Fahion and You incepted by veteran entrepreneur Harish Bahl who has experienced of developing business ventures like StudioSmile, Quasar (bought by WPP), Tyroo (minority stake picked up by Yahoo), Zoomtra & Zumtra. With its high fashion and luxury brands offering, Fashion and You is becoming preferred destination for exuberant youths who vouch to express them in sheer style. In an exclusive interaction with Iamwire, Bahl spoke on growth of high end lifestyle product selling online in India. Bahl threw light on urge of facilitating luxury and style, however he also added that Luxury is still in a nascent stage in India and Digital is a preferred platform, thus rapid growth is imminent. Here are the excerpts of the interaction.
1. What motivated you to launch invitation centric online portal Fashion and you?
Fashion and you’s invitation model projects the exclusivity which is what drives high end brands. We provide a plethora of well known and desired brands at a value that customers crave. This model facilitates consumers to get great deals and immense value while maintaining a brands image and avoiding brand dilution. I always felt a gap, where tier 2/3 towns did not hve access to good brands being retailed at selected metro towns.
2. How do you see the growth of high end lifestyle product selling online in India? According to you what is the market size of this category in India?
We at Fashion and you have seen an encouraging trend across the digital space and this is evident in the rampantly growing member base for FNY. We see a huge engagement by both teens and higher age groups. It is no longer limited to the working class who have access to internet from offices. From school and college going kids who accesss from their smart phones and tablets, to housewives across tier 2/ 3 towns who are getting addicted to luxury being delivered at their door step. Thus, not only is the number of people increasing, but also the basket size of each customer. More importantly, the pace of these changes and their geographical reach signal a genuine shift in purchasing habits and lifestyles
Luxury is still in a nascent stage in India and Digital is a preferred platform, thus rapid growth is imminent.
3. How will the market evolve over the next couple of years, that is, by 2014? What could be a possible market size of online Fashion and accessories?
We see a surge in Branded goods, especially international luxury and bridge to luxury brands. With growing awareness of luxury brands, and more faith in the internet as a medium, there will be an exponential growth in the next few years, both in online and offline modes.
4. With Fetise, Vogue Magnet and recently launched– Naaptol club all are targeting the consumers looking for high end luxury and fashion brands including fashion apparels, accessories & home décor. How you are prepared to stand alone in this crowd?
It is a global observation that in each space, there aren’t more than 1 or 2 large players. Moreover, there will always be first mover advantage, which fortunately, Fashion and you has garnered.
We are the market leader in this space and have outgrown the flash sales model. Fashion and You is now an emergent marketing and distribution channel. We bring not only themost coveted international brands to the Indian consumer, but lso showcase the best of Indian designer wear and Indian handicrafts. With more than 180 deigners on board with us , and we being the official retail of Lakme Fashion Week, we bring hot fashion right off the ramp. Our site showcases rare Indian handicrafts and art.
This model has inherent complexities and requires deep integration with brands/vendors, which once established, even from a suppliers point of view is difficult to diversify, since the effort to payout ratio is not very significant.
5.How do you see the recent spurt of investments in last twelve months in online businesses in India? According to you what are the reasons for such faith from investors?
The increase in the flow and speed of investments in this sector is driven by a few key factors – a) the ecommerce era is substantiated by a significant real demand. Consumers have the money in emerging economies and are willing and keen to spend it. Thus for the non-believers, this is different from the tech bubble of 2000 where there was artificially created demand and hype. A similar demand trend and buying capacity can be seen in all emerging economies which further strengthens our belief.
6. Do you think that online deal centric business in India has crossed its inflection point?
I’m not sure whether it’s crossed it but it has definitely hit the inflection point.
7.Online businesses such as Myntra, Snapdeal have started using traditional marketing mediums like TV commercials. What is your take on it? What is the current marketing mix of FNY?
It has been a well proven fact that marketing is most effective when it is integrated. Thus a combination of several mediums, most apt from a product perspective would be the winning combination. Having said that, we have added different channels to our marketing mix but our primary focus will remain on the digital space.
8. How FNY manages customer experience? What are the different strategies used by FNY to improve customer experience? Would FNY start offering customized products in order to improve customer experience? (Customization)
Fashion and you constantly works towards enhancing customers experience on our web-shop. We get the best of the brands for our customers, based on their wish-list which is compiled after a thorough research. We have just launched a customer support tab on facebook, which will facilitate customer interaction with FNY. It will also offer a medium through which complaints can be addressed and resolved within a short span of time and query responses and feedbacks are addressed and noted.
9. How do you manage the touch and feel factor in the consumer durable category, as this is a high involvement product category?
The touch and feel factor in the consumer durable category isn’t as important as in apparel. In order to address that Fashion and you provides detailed specs for all the products along with high resolution imagery to ensure a good customer experience.
10. In what ways consumers can be engaged efficiently and profitably with an online business in India?
Fashion and you has one of the largest fan base ( over 700,000 followers just on facebook) and an ever growing member base. Additionally, we have a high number of repeat customers which ultimately drives profitability but also proves the engagement levels.
To ensure these statistics only grow, fashion and you lays great emphasis on keeping the product offerings, the website and the loyalty programme fresh and exciting for each visitor. The constant change in stock and product offerings ensures the same. We’ve also constantly added new lines which keeps the shopping experience interesting. No other store in India has almost 1000 new SKUs being added every day, No other store has a foot fall which comes close to what we experience. Every minute we are getting more than 5 new members.