Reliance Brands Limited, a wholly-owned arm of Reliance Industries, seems getting serious about its plans of getting into the e-commerce Business and is expected to foray into e-commerce space soon. Recently Reliance Brands Limited has appointed Cleartrip’s COO P K X Thomas as its CIO – ecommerce.
Founded in 2007, Reliance brand has completed its 5 years in September. Reliance Brands Limited is dedicated to bringing iconic international brands to India and elevates the world of fashion & lifestyle. Right now Reliance Brands is associated with many International Brands like Diesel , Paul & Shark, Timberland, Ermenegildo Zegn, Quiksilver and Roxy, DC Shoes, Steve Madden, Hamleys, Kenneth Cole, Thomas Pink, Brooks Brothers to market and sell products in India. It is expected that it will bring separate portal (or mono-brand portals) for each brand. Reliance Brands Limited has also brought in 6 international luxury and premium brands such as Diesel and Paul & Shark in the country, and opened 29 stores under these brands.
P K X Thomas has almost 20 years of experience with 6 years of experience in Cleartrip as CTO (Chief Technical Officer) and later as COO (Chief Operating Officer). With appointing Thomas as its CIO Reliance brands has cleared the air that it is getting in to the e-commerce business.
We have written to P K X Thomas regarding this development however the response is awaited.
Earlier, Reliance also hired Manoj Shinde from Quicksilver, US to head their Luxury ECommerce Project, however with only 8 months of engagement Manoj moved out to start his own startup. When asked by Iamwire, Manoj could not comment on reliance plan for online retail.
Reliance Brands has recently shot up to 11,954 likes on Facebook, with almost 3898 likes in less than a month (November- December). They also have a high 11% engagement ratio. These trends are typically seen when brands start to invest money in Facebook advertising.
Apparel has always been one of the most sold category online and top the list of high performers in e-commerce. According to Comscore, apparel has been the fastest growing subcategory in retail and reaches 13.4% online users in India. A study by Technopak Advisors also reveals that apparel segment will grow almost ten-fold to nearly Rs 7,000 crores by 2015. Fashionandyou, 99Labels, the privates ales and are some of the emerging players in apparel (Avendus). The prevalence of multi-brand retail shows that pure-play apparel e-tailers also have huge potential in this market.
All the brands that are associated with Reliance Brands already have successful online presence globally. Physical presence of these brands in India in partnership with Reliance Brands had already bought big businesses for them due to popularity of Branded Apparel among the Indian masses. Some of these brands are already selling on multi branded online stores like myntra / yebhi, however it is still not clear if these portals are sourcing these brands via Reliance Brands or directly through import channels.
Indian online retail has picked up in last few years, with an aggressive growth in Apparel and Lifestyle category. Key retail houses like Major Brands, Future Brands ,Aditya Birla’s More, Mahindra Retail’s Mom & Me, and Tata’s Croma in electronics retailing, have already marked their presence in Internet Retail. And a lot more brands are in pipeline to go online. Hence it is not a surprise that Reliance must be taking a serious consideration with its online strategy, not only for Brands but also for other verticals. Some of reliance offline categories are highly successful online like Footwear, Electronic, hence it may not be far that Reliance enables all its offline stores to take advantage of multi-channel retailing.
While Indian government is yet to allow ecommerce for foreign retailers into the country, going online with their Indian Retail Partner is the best way to gain rapid visibility across corners of India.
In the evolving and competitive online Apparel Retail market with so many pure play and multi channel retailers like Myntra, Snapdeal, Yebhi, Homeshop18, Shoppersstop, major brands, etc offering branded clothes, accessories and lifestyle merchandise, Now it has to be seen how Reliance Brands will be able to make its brand identity noticeable and make its e-commerce venture a success like its traditional retail business.