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What can D2C companies do, during lockdown? 🔒🔓

Some ideas on what D2C companies could do, to best use this time and tide over the lockdown.

Abhishek Agarwal


I’m building a community of D2C founders (D2CInsider), and one of the recurring threads of conversation there, and otherwise has been around COVID, how long this lasts, and what can one do now.

A strong cold brew keeps me up tonight, and I thought I’d put pen to paper, with my thoughts and ideas on that last bit — what can brands and business use this time for. I’ve attempted to bucket the ideas into broad heads, for a semblance of structure.

💰 Cashflow

Justifiably priority number one. If it isn’t, it should be.

  • Gift cards
    This is a strange time, for all of us. There are birthdays and more, being celebrated sans any gifts; people craving the social connection with people important to them.
    Create and communicate on special gift cards, created for these times, which people can buy and share for a myriad of reasons.
  • Pre Orders
    This will sit better with your more loyal and repeat customers. Tell them, frankly, the situation. Be transparent, and clear — if you don’t know when you’ll be able to ship; say that. If you need the money to keep paying your staff who makes their product; say that. Ask for help. Your strongest believers will rise to the occasion. And it just may be the difference between survival and otherwise.
  • Share resources
    Reach out to other D2C founders, and see where you can share your resources and costs, to ease the burden where you can.

📢 Brand, Marketing, Content

  • Brand and Content
    With lesser things on the agenda, this could be a time to invest in creating content, and building the brand. You can (and maybe should) choose to elect to not publish all of it now — when you’re not selling, but creation can continue. Build a larger repository now, will hold you in good stead in times to come.
  • SEO
    Most brand owners, and a bunch of marketing owners don’t fully understand and grasp the power of SEO. Understand it -what goes behind it, and start leveraging it. Optimise the content you’ve already got out there. Build workflows to make this systemic, for it to last.
  • SaaS Tools
    There are a plethora of tools and apps you should / could be using across your business. This would be a good time to research, and see what exists, play around with them, and integrate the one you close up on.
    A few biased recommendations: for AI+human chatbots, iZooto for web notifications.

🔍 Customer Focus

  • Call your customers
    - Make segments of your customers — Loyal, Dropoffs, One time trials, Customers who order Category A but not Category B, etc. Segment to understand your repeats. Segment to understand who are frequent but didn’t buy.
    - Establish the goal, for each segment. Engage them to know and understand more, and why.
    - However, this agenda should only be 15% (or less) of the reason you’re calling — don’t lose sight of that. Don’t be selling. Have a conversation. Check in on them.
  • Co-create Content
    While creating content has become increasingly challenging — think about how you can engage with your customers and evangelists to co-create content with them. Love this by Sleepy Owl Coffee as an example.
  • Customer Personas
    Few brands I know have their customer personas clearly drawn out, and established as a baseline common understanding for the team. Here’s an example of a template in a B2B services context.
  • Community — ?
    A lot of brands and founders talk about community, without really having one. And often in contexts where one is unlikely to even make sense.
    IF, however, you are a brand for whom building a community does make sense — this is a great time to do it. A telegram group, a custom app, a slack channel — what form and shape you give your community — this is a good time to build it. You and your team have the time for detailed and in-depth attention. Consumers and audiences have the time (and boredom, loneliness) to actively engage and would crave the belongingness.
    But please do this, only with some deep thought as to does it really make sense, for your category and business.

📊 Data & Analytics

  • Fairly sure that a lot of us would be guilty of having done not much more than the bare minimum, if at all, in terms of building and setting up models / tools to capture and analyse data across platforms.
  • Right from Google Analytics on your website, to Social Media analytics, Ads reports and what have you; set your analytics channels up, where you can — start to look at past data and make sense of it

🧬 Team

  • Last but far from least, your teams are likely all at home, dealing with this crisis — professionally and personally. Invest your time and energy in and with them.
  • Help them through this period, to know them better, to upskill and nurture them, get them 1 on 1’s with mentors in their domains who you have access to (the mentors likely have time on their hands too), reiterate what you’re all building together and what the brand stands for, take time to get in their ideas (and genuinely) reflect and give feedback on them.

Have any interesting ideas? Tweet to me at @AbhiHiSahi or at @D2CInsider, and I’ll add them here.



Abhishek Agarwal

Founder & GP Appreciate Capital | via SHEROES, Ninjacart | ex-Entrepreneur (@BoldKiln) | IIM Ahmedabad, IIT Delhi | Runner, Triathlete