Experts discuss the role of data and technology in building a strong D2C brand
As part of the ‘D2C Playbook’ track at TechSparks 2023, experts focus on the multifaceted role of technology in building and sustaining robust D2C ecosystems.
In the dynamic landscape of Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) brands, the intersection of data and technology plays a pivotal role in scripting success stories.
, a pioneer in logistics, partnered with YourStory to curate a discussion under the 'D2C Playbook' track at TechSparks 2023.
Moderated by Mohammed Ali, SVP and Head at Delhivery, the panel brought together industry experts Malini Adapureddy, Founder and CEO of Deconstruct; AMit Sarda, MD of Soulflower; and Innu Nevatia, Co-founder of Zwende.
The speakers delved into the multifaceted role of technology in building and sustaining robust D2C ecosystems. From the critical importance of a founder's tech-savvy leadership to the integration of marketing, order fulfilment, and shipping stacks, the conversation explored the evolving tech landscape for D2C brands. Here are some of the key takeaways from the session.
Is tech steering the D2C triumph?
Founders on the panel kickstarted the discussion by deliberating upon the role of technology in starting a D2C brand in 2023 vs in the 1990s.
Adapureddy said understanding of tech is absolutely essential but that doesn't necessarily mean that those who do not understand tech cannot start a D2C brand. Because tech essentially is making things easier for everyone to resolve and bringing efficiencies into the system.
“Having said that, I believe founders need to know whether they are sending a man to do a machine’s job? If there is a possibility to replace it with better automated systems, you would rather want to do that. So as a founder you need to understand the scope and the extent to which technology can solve a problem for you,” Adapureddy said.
She gave the example of customer service teams where automated chatbots are doing exceptional work in terms of solving routine customer queries. “I don't need to put five customer service agents when I know the three can be replaced by an automated machine,” she added.
Data-driven decision making
Sarda of Soulflower said: “For us, tech is an enabler but data is the most important thing.”
He shared an interesting anecdote of how he and his co-founder followed an orthodox approach to analyse data. “We started looking at the zodiac signs of our customers. For instance, a new product launched at Rs 400, a Capricorn would definitely buy it. Cancerians buy the most soaps from our website. Virgos shop the most from our website. Do you know who the night shoppers are on our website? Leos!”
“How data works is how you look at data. It is like a prism or an uncut diamond; you shape it, chisel it well, it becomes like a sparkling 10-carat diamond or the Pink Panther,” Sarda said.
Nevatia highlighted that the right set of data also helps you with performance marketing campaigns and lets you scale faster.
“Who are you targeting? What budgets are in place? Are you looking for new customers? Are you looking at retaining your loyal customers? All of that is data. But, what's your messaging to them? What are you trying to sell? The creative content also becomes equally important.
“Therefore, whenever a D2C founder is trying to acquire customers, it's very important to first figure out who the core customer is and build an understanding of the core customer,” Nevatia said.
Martech stack for D2C success
As a D2C brand, data volumes are so high that it is significant to have internal systems that are reliable.
“We have our own inbuilt systems that are helping us through our whole farm-to-face journey. We have an in-built blockchain, based on our private blockchain, where we actually know exactly when a seed was grown, when it is going to the factory, when the processes are happening and so on,” Sarda said.
Sarda primarily uses Freshdesk for customer care purposes at soulflower.
As far as Deconstruct is concerned, Adapureddy said tech also plays a crucial role in making the product, adding that it is important to understand consumer trends while manufacturing the product. “We use a broad range of tools. From something as simple as Google Keywords to Helium 10, which gives us clusters of keywords that are getting picked up. All this helps us make a product that a customer is looking for,” she added.
For Nevatia, driving customer engagement is as important as driving monetisation.
“One of the tools that we found Interesting is Limechat. They automate a lot of your responses to customers on Instagram. If a post has gone viral and you have 5,000 comments on it, people want to know the price or they want to know more about it, there are automated responses that can be very intelligently crafted. You can offer the right product or recommendations to people or direct them to WhatsApp. Keeping the community engaged and moving those followers down the monetisation funnel live chat has been great,” Nevatia said.