With scale, brands need ability or they will bleed: Vardhan Phadnis


At the inaugural edition of e4m D2C Revolution Summit & Awards 2022, Vardhan Phadnis, Co-founder & Chief Sales Officer, of Shoptimize, communicated knowledge on algorithmic e-commerce. Phadnis began the keynote with stories of two brands which started from identical starting points and had similar journeys. One was a healthcare & nourishment brand while the other one was a fashion and apparel brand. 

Speaking about the journey of the healthcare & nutrition company, he told the band undertook their D2C journey and got themselves a Shopify website and chose to have a small three-member team. They employed some people to take care of their website and employed a digital marketer and one to handle e-commerce operations. Three months into the quest, they began scaling up, started discerning good traction on the GMV front and hit a decent ROAS in three to four months. But they did not subsidize any technology. For any D2C brand, GMV is non-negotiable. They slam that GMV, but complexity boosted, and data volume heightened too. Later things began becoming difficult for them in terms of comprehending the data- what conclusions to drive. They were discovering it hard to keep up the scale and hit GMV numbers, so they took distinct decisions which were not fully cost-optimized. Hence, ROAS began declining. 

The brand in the apparel and fashion space did identical things with similar skill sets. India is a market where people expect to try new brands, therefore the D2C revolution said Phadnis. “The brand too started seeing scale. Still, in contrast to the first brand, the second brand owner had the vision that if they do not invest in the right tech and tools, the efficiency is pushing to hit. With scale, you need efficiency, otherwise, they will ooze. The founder agreed to invest in AI/ ML tools saying the brand what they want to do. In one year, they slam their GMV number and also had stable ROAS.”  

Phadnis also brought out an analogy between the stock market and the e-commerce world. He clarified how the stock market acted in the past.  “It was a broker-driven and physical interaction. Also, it was more on word-of-mouth stock tips. But now the stock market is restored with amazing tools accessible at your fingertips. Automated products are sanctioning the roost with millennials.”

Speaking about the e-commerce world, he shared that a few years back it was manual. “Data-driven decision making was not a very civil phenomenon and again word of mouth development tips were ruling the roost. Today, we have the true kind of technology and tools. We have AI and ML-based technologies for inspiration and recommendations. And that’s how the world is going to be today and in the future. That is precisely algorithmic e-commerce.”  

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