Mumbai: Indian direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands have grown tremendously during the pandemic and into the post-pandemic era, with a large cohort of consumers going digital in search of innovative products and more engaging and immersive experiences. The pandemic has caused D2C brands to become very popular, forcing large, established companies to jump on the D2C bandwagon. According to KPMG, there are over 800 D2C brands in India today, and the D2C sector, which is currently worth $44.6 billion, is expected to grow to $302 billion by FY2030.
D2C brands target younger consumers, Millennials and Gen Z, delivering customization at scale and increasing innovation in the virtual world and tapping into the growing global virtual commerce market estimated at $190 billion by CB Insights.
With technology becoming more affordable and sophisticated, D2C brands have an advantage. In a controlled and immersive virtual environment, brands can provide customers with a complete, albeit virtual, brand experience and have a lasting impact. For example, a virtual store in the metaverse is a brand experience in itself, complete with brand mnemonics, signature sounds, layout, and colors. Consumers also have the opportunity to interact directly with brand representatives. This enhanced brand experience goes a long way in building trust in the brand.
The metaverse is also good at personalizing experiences. Excellent customer service builds brand loyalty and customer retention. By analyzing large amounts of data about a customer’s interactions in the metaverse, brands can predict which products, solutions, and experiences individual customers would prefer and like. D2C brands are better positioned to serve better without being intrusive, thereby building and enhancing the overall brand experience.
Popular local D2C brands such as Super Smelly, Argatin Keratin, Ocher Athletica, Indus People and Zorin Furniture are looking to disrupt the market with their product positioning and personalized customer experiences.
They have also taken bold steps to connect with their consumers in the metaverse and are working on innovative ways to improve the virtual brand experience. They already offer products and experiences and enable commerce in the virtual world.
The metaverse is growing at a rapid pace. In the first six months of 2022 alone, globally, more than $120 billion was invested in building metaverse infrastructure and technology. In addition, the metaverse is gradually becoming an important component of companies’ omnichannel sales strategy.
Renowned brands such as Gucci made their debut in the virtual world with the metaverse. Gucci has created Gucci Garden, a digital replica of the real-world installation (called Gucci Garden Archetypes) in Florence, Italy. Likewise, Sotheby’s, the world’s largest art and luxury goods broker, has created a metaverse gallery showcasing curated virtual art houses.
According to McKinsey, 79% of active consumers in the metaverse have purchased products in the recent past.
These numbers show the power of the metaverse as a sales platform. It is important for D2C brands to identify the right platform to reach their target audience and have an interactive content strategy to engage them.
Importantly, consumer privacy and security must be at the center of every consumer engagement that brands provide for consumers in the metaverse.
The author of this article is VOSMOS co-founder and Kestone president Piyush Gupta.