Do­mes­tic Re­tail

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Home grown brands stand­ing tall with their global coun­ter­parts, yet…

The In­dian re­tail In­dus­try is the world’s fifth-largest global des­ti­na­tion in the re­tail space. It is emerg­ing as the most dy­namic and fast-paced in­dus­try and re­tail­ers/ brands from across the world, be­sides lo­cal play­ers are also eye­ing the mar­ket with en­thu­si­asm. The In­dian re­tail mar­ket size is huge, given that In­dia has the sec­ond largest pop­u­la­tion with an up­wardly mo­bile mid­dle class with in­creas­ing pur­chas­ing power, rapid ur­ban­i­sa­tion and grow­ing dig­i­tal­iza­tion. As of to­day, the In­dian re­tail sec­tor ac­counts for around 8 per cent of the em­ploy­ment and over 10 per cent of the coun­try’s Gross Do­mes­tic Prod­uct (GDP).

In a fast-chang­ing mar­ket en­vi­ron­ment from even a decade ago, con­sumers of to­day pre­fer branded prod­ucts, are vis­it­ing stores much more fre­quently, and ag­gres­sively ex­plor­ing e-re­tail­ing spa­ces, which de­liv­ers to their doorstep, and takes a return if it is not as per their lik­ing. With global play­ers com­ing in, the mar­ket has ex­panded ex­po­nen­tially and has also acted as a fa­cil­i­ta­tor for growth to the In­dian re­tail­ers. Akhil Dug­gar Jain, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Jain Amar, the par­ent com­pany of Madame, says hon­estly, “When you com­pare the home grown brand like us with the global brands there is ac­tu­ally no com­par­i­son, as this huge mar­ket has an im­mense scope for ev­ery­one. What we have no­ticed is that with in­ter­na­tional brands en­ter­ing the mar­ket, aware­ness for ready­made gar­ments has in­creased and we too are ex­pand­ing as the foot­fall for us also in­creases at the same place on the same level where global brands are.”

Even though the menswear mar­ket is the tra­di­tional strong­hold of the In­dian re­tail sce­nario, the wom­enswear mar­ket is to­day the most rapidly grow­ing cat­e­gory in In­dia fol­lowed by men and kidswear. Do­mes­tic re­tail­ers un­der­stand the cul­ture and pref­er­ences of the In­dian woman, and this has given them an added ad­van­tage over the in­ter­na­tional play­ers in the same seg­ment. Madame is a clas­sic ex­am­ple which pro­vides fast af­ford­able fash­ion for women and has grown to be a favoured brand for its cus­tomers, both in met­ro­pol­i­tan and Tier-II and Tier-III cities.

In fact, a large chunk of these cus­tomers is present in Tier-II and Tier-III cities of the coun­try for whom west­ern wear is a rel­a­tively new ad­di­tion to their wardrobe and in­ter­na­tional brands are still within the as­pi­ra­tional bracket. These con­sumers have the pur­chas­ing power and fewer ar­eas to spend com­pared to cus­tomers in met­ros. They like to spend more on ap­parel shop­ping, jew­ellery and cos­met­ics. A good brand of­fers lu­cra­tive prod­ucts to the tar­geted women or girls in these cities who are usu­ally first gen­er­a­tion of peo­ple wear­ing west­ern wear in their fam­i­lies. “Cus­tomers in Tier-II and Tier-III cities have more sav­ings and are in­dulging in lux­ury. North In­dia and north­east In­dia are our mass mar­kets, south In­dia still has less ac­cept­abil­ity for our kinds of prod­ucts. We are spread­ing very or­gan­i­cally in both metro and Tier-II and Tier-III cities; this year we might be launch­ing a cou­ple of stores for our var­i­ous brands equally in the metro, Tier-II and Tier-III cities,” shares Akhil. De­spite the grow­ing stature of

Madame, among the mi­lieu of in­ter­na­tional brands that sell fast fash­ion to young women, Akhil feels that Mall de­vel­op­ers, still per­ceive in­ter­na­tional brands as the crowd pullers. Ac­cord­ing to him, when it comes to re­tail space ac­qui­si­tion global brands gets an edge over their In­dian coun­ter­parts. “In­dian brands are usu­ally placed on the first floor while global brands get bet­ter floor spa­ces on the ground floor. A com­pany like us, which has proved its brand value even­tu­ally gets what we want but it is al­ways a fight,” elab­o­rates Akhil. Im­ple­men­ta­tion of GST and de­mon­e­ti­za­tion has been tail­winds of or­ga­nized re­tail over the past year, now giv­ing them an op­por­tu­nity to gain mar­ket share from un­or­ga­nized trade. Yet, or­ga­nized re­tail only ac­counts for 7 per cent of the en­tire mar­ket. Akhil says, “The re­tail sec­tor is get­ting highly or­ga­nized with the brands, es­pe­cially. In the cus­tomer’s mind, our cat­e­gory is al­ways bet­ter than the un­or­ga­nized cat­e­gory and we main­tain a re­la­tion­ship with them keep­ing these fac­tors in mind. In our ex­pe­ri­ence, we see cus­tomers writ­ing to us say­ing that we should have more stores in an ur­ban city to give peo­ple the ac­ces­si­bil­ity and ease of procur­ing and ex­chang­ing the prod­uct says for size or colour.”

In these ex­cit­ing times, both do­mes­tic and global re­tail­ers are leav­ing no stone un­turned to lure in their cus­tomers. Be it their mar­ket­ing strate­gies, prod­uct in­no­va­tion, pre­sen­ta­tion or pric­ing. For any brand, the re­peat ra­tio of the cus­tomer is very im­por­tant. “We are work­ing on new ideas and col­lec­tions which are at par with any in­ter­na­tional brand you take. We keep chang­ing our col­lec­tion pe­ri­od­i­cally that gives our cus­tomers a good chance to keep vis­it­ing us every two to three weeks,” Akhil elab­o­rates. En­sur­ing that the cus­tomer stays con­nected to the brand is the most

Madame has un­der­gone no­table ex­pan­sion, open­ing its first exclusive store in Mum­bai in 2002. In 2014, there were 102 exclusive stores across In­dia. At present, Madame has ex­panded allover In­dia with a to­tal num­ber of 150 exclusive stores.

vi­tal part of the busi­ness. A good brand re­call value, pocket friend­li­ness and in­no­va­tion, om­nichan­nel dis­tri­bu­tion is nec­es­sary for the stir­ring mar­ket con­di­tion In­dia has. He adds, “Our prod­ucts are the real growth driver. I be­lieve as a re­tailer, your sourc­ing should be right since it changes the en­tire scene; ‘what’ you are pro­vid­ing to your cus­tomer, and ‘how’ to build a base for the fu­ture with sure-shot en­gage­ments. For ex­am­ple, a cou­ple of years back when Flip­kart and Ama­zon came in e-Re­tail­ing wasn’t a con­cept, but to­day Vir­tual sell­ing has left the tra­di­tional mar­ket­ing far be­hind.” The mar­ket­ing bud­get for Madame’s On­line sales has gone con­sid­er­ably up in past years, which has re­sulted in more On­line sell­ing, and cus­tomer en­gage­ment based on their pref­er­ences. The com­pany man­u­fac­tures its prod­ucts in-house and sources fab­ric only for wo­ven prod­ucts from var­i­ous parts of the world, such as Tur­key and China. In­dian re­tail­ers claim to have prod­ucts at par with global play­ers, in the same mar­ket with same chan­nels of dis­tri­bu­tion then what is the dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing fac­tor be­tween the two? Giv­ing an in­sight Akhil con­cludes, “With us, though the brand aims to grow 30 per cent year-on-year, over last 2-3 years we have been able to grow at 22 per cent, which is ami­able, but be­low our tar­get. What In­dian re­tail­ers are fac­ing right now is the lack of hu­man re­source – a good sales team to com­pete in the mar­ket with global play­ers. Our sales teams do not un­der­stand fash­ion like that of our in­ter­na­tional coun­ter­parts. So, for next two-three years, it is on our list to strengthen the sales teams by train­ing them and en­hanc­ing their life­styles a bit to bridge this gap. As a re­tailer, we want to grow in this mar­ket and even­tu­ally shift to in­ter­na­tional mar­ket too.”

CAMLA is Jain Amar’s ac­quired brand for ‘women of sub­stance’ and ‘men of con­fi­dence’. Its com­plete col­lec­tion is de­signed in Barcelona with a unique blend of knits, prêt-à-porter and ac­ces­sories. Camla Barcelona is highly fo­cused on Euro­pean trends and in­te­grated Asian cul­ture along with the con­cept of in­ter­na­tional trends.

Akhil Dug­gar Jain, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Jain Amar (Madame)

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