If You Are a Direct-to-Consumer Start-up, This is How you Can Enter New Markets

Recognising new unique customer needs and demands, D2C startups must foray into newer markets.


Changing customer preferences and consumption to digital content is paving the path of growth for the D2C startups in India. With new unique needs emerging, D2C startups are successfully catering to the pain points to build loyalty, eliminate middlemen and increase profits. With closure of malls and stores in lockdown, and strict government rules to e-commerce biggies to not sell non-essential items, customers are left with the only option to buy from D2C brands. However, since D2C startups are digital first stores the market dynamics works differently for them. The pandemic acted as a catalyst that significantly increased the online content consumption that led the D2C startups to flourish. A study as per Avendus Capital says, D2C startups soon will be a market worth $100 billion in India by 2025. With the future seeming bright for D2C startups, they have the strength to foray into newer demographics and markets. Here is how they can expand into new markets. 

Entering the rural markets

Increasing aspirations to lead a better life, a deluge of affordable smartphones, embracing digital payments and inexpensive 4G data plans is causing people from tier-IV and tier-V cities to opt for online shopping. As per TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ) the country has 1.15 billion mobile phone users out of which 520 million comes from rural areas. D2C startups being digital -first – brands should have constant consumer interaction on social media platforms and not forgetting that the story behind a brand is necessary for the customer to find it relevant. Hence, to establish a strong foothold in the rural market the brand content, vibe , language should have a touch of localisation. The content of your brand should be solving the pain points of a customer. The engagement rate, acceptance and conversion rate in rural India towards a D2C brand will skyrocket if the content is vernacular. 

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As per TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ) the country has 1.15 billion mobile phone users out of which 520 million comes from rural areas.

Offering a subscription based model

D2C brands such as NUA – a women’s personal wellness brand offers a subscription based model where it has monthly and quarterly plans to offer sanitary pads to women, thus freeing them from buying regularly. With a subscription model companies can build a long-lasting relationship with customers based on convenience, reliability and meeting their unique needs, this creates a recurring revenue and positive word of mouth in the community helping to expand. 

Up the game of social media marketing

Paid marketing strategies help a business to collect relevant data points, for example  finding audience from which location is interacting, their preferences, which social media are they most active and the sites they visit. After obtaining the data, startups should design the social media campaigns and optimize the every stage of the sales funnel. Starting the campaigns first with Facebook will be beneficial since its algorithms are more advanced and has lower cost per action as compared to google ads.

Leveraging social selling to enter new markets

D2C brands can collaborate with micro influencers on Instagram and Facebook to leverage the already established fanbase. Since customers spend more than twice as much time on social media other than browsing other websites, 62 percent of customers are likely to purchase a product from a brand they follow on social media as per Sprout Social. In social media, D2C startups have the liberty to customize their messaging and run highly targeted ads to target certain demographics.

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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