Assembling a workforce for D2C brands: how to hire with high-speed efficiency

In the modern marketplace, the Direct to Customer sector has been producing success stories one after another. In India, the phenomenally rapid rise of popular D2C brands to the 100-crore mark is a tell-tale sign of its triumph. The valuation of the top brands has grown tenfold since the pandemic. And the sector is expected to have a 100 Billion dollar addressable market by 2025, according to an Avendus report

In the online retail industry, the D2C model has its clear advantages that are attracting more and more investors and consumers to opt for D2C businesses. From FMCG to Fashion to home decor, the D2C route has proven to be much quicker and more profitable for brands. 

However, the current market and the dearth of talent make it hard to find people who can support the scaling journey of the brands. Enterprises need to bulk hire the local crowd for communication-based roles and also find niche tech skills to drive innovations and smart decisions in the enterprise. But it hasn’t been easy for brands to find and engage people with the right skills at the right location. 

To hire high-quality employees for various roles, organizations would need to build a strong recruitment strategy with a robust hiring pipeline, which we’re going to discuss today.

We dissect:

  • Trends affecting the hiring action for D2C brands
  • The biggest mistakes companies make when hiring for the D2C sector.
  • How to optimize the talent funnel to attract top talent for D2C brands

Trends affecting the hiring action for D2C brands

The vogue of D2C brands:

The Covid pandemic, higher internet penetration, growth of digital infrastructure, and rise in the number of millennials among several other factors have shored up the D2C brands.

An increasing number of new-age customers are opting for D2C for its better prices and quality. For Gen Z and millennials, D2C is becoming the go-to choice as their purchasing habits more often include digital and social channels. 

Moreover, the pandemic proved to be an even bigger opportunity for enterprises to establish and expand. As Covid disrupted the way people shop, D2C, Fintech, and Logistics companies kept gaining an all-pervasive presence. These sectors are thriving in India with the expanding Internet consumer base and the reach of smartphones.  

With D2C brands having strong visibility in the transformed commercial ecosystem, working for a D2C company has become an attractive prospect for many. 

 Xpheno conducts research on top hiring movements across sectors. According to our estimates, the D2C sector has created over 1.5 L direct employment opportunities and indirect employment has been 3X as much. 

As of 2021, India had more than 800 D2C startups operating in the country. Of these, fashion and clothing startups accounting for the largest share have a $43.2 Bn growth potential by 2025. Therefore, the talent winds are clearly in favor of the D2C brands

The looming global trends:

In the aftermath of the global pandemic, the world was hoping to look at positive prospects of increased economic activity. However, world economists can already feel the tremors of an impending recession. The Indian corporate sector is also facing the dread of the economic slowdown.

On the other hand, the global shutdowns and layoffs during the pandemic led people to reconsider and reassess their jobs and career paths. In India, tech talent has been on the move for better opportunities.

Businesses across industries are affected by attrition. Especially in the tech sector where demand seems to be always higher than the supply. On the flip side, employees are looking for a workplace where they can thrive. According to the State of the Global Workforce 2021 report, 20% of employees worldwide don’t find their work engaging enough. 

The emerging D2C sector in India has to bear the brunt of these global events like every other growing industry. As the economy is showing signs of revival, players that persevere through the economic slowdown would benefit greatly in this economy. 

Analytics and Automation:

Data analytics and AI are considered pathways to efficiency and abundance for every sector nowadays. Modes of talent acquisition have also undergone some modifications to fight the dearth of talent all over the world. Using analytics in recruitment is helping drive data-driven decision-making, cost-effective practices, and consequently better hires and filling open positions quickly. 

Robotic process automation and AI technologies are changing the face of work. As the work evolves, the demand for the workforce evolves too. Therefore, automation technologies are changing the hiring mandates for businesses faster than we might realize. 

Repetitive, manual tasks like document verification can be done without human intervention. AI technology has been a game changer, especially for D2C enterprises. It has expanded horizons for interactive communication with potential customers to potential candidates. 

Recruiters are able to deliver error-free and effective job posts and offer letters using Natural Language processing. The heavy lifting of intelligence-based tasks such as reading and processing data from various job boards, and reviewing resumes for specific skills are now being given to AI algorithms that keep getting better with time. At the same time, it is believed to minimize biases in the hiring and recruitment process.

Temp Workforce:

Pandemic transformed the ways of talent engagement for companies to fill the employment gaps. Therefore, another trend that is blossoming in the post-pandemic world is investing in contingent staff. 

If you would like an introduction: temporary workers are part of the gig workforce or Temp that a company engages on a temporary basis for an urgent capacity gap or a project-based need. These workers are scouted by staffing firms that bring suitable candidates for the company. Upon being selected, the candidate gets hired by the staffing company and gets to do multiple projects and gigs through the staffing firm while being on their payroll.  

This model gained prominence, especially during the pandemic as companies realized its advantages of quick onboarding, budget flexibility, and a lot more. For D2C businesses, it’s an agile and hassle-free way to hire niche tech skills and fulfill local talent needs. 

The biggest mistake companies make when hiring for the D2C and other tech-based sectors.

The tech job market is volatile, now more than ever as the small pool of skilled talent have multiple offers to choose from. At the same time, D2C brands planning to open warehouses in tier-2 and tier 3 cities and step into the untapped markets in India must grow their teams with rapid speed to out-race other players. 

Therefore, hiring in volume in local geographies has become a tricky function for D2C companies with no room left for mistakes or delays. Enterprises need to quickly fill capacity gaps as they arise when spreading into new markets. But when it comes to creating the geographic spread to enroll and engage local talent for operations like delivery, tech maintenance, and customer support, several players fall behind. And despite the appeal of D2C, the tech talent pool with niche skills is quite restricted as the D2C domain develops new tech needs. 

The biggest mistake for enterprises would be overlooking the optimization of their talent funnel. Slow and inefficient talent acquisition methodologies cost businesses precious time only to miss out on existing talent pools.

How to optimize the talent funnel to attract top talent for D2C brands

Whether it be deploying efficient operational processes, using innovative marketing, or employing technology effectively, agility is at the core of every successful D2C business. When it comes to creating a talent pipeline, enterprises look for methods that ensure speed without compromising on the quality of hires.

A Sales staffing success story:

One of our D2C clients wanted to assemble a sales team before an upcoming festive season. Initially, they were in doubt about the contract staffing model. However, our PAN India geographical spread helped them deploy 200+ people in different North, West, and South locations in India in 120 days!

Needless to say, they were quite impressed by the onboarding velocity and high joining ratio of the candidates engaged. 

How did we do this?

  1. Our team:
    Our recruiters are spread across 270+ districts and are specialists in local sourcing. To deliver high-volume mandates with high speed, we reached remote locations and deployed local talent.
  2. Our tech tools:
    We deploy an application tracking system to effectively engage the candidates, track their performance and manage them at scale. And a Net Promoter Score (NPS) from our clients enables us to constantly monitor and optimize our recruitment and engagement processes for efficiency.
  3. Employee engagement:
    Just like customer experience, candidate experience matters. Developing better experiences throughout the recruitment and employment process is the key to optimizing the talent pipeline. At Xpheno we regularly conduct employee engagement initiatives and surveys to improve the quality of engagement.


With more than 800 active D2C brands in the market and traditional players also coming into the picture, the competition is becoming severe. However, the brands that get the pulse of the economy chart a rapid breakthrough into the market and look at massive expansion opportunities.

In the hyperactive space, enterprises that fill their capacity gaps with agility are bound to benefit. Many leading D2C brands partner with staffing firms to accomplish their talent requirement for packing, delivery, inventory maintenance, customer relations, as well as tech roles. If you are looking for a reliable talent partner in your growth journey, get in touch!

Roche Michael.

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