift to working digitally — right from having online menus to online payment, and making everything contactless. 

“Whether a two-year-old restaurant or a 100-year-old brand, everyone had to take that plunge and try to be digital, because this is what the new reality is, and it comes with its own sets of challenges. But we will find a way to navigate through this and we are getting through this,” he adds.

Challenges faced by brands

Speaking of challenges, Ankit Mehrotra says that in the restaurant industry network, one of the major challenges they faced was in going digital.

Security is another concern, points Ankit Aggarwal. However, with time and newer technology coming up, he hopes these issues are going to be resolved soon. 

Ankit Mehrotra further added, “Shift to digital is definitely here to stay. Consumers will adopt with time. And it's going to be good for the overall long term vision that we all have, and in the direction.”


Brands of India is a YourStory initiative to catalyse the growth of India's D2C economy. The initiative will bring together D2C ecosystem stakeholders, including brand builders, D2C startups, investors, corporates, and policymakers, to discover, build and help daring entrepreneurs create an additional 500 Brands of India in the next three years.

To know more about this initiative and the D2C ecosystem, visit brandsofindia.yourstory.com

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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