Ecommerce in India has been catching up fast for various positive reasons including unprecedented faith of investors and consumers as well. With books, electronic, computer peripherals and mobile phones seem to be the leading categories, however, from quite some time we have experienced rise of categories like apparel very fast. Interestingly, look and feel factor in merchandises such as apparels is very high, but still it is catching up which signifies that look and feel factor has gradually been dissipating.
There has been a trend to foray in to apparel within ecommerce player like yebhi.com, myntra, Inkfruit, 99 labels, Fashion and you, 70 mm etc, meanwhile we have also seen rise of some of the web exclusive store selling their private label such as zovi and Femella Fashions. So what exactly entices consumers to shop apparel online? Our research along with some of the expert consultations have pointed out following reasons:
- Consumers are maturing: In initial days of ecommerce (excluding last one year), ecommerce players have evangelize the market through sell of electronic and digital merchandises such as camera, mobile phones, laptop and computer peripherals. However, increasing comfort with the medium has opened the door of selling the merchandises involve high touch and feel factor.
- Lack of penetration of brand and apparels that are in vogue: Still a person in tier 2 and 3 cities has limited access to the medium brands as well as high end brands. Having said that organized retail in India, so far, failed to facilitate the need of consumers based out of metros, so online retail would certainly fill this void.
- Payment options: As discussed in above point, unavailability of apparel brands in tier 2 and 3 cities is a driving force behind rise of this category. Meanwhile, payment option especially Cash on Delivery (COD) is giving consumers chance to shop the apparel without using credit card and online banking
- Offline Apparels Brands (Brick & Mortar retailers) are coming online: Offline apparel brands like Shopper Stop, Globus store and Futurebazaar (ecommerce arm of Big Bazaar) have come online. Consumers have already bought from these brands’s offline store, so already these brands established trust within consumers. Now they (brands) are online so consumers would not mind about trust and credibility issue.
Apparel has started to become the catalogue of online retailers from past one year and consequently various existing and new retailers have been successfully evangelizing this category. In fact while we were talking to some of the ecommerce players operating in apparel and interestingly most of them have said that they make profit by selling high end fashion apparel brands. So there profit primarily proportional to the sale of apparels. Hence what are the opportunities in this category for existing and coming up online retailers?
- As apparel is the second largest category after food and grocery in Brick & Mortar retail. However, so far food and grocery has not been catching up in online and on the contrary apparel has gone far ahead than FMCG/CPG goods. On the basis of these facts and presumptions it seems that there is an appetite within consumers for apparel and delight for retailers too.
- Driven by aspiration and upmarket French and Italian fashion brands such as Zara, Nine waist, Mango, Gucci, Armani etc. With the growing disposable income of middle class in India, there is a growing aspiration in youths to flaunt high end fashion apparel brands.
- Advance in apparel private label brands or in-house own apparel brands. We have witnessed rise of some web exclusive apparel brands like Zovi, femmela, sheetal India etc. And most of them are growing in double digits and few in triple digits too.
In above points we have discussed the opportunities in apparel; however there are some challenges are also pertinent with this category. However the challenges could be easily overcome with various available tools. Following challenges seem to be loomed large in this category. At the same time our research and experts opinion also pointed out how to address the challenges.
- Look and feel: Look and feel in apparel is very much involved. However it can not be addressed immaculately through high resolution web translation (such as high resolution pictures, graphical representations, information about fabric etc).
- Size and fitting: It is a big problem with the apparels not in online but offline too. Even when we go to any offline retailer to buy anything like jeans, shirts and tops we identify fitting and size issue. However it could be out-edged through introduction of standard sizes of apparels that suit for Indian market. Facility like return policy with 100 percent cash back promise can boost consumer’s confidence shopping apparel online.
Apparel has really been catching up category by looking at retailers’ interest in it. As ecommerce and online retail in nascent stage in India, it seems that apparel would certainly rise up thick and fast with the time. Rise of some web exclusive stores catering to the demand of apparel is a good sign; we believe that there is a space for branded as well as private label or in house manufactured clothes. Eventually, with the rising trend of selling apparel online would also trigger the pace of offline retailers to come online. This category has been going well and is wide open to have as many players as can enter and this is the right time to get aspired to sell apparels online!