Bussiness Scope of web exclusive retail store in India

Kavya Arora - Retail Director - Femella

Opportunities for web exclusive brands in India are catching up gradually however it is viable only if the business model and the market which its being targeted to is right.

Every day there are about a dozen brands coming up in apparel, accessories, shoes etc. across all market segments. The biggest challenge upcoming brands face is visibility and lack of pos where their products can be sold. With many international brands having their presence in India and the number increasing at a decent speed it is becoming tougher for upcoming brands to gain a presence.

In this era of e-commerce many multi-brand formats have been launched and are doing quite well thanks to Venture Capitalists. What is missing? An exclusive brand that is only web-exclusive. According to a survey done by Assocham, youth are spending an average of INR 5,000 per month on apparel and shoes. Youth is also spending majority of their time on Internet. As of now majority of e-commerce platforms have captured the market books and electronics(almost 80% of the online transactions), discount websites and multi-brand retailers.

Web-exclusive brands for apparel are a market to be in. Although there are a lot of challenges for e-commerce models in India especially in apparel category we will take a look at how it can benefit a brand financially and grow it fast rather than taking the conventional brick and mortar route.

  • Selling apparel with out customer feeling the fabric or trying it out. This is the biggest problem which is being faced because of all brands have different size charts so customer becomes apprehensive before buying it.
  • Educate customer on quality and fabrics so which makes it easier for them to buy.
  • Look and feel factor has to be perfect. Presentation Matters!
  • Good customer service. Such as replying back instantly to your customers whether its via email or on brand’s facebook page. If not responded on time the customer forgets about it. You need the customer the customer doesn’t need you.
  • Make it hassle-free for customers to exchange their order if need be.
  • Hard to implement the Trust Factor.
  • Communication with customers can be difficult.

Mentioned above are some of the challenges e-commerce company’s faces while selling apparel online. How can it be beneficial going via online rather than the old-fashioned brick and mortar way?

  • Opening stores require huge capital where online you can control your expenses.
  • With the help of social media it is becoming easier to communicate and market the brand in at affordable cost.
  • Percentage of youth working is increasing day by day so shopping online makes it convenient for them to shop.
  • Can reach much larger audience. Not just domestically but internationally.
  • Better ways to pay (such as cash on delivery) since many people still do not use credit card or debit card COD is a convenient option for customers while shopping online.
  • Can increase end number of product lines online. The more collection you have the more time customer spends on the website.
  • If the products are priced properly and are up to date with current market trends repeated orders would keep coming.
  • You can change the graphics and keep on making it attractive for the customer at a reasonable costs compared to if you have to change the display at an outlet it costs money to have an attractive display.

With end number of shopping malls being opened and rentals being sky rocketed it will get harder for brands in the long run to have presence in every mall. In order for them to earn market share they have to keep on increasing their store count. To stand apart in today’s retail industry you have to think out of the box, do marketing accordingly, make sure interior of the stores is nice. In the past year we have seen downturn from brands like spykar, koutons, gini and jonny due to over expansion, lack of sales, which made harder for them to sustain themselves. With online you can grow at a reasonable rate and read your customer fast and respond accordingly.

Femella was also started thru the traditional way of retail. But in the past year or so we have focused more on our e-commerce business rather than opening more outlets. We want to become market leaders in women’s e-commerce for apparel and accessories (ages of 18-34). Femella, was launched as an indo-western brand for women after we saw an early shift in the market we changed our model to fast fashion. What is fast fashion? Designers at Femella focus at current market trends and what is the consumer demanding. We are in constant touch with our store managers and constantly go through our customer feed back forms, emails and comments on our facebook page. We have experienced that our way is much more efficient than going the conventional way of forecasting a season and figuring what fabrics/trims or accessories will be in fashion.

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