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Indian fashion is at crossroads as consumer profiles are getting blurred. A consumer in a metro / Tier I city is no different in terms of aspirations and spending power from consumers based in Tier II cities. The increase in consumption and awareness of fashion can be attributed to factors like immense penetration of the Internet as well as increased disposable incomes. The easy access to the Internet and the increase in traveling has made Indian consumers technologically informed, aware of what’s in vogue and hence, highly demanding. The shift in buying power and expectations of new-age, evolved consumers has compelled fashion retailers – both online and offline – to better cater to their desires.
According to Amar Nagaram, Head, Myntra Jabong, the next wave of growth for fashion e-commerce is going to come from non-metro and Tier II and beyond. He says this on the back of an in-depth analysis of Myntra’s 20 million+ customers spread over 23,000 pin codes across the length and breadth of India. Nagaram was speaking to IMAGES Retail Bureau at the sidelines of the 20th Edition of India Fashion Forum, held at Hotel Conrad, Bengaluru on December 17-18, 2019.
As per him, the days of serving the same trend to all of India are in the past.
He feels that people want to be noticed and fashion is a great way to get noticed. Retailers need to provide discerning consumers with the right kind of fashion basis the what’s in vogue at a particular type and also as per the area these consumers are in.
“The kind of experience that exists today in Tier II & III is not going to be acceptable a year from now. People are expecting services on the likes of Tier I and metro and this is an area of investment for retailers and brands. This is an area where we have also made some progress but there is a long way ahead of us. We have revisited our network design and inventory placement,” he adds.
Deep Discounts No Longer a Game Changer
With drastically changing behavioral patterns due to growing incomes, discounts offered on products are no longer the primary differentiator for consumers in India, who are ready to spend more for high quality products. According to Nagaram, brand preferences and particular designs have instead, become the prime factors people consider while buying.
“If you look at Myntra’s journey in the last nine months, we have consciously pivoted from deep-discounting to more brand-led, style-led kind of conversations, right from our marketing campaigns to the kind of brands that are coming on-board,” he states.
He illustrated with an example, saying that when Myntra had recently launched H&M on its platform, the full-price, in season launch, was an instant hit among consumers.
“It turned out to be one of the biggest brand launches the country had ever seen online and the kind of revenue that we made in the first 7 hours was more than some of their physical stores do in some of the biggest markets across the globe” Nagaram states.
He, however, says that Myntra does follow an affordable pricing strategy, which is very different from a discount-led pricing strategy. The online giant is continuously partnering with brands to see how it can make collections more affordable to consumers in Tier II & III cities and towns.
Emerging Needs of Millennials and Gen-Z Millennials and GenZers are highly dependent on digital technology, buried nose deep into their phones at all times. According to a Myntra study, 2 out of 3 Gen-Z Myntra users – despite being in a physical store – visit the Myntra app and 1 out of 6 actually end up buying from the app.
“Millennials and Gen-Z consumers prefer listening to the advice and reviews of strangers. A like and a comment on social media matters to them more than any guidance family members could give,” states Nagaram.
To connect better with these consumers, Myntra has introduced video cataloguing, helping the online giant become one of the most viewed apps in the country.
“There is no way we can translate all the catalogue into different languages across the country, so instead we introduced videos which drove the adoption of the products much more than what we had anticipated,” he explains.
Technology: Driving the Future
Using technology to democratise fashion and lifestyle and help people look good is the mission of Myntra. The online fashion behemoth has made serious investments in technology and is one of the main reasons why it is now the preferred platform for buying clothes for the younger generation.
The brand doesn’t want to be just a buying and selling platform. It aims to be recognised as a fashion-tech platform for both consumers and brands and Nagaram is convinced that technology is what will help Myntra reach the next level of success. Even, the selection of brands on Myntra is data driven. What users type in the search-bar reveals their expectations and on the basis of this, Myntra finalises which brand to get on-board.
“We are trying to build an eco-system of fashion in this country where we want all of the players in the eco-system to benefit. We understand our consumers and we share this understanding with our partner brands, for we want our brands to be successful. This is how we see ourselves being successful,” he says.
Upgrading Services: Secret to Win Consumers
We solve problems, we take initiatives and since we mostly think ahead of the rest of the players in the field.
“When we start looking at some of the problem statements, we see how we are not there yet with respect to that problem statement. We take initiatives to solve that problem and as we are thinking ahead of rest of the players, it can be termed as an innovation, but that is not the intent,” Nagaram says.
“For example, we have recently launched ‘alteration at doorstep’. Now this is not an innovation, however, this is something that has been done for the first time in the e-commerce space. We just had to figure it how do we do it in a way that it blends into the user experience,” he explains.
The ‘alteration service’ by Myntra is live across 13 cities in partnership with around 500 tailors. With almost 150 alterations taking place per day, Myntra has observed that the rate of returns has gone down significantly.
Myntra & its Recipe of Success
Myntra plans to continue operating in the premium segment, offering the best to consumers. It is also introducing luxury brands on its platform whenever the opportunity presents itself.
“We want to actually focus on getting the best global international brands and Indian brands on Myntra. We are also looking at some adjacent categories which are fast growing and high-margin categories like beauty and kidswear,” Nagaram says.
The e-retailer operates in a very unique segment which is the premium segment catering to a very specific set of user behaviour. This is a set of users who are very high-demanding and less-forgiving. The experience matters to them, more than price or discounts.
Aside from this, its in-house brands are doing roaring business and some – including HRX, Roadster, All About You and House of Pataudi are going international, launching their wares in markets like Canada. Offline, Myntra is working with brands like Lifestyle to do a store-in-store concept where Myntra brands will be a part of some of these stores. The end game, however, explains Nagaram, is to understand what consumers want.
“Investment in understanding these consumers, along with investing in technology to meet the ever-increasing demands of these consumers,and finally equipped with the best talent has helped us weave a success story in India,” Nagaram concludes.
Rahul Mehta, Chief Mentor CMAI cautioned about the severe job losses in the industry. “Looking at the survey results, I would not be surprised if close to 25-30 percent units shut down. I am also expecting job cuts of 25-30 percent even in the companies that somehow survive this year,” opined Mehta.
Both Noon and Namshi are a part of the Emaar group, a conglomerate located in the UAE. Noon is a horizontal e-commerce platform with offerings in multiple categories, while Namshi is a vertical platform, focussing primarily on fashion in the premium segment. The brands that have been launched on Noon are, Dressberry, Mast & Harbour, Moda Rapido, Here & Now, Sztori and HRX, while Namshi will list Dressberry, Mast & Harbour, Wrogn and HRX, over the next few weeks. These brands and styles were chosen based on regional trends and consumer preferences.
However, the company said, “We are committed to resolving the challenges and pursuing accelerated expansion in the future. We also continue to monitor the existing stores and refresh the portfolio through multiple initiatives including absorption/refurbishment of brand diluting stores.”
The ‘mini revolution’ gives parents a vast choice of styles for everyday wear as well as special occasions. The portfolio includes brands across clothing & accessories like GAP, Mothercare, Pepe Jeans, Guess, Skechers, Oui Oui, PUMA, Ralph Lauren Junior, Allen Solly Junior, The Children’s Place as well as homegrown labels such as PS Kids, AND, Biba, Ruff Kids, Gini & Jony, Miniklub, FrangiPani, Little Muffet and Vanshika Ahuja.
“Actual demand recovery shall be concurrent with the overall recovery of the economy, which is inching up now. Complete reinstatement of pre-COVID state of affairs is still sometime away,” the chairman said in his address at the virtual AGM. Bata India has achieved 35-40 percent of the pre- COVID business levels, he said.
“With sharpened product portfolio suiting to customer requirements, entrenched distribution network along with capability build-up in analytics for demand planning and fulfilment as well as omnichannel, AFL is strongly placed to recover faster from the impact of ongoing pandemic,” it was quoted by PTI as saying.
Celio* has used the lockdown time to upskill their employees. “We have clocked more than 4,500+ hours of training with our 800 employees. We have introduced pocket learning modules, educated employees on Retail Math, and trained them on new products through video-based learning and introduced ‘Learn with your Manager’ series which had the maximum participation. The brand also conducted LIVE quizzing and coffee table discussions as well as emphasized on developing their soft skills and personalities by giving them projects, book reviews etc.
“Raisin was started to create contemporary fashion which is able to meet the needs of our customers. Our clothing is designed with the aim to provide comfortable, chic and high-quality clothing to the modern-day women. Through the launch of our first ever Exclusive Brand Outlet (EBO) we want to make our plethora of collections now available in store. We soon plan to expand to over 20+ EBOs pan India by march 2021,” says Vikash Pacheriwal, Co-Founder of Raisin.
The subdued domestic demand and declining export demand due to lockdowns in the global markets on account of COVID-19 come as a double blow for textile companies. While the domestic demand could revive in 3QFY21 with the onset of the festive season and reopening of retail spaces, export demand would be fairly dependent on the recoup of major economies such as the US and UK. Also, there seems to a short-term opportunity for Indian companies to cater to those markets which were earlier catered by China and Bangladesh. However, the threat of import of lower cost raw materials persists and could hamper the domestic industry in the near term.
Although the lockdown has been lifted and stores have opened, the state of affairs remain grim for the fashion retail industry. The entire fashion retail industry is still struggling to cope with the aftermath of the lockdown induced stupor and footfalls aren’t still picking up even after a month since the lockdown was relaxed. Apparel retailers with shuttered stores are stuck with a season’s worth of inventory and are now reeling under the pressure of clearing it up. This has compelled them to offer deep discounts on products.
However, given the material impact of weak business performance in the first half, the ratios of net cash accrual to loan repayments and interest coverage will still be significantly weaker at 1.4-1.7 times and well below 3 times expected this fiscal, compared with 2.4 times and 4 times, respectively, in FY20, it added.
Our highest concern at the moment is the issue of harvesting wool from sheep for those woolgrowers who would normally be performing shearing this time of year. Shearing is essential from both an animal welfare and livelihood point of view. The wool industry is heavily dependent on wool being removed; without wool there are no sales and with no sales there is no fibre
Myntra, in a strategic partnership with Movado Group International, one of the world’s largest watches groups, today announced the launch of MVMT (pronounced as ’Movement’) watches on its platform. Founded in Los Angeles, MVMT watches mainly cater to new-age shoppers who are digital-savvy, with a motto that style shouldn’t break the bank. It offers high-quality products with minimalist designs at attractive prices.