Disruptions Brought in By D2C Startups

What disruptions are being brought in by D2C startups recently ?

While the fear of the deadly contagion persists, Indian shoppers in the past year have shown their tryst with online shopping. In the coming years, the Indian workforce will comprise an influx of working professionals from Generation Z known to be having an affinity towards gadgets, technology, the internet, and aspirations to live a better life. Leveraging the paradigm shift in consumer behaviour and purchasing, D2C startups ( Direct-to-Consumer) or brands are bringing in disruptions across product features, marketing, experiential buying, and gaining the autonomy of end-to-end businesses to offer a comfortable buying experience to the customers. A report from Avendus Capital reveals that by 2025, D2C space holds the potential to be a market worth $100 billion in India. Below are the instances of few D2C disruptions that are brought in by startups.


A report from Avendus Capital reveals that by 2025, D2C space holds the potential to be a market worth $100 billion in India. 

4 D2C startups bringing in disruptions

 Experiential Buying of Beauty Products 

Customers are deterred from purchasing beauty products online since many of them are not aware that the product consists of chemical formulation or compounds to which they might be allergic. To solve this dilemma of purchasing beauty products online, Smytten an invitation-only D2C platform has brought in D2C disruption in shopping for customers to try various products ranging from beauty, cosmetics, and lifestyle before buying. It is a destination site for consumers who want to experiment with new products and experiences. The Smytten app, once downloaded, allows users to select only three products at a time for a free trial. Once the customer has provided feedback on the products and has bought them, it further invites the customers to try beauty products three more times, hence the name invitation-only app. Its deep algorithm filters out students or youngsters’ invitation to be on the platform. The algorithm embedded in the platform recommends products according to the user’s profile. Currently, more than 500 brands from Beauty, Gentlemen’s Grooming, Food, and Beverage have collaborated with Smytten to offer experiential buying. 

Audio Marketing From Digital-first mattress brands 

With smartphones becoming ubiquitous and the emergence of music apps, Indians love for listening to music and podcasts has increased over the years. As per a joint report from Deloitte and the Indian Music Industry (IMI) in 2018, India has 150 million music streaming users and the numbers are expected to go up in the future. Leveraging the music listening audience the digital-first mattress brands have turned to audio marketing since it is the most effective way to reach engaged listeners. 

A study from Deloitte says that Indians spend 21.5 hours listening to music. When brands reach out to the target audience through audio or music, listeners can give undivided attention since ears cannot process multiple stimuli at once. 

Purchasing a mattress is a one-time affair, due to which the movement of mattress inventory is slow. But, many digital-first mattress brands such as Doctor Dreams are exploring audio marketing to reach out to its younger target audience. Their campaign ‘Happy Sleep’ has come up with bedtime sleep stories and lullabies which as kids we used to hear. The story narrations are in English and Hindi. The happy sleep stories have been posted on Instagram. The brand has also collaborated with Radio One, Fever FM, and Radio Nasha to co-produce sleep stories for their radio programme called Snooze Zone. The digital-first mattress brands are an excellent example of D2C disruption in marketing. 

Subscription model for a pair of socks 

The pandemic that restricted us to our homes led to a decrease in demand for formal footwear and socks, however Soxytoes a Noida-based funky socks brand that caters to Gen Z and millennial with its quirky designs and print featuring the newest internet trends, millennial lingos, pop culture, web series lingo, and animal prints, etc. With this, Soxytoes is positioning a pair of socks as not merely a fabric that covers feet but an attire that makes an individual’s feet look unique from the rest. Its product range also consists of socks for the corporate, athleisure, diabetic care, and compression therapy socks for aching foot for long journeys. The D2C disruption brought in Soxytoes is its subscription-based model of ordering socks. It offers its subscription model of ordering socks offers three pairs of socks for Rs 500 in various socks styles such as ankle length, corporate socks, no show socks, etc. Soxytoes is positioning its products to be offered as gifts to your loved one by bringing out valentine’s day special gifting etc. Soxytoes has generated revenues worth 30 crores since 2018.

Selling Flip-Flops digitally 

The work from home model in the pandemic lowered the importance of formal shoes that ushered in the demand for casual footwear and loungewear. Solethreads is a digital-first Delhi-based footwear brand dedicated only to flip-flops. Its range of footwear is generally innovative with quirky designs that caters to the young population. Solethreads CEO and Founder, Sumant Karkaria realized that the casual footwear market in India is dominated by Indian and foreign brands such as Relaxo, Paragon, Skechers, and Crocs where none of them catered to the youngsters. 

Solethread’s casual footwear range of flip-flops, thong sandals, slippers, flats are manufactured using phylon-moulded technology for ultra-light and shock absorbent, squishy technology (for soft and comfortable products), and a patented synturf technology (grass flip flops). It has over 30 design patents and has DIY designs to create personalised footwear. In the coming years, personalisation will take centre stage since Gen Z favours brands that create products to express their personality. In 2020, Solethreads generated revenue worth Rs 1 crore in just seven months by selling flip-flops online. 

For D2C startups

The brands need to bring in D2C disruptions in conventionality while keeping in mind the pain points customer counters in the purchasing journey and the emerging new consumer behaviour. 

Shalmoli Sarkar
Shalmoli Sarkar
An MBA in marketing and a BTech in chemical engineering, Shalmoli writes on marketing strategies and business technology for new and aspiring entrepreneurs.



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