From antiviral collections, home apparel line to shop-on-wheels and appointment viewing, doorstep delivery, are some of the initiatives which have been rolled out
India's online fashion segment is expected to grow from 4.8 billion dollars in GMV in FY19 to 19 billion dollars in FY24.
2020 has been anything but a roller coaster ride for everyone around the world. The impact has been so severe that while most businesses have struggled to stay afloat, many have been forced to shut shop. Amidst this conundrum, businesses have also tried to innovate as part of the survival strategy. From antiviral collections, home apparel line to shop-on-wheels at resident welfare associations and appointment viewing, besides doorstep delivery are some of the initiatives which have been rolled out by fashion and lifestyle brands to their customers. “It is all about unlearning what has been learnt in all these years and learning new tricks of the trade,” Ajay Kapoor, president, retail, Fabindia told BrandWagon Online. The company claims that its business has recovered by 60-70% while sales from online channels have doubled over the last six months. It has introduced its ‘White glove service’ under which the brand has been reaching out to its loyal customers through online customised catalogues and look books which allow customers to order and have products delivered at their homes. As per Kapoor, the aim is to be present wherever the customers are.
Clothing brand Peter England, part of the Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail, collaborated with Switzerland-based HeiQ to bring the HeiQ Viroblock fabric technology to India — known to have virus-resistant properties. Under this collection, Peter England launched workwear, loungewear, and face masks. “We believe that most of these products will remain relevant going forward. The deep cultural change that has happened in the last eight months within consumers’ habits is likely to stay for the long term. Moreover, wellness series of products as well as health products are going to gain prominence in the future,” Manish Singhai, COO, Peter England, and head, e-commerce, Lifestyle Brands, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited, said, adding that comfort will become the new normal as the culture of work from home has become a reality. The company claims that online contribution has doubled since Covid.
Moreover, with online accounting for the majority of the sales currently, brands have begun to increase marketing spends on the platform. For instance, High Street Essentials Pvt Ltd, which operates clothing brands FabAlley and Indya, plans to only spend online till the first quarter of FY22. “Within digital, performance marketing will contribute about 90-95% of our spend. About 10% will be spent on brand building on digital,” Tanvi Malik, co-founder, FabAlley and Indya, said. The company claims that online sales continues to be almost 120%-150% higher than last year’s sales. As per Malik, the need is to sharpen the online experience further, given that the medium has proven to be such a big growth driver. “We have introduced practices such as same-day refund and exchange process; communicating real-time delays in orders through our association with logistics intelligence platform Clickpost– All of these for consumers to start having more trust and more comfort while shopping online,” she explained.
Industry experts believe that there is a need for constant reinvention. “The apparel industry needs to reboot keeping new realities in mind. New fashion is all about being casual and comfortable, not stuffy and formal. Apparel brands need to invest in fresh insight gathering. There is plenty of value in this process,” Harish Bijoor, brand expert and founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc., stated.