Deepti Karthik
Guest Article

Trending in the D2C world: Global selling

Our guest author discusses the emergence of Indian D2C brands as global players, paving the way for a new era in international consumerism.

Post-pandemic 2022 and 2023 witnessed a correction in the growth story of D2C in India and this made our home brands look for greener pastures, some of them found in the Middle East, some in South East Asia and yet some even far West in Europe and USA. 

Global Selling is not a new phenomenon, Amazon Global selling has been there to help brands go international however beyond tea, spices and Ayurveda there has been very little traction for Indian products so far. Indian Ethnic wear, handicrafts and art have been exported forever thanks to the Indian diaspora but most of them come non-branded. Indian brands have not had as much reception as they have today and D2C brands have caught on to this “Growth Channel” by having a legitimate Global selling plan for the year 2023 and beyond.

D2C international brands: Global brands of Indian origin

If you travel to the Middle East, you are sure to spot MamaEarth or Lenskart, these brands have paved the way to becoming international brands for others .D2C offers innovative products and there is a like-minded consumer elsewhere in the world who is looking for these solutions. 

Indian brands have a comparative advantage in cost, labour is easily found and some skill sets are uniquely Indian. As “Back to Roots” gains pace around the world the demand for traditional solutions packaged conveniently continues to rise, if there is a GOOP in the West that now says Coconut oil is the best oil for cooking then that directly impacts the demand for coconut oil and who better than India to export it to the world.

Finding Vahdam, Wow Skin Science products is no more a big deal even on shelves of convenience stores abroad so it's not just online/Amazon causing this phenomenon there is a deep-rooted “Consumption Shift” to holistic wellness that makes nature-based products a must-have in every category from food to cosmetics to apparel to diaper.

Global selling now has an ecosystem

The opportunity to go global is available to SMEs today thanks to a global selling ecosystem. I recently spoke at a global selling workshop which had a bevy of partners from logistics, shipping, and payment solutions to offline distribution offering readymade solutions to brands in India to jump on the bandwagon.

I heard Shiprocket talk about ShipRocketX which offered not just shipping but also documentation services to ship abroad. They also help with compliance and certifications through the transfer of process intelligence in categories like food, cosmetics etc.

Amazon is a great place to start for brands for it offers credibility and helps take care of taxation however if selling on its channel there are brands like Payoneer that can help with payment solutions for international selling.

Agri-tech startup Produze is another player that promises to take Indian brands to the West and the benefit of going through someone like Produze is the opportunity to not be limited by Amazon and also be present in Walmart and other E-commerce sites that might be relevant in local markets.

Going global: Brand readiness checklist

STEM Toys, jewellery, home decor, and kitchenware have a huge opportunity to tap into the biggest economy in the world, Northern Americas look east for these solutions and if you are a small brand wondering what they can do in terms of readiness to go global, here’s a quick checklist.

  1. Value Proposition: A product that might have a great product-market fit in India might not have one in global markets, or might work in South East Asia, not America. It's important to dissect the market by individual geography, study the competition and evaluate a PMF. For eg: if a premium Mattress in India is a mass option in America, everything about the proposition might change when going global and hence this should be step 1.

  2. Recruit local: This is a human resource investment that one must make to ensure that one is acting locally, understanding the cultural nuance and setting up oneself against distracting the Indian team.

  3. Find your people: The lookalike of your core TG in India might have a representation in the international market, who are they? Speaking to a “niche” is far more likely to yield results, remember this is back to the “0 to 1” game and hence we have to go back to the basics of frugality and sharpshooting.

Packaging, promotion, and pricing for international markets will be derived from the above and needless to say will be different from the Indian product, add to it the compliance regulation both financial and physical and it could be a huge undertaking to go through the process of finding value in the crossover story- it's not for everyone but the pros and cons must be evaluated fairly to decide to go Global.

Global Selling is here to stay and I am sure there will be many International Brands of Indian origin by 2030 in every lifestyle category and beyond the Indian dominant sectors of tea, Ayurveda and spices.

(Our guest author is Deepti Karthik, founder of Decision Pinnacle, a growth and marketing consultancy)

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