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)