The ecommerce marketing automation platform, Wigzo, recently concluded the fourth edition of its networking event, D2CVerse Fashion which brought 250+ stakeholders of the fashion industry together
The event hosted a panel discussion to help new-age fashion D2C brands endure the complexities of the online fashion sector
Moderated by Omuni’s Mukul Bafana, the talks were led by the founder and creative director of The Pant Project, Udit Toshniwal; Snitch’s founder Siddharth Dungarwal; House of Chikankari’s cofounder and CEO Aakriti Rawal, and the founder of Rubans Accessories Chinu Kala
As the total addressable market (TAM) expands, so do the complexities that arise within the business landscape. This stands particularly true for the online fashion industry, which is seeing a new wave of digital native brands that are aiming to tap a userbase of 500 Mn shoppers by 2030. According to an Inc42 report, the online fashion and apparel sector is poised to capture the largest slice ($112 Bn) of the $400 Bn ecommerce market opportunity by 2030. However, operating within such a colossal market comes with its own set of challenges.
For instance, fashion trends change fast, and, hence, it becomes difficult for online brands to retain their customers, especially amid fierce competition.
Navigating a path to scalability requires a deep understanding of the latest trends, key drivers and bottlenecks of the ecommerce fashion industry.
Recognising the need for dialogue and deliberation, Wigzo by Shiprocket recently held the fourth edition of its startup networking event, D2CVerse Fashion.
The event, which was attended by 250+ fashion brands, investors, influencers and other stakeholders from the fashion industry, also hosted a panel discussion to help new-age fashion D2C brands navigate the complexities of India’s thriving fashion industry with ease and build resilient brands of tomorrow.
Moderated by Mukul Bafana, the cofounder and CEO of Omuni, the discussion was led by the founder and creative director of The Pant Project, Udit Toshniwal; Snitch’s founder Siddharth Dungarwal; House of Chikankari’s cofounder and CEO Aakriti Rawal, and the founder of Rubans Accessories Chinu Kala.
The early stages of a startup’s journey are extremely crucial. It is during this period that its concept takes shape as it enters the market. Even amid uncertainties, startups need to identify their strengths and weaknesses from the onset to thrive. This is the time when factors like team building, achieving product-market fit (PMF) and product iterations become important to drive success.
Speaking from her own experience, Rubans’ Kala said, “The journey from zero to 10 is all about figuring out the PMF. Test your product in the market, see what your audience has to say and be ready for changes – maybe in your product, your strategy or your thought.”
Corroborating Kala’s remarks, House of Chikankari’s Rawal added, “For the first year of the business, we didn’t have a website. We were functioning out of Instagram because we were focussing on hand embroidery, which is a very unorganised market. We spent that one year understanding if there is enough love to take our business to the next level.”
Snitch’s Dungarwal, however, had a different take on this. “Different things work for different brands. From day one, we have been D2C obsessed. This is why we took a very early decision to launch the app (alongside the website),” he said.
He added that Snitch was among the first D2C brands to start facilitating refunds and exchanges at the customer’s doorstep in order to offer the same customer experience as the ‘Ajios and Myntras of the world’.
Due to its customer-first approach, his brand today clocks 55% of its overall revenue from its mobile app, Dungerwala pointed out.
Talking about how external factors can impact a business’ go-to-market strategy, The Pant Project’s Toshniwal said, “Initially we wanted to go with a physical store but the Covid-19 pandemic hit right then. We had to rebuild our order-taking system and go digital.”
However, he acknowledged that having an online presence gave the brand a wider reach and an opportunity to scale quickly.
“Once you have established your PMF, you are ready to take your business to 100, but it’s a difficult journey. At this stage, customer retention and repeat rates become extremely crucial,” Kala said.
In order to scale, brands must consider strategies that can enhance their reach. Ultimately, a widely recognised brand can attract fresh leads to the business, which can then be converted into customers and even brand loyalists.
On being asked how brands can leverage social media to improve visibility and the role of the creator economy in fuelling growth, Rawal said, “Instagram gave us the freedom to focus on organic content building and gaining followers without spending much.”
She added that her brand relies a lot on User Generated Content (UGC) as it is a less expensive yet effective marketing strategy.
Dungerwala and Kala both agreed that they rely on creators to engage with consumers across various channels.
Industry experts believe that the boom in influencer marketing is only natural as customers are bound to form a connection with the influencers they follow. According to Influencer.in’s Influencer Marketing Report, the Indian influencer industry is expected to reach INR 2,200 Cr by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 25%.
Meanwhile, Toshniwal cautioned against getting caught in the influencer marketing whirlwind and sidelining customer experience, an error that can make or break a brand.
“We spent a lot of money on our website experience to ensure conversions. You can spend as much money on Instagram but if you’re not spending the equivalent amount on your website then you are just driving traffic to nowhere,” he said.