Gun­jan Soni De­codes the Fu­ture of On­line Fash­ion Shop­ping

Images Retail - - FRONT PAGE - – By Charu Lamba

THE FOUR BIG TRENDS THAT WILL BE­COME RE­ALLY BIG THIS YEAR ARE - SUS­TAIN­ABLE FASH­ION (SPE­CIALLY WITH EDGE IN ETH­NIC WEAR), FAST FASH­ION, LUX­URY WHICH IS EX­PECTED TO GROW 3X-4X IN A COU­PLE OF YEARS AND GROW­ING DE­MAND FOR AC­CES­SORIES.

The in­creas­ing spec­trum of In­ter­net reach across ge­ogra­phies of India cou­pled with cor­po­rati­sa­tion of ap­parel sec­tor is paving way for growth of e-com­merce sales to new lev­els. With dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion of India, re­tail­ers and brands have bet­ter ac­cess to Tier II and III, cities and ru­ral India through me­dia and In­ter­net ex­po­sure. This has re­sulted in chang­ing fash­ion trends much faster than an­tic­i­pated…

The In­dian re­tail mar­ket was es­ti­mated at ₹46,15,000 crore in 2017 and is ex­pected to reach ₹1,08,58,000 crore by 2027, grow­ing at a Com­pound An­nual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to the In­dian Fash­ion Re­port 2018. Within this, it is es­ti­mated that the cur­rent fash­ion re­tail mar­ket is worth ₹3,22,209 crore and is ex­pected to grow at a promis­ing CAGR of 7.7 per­cent to reach ₹6,74,037 crore by 2027.

Ex­po­sure to global fash­ion trends, the ris­ing dis­pos­able in­comes of the In­dian mid­dle class and the pres­ence of for­eign brands has been act­ing as a cat­a­lyst for the growth of the fash­ion re­tail mar­ket in the coun­try. Mean­while, the in­creas­ing spec­trum of In­ter­net reach across ge­ogra­phies of India cou­pled with cor­po­rati­sa­tion of ap­parel sec­tor is paving way for growth of e-com­merce sales to new lev­els. With dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion of India, re­tail­ers and brands have bet­ter ac­cess to Tier II and III, cities and ru­ral India through me­dia and In­ter­net ex­po­sure. This has re­sulted in chang­ing fash­ion trends much faster than an­tic­i­pated.

Speak­ing to IM­AGES Re­tail Bureau, Gun­jan Soni, Head of Jabong & Chief Mar­ket­ing Of­fi­cer at Myn­tra said, “The four big trends that will be­come re­ally big this year are - sus­tain­able fash­ion (spe­cially with edge in eth­nic wear), fast fash­ion with the likes of Vorta tech­nol­ogy, lux­ury which is ex­pected to grow 3X-4X in a cou­ple of years and grow­ing de­mand for Beauty & Per­sonal care, Home dé­cor along with ac­ces­sories.”

Each of these trends are al­ready do­ing great on Myn­tra and Jabong.

“As far as fast fash­ion is con­cerned, we have leap-frogged a lot and we have cre­ated brands where we are ac­tu­ally not us­ing de­sign­ers but us­ing ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and ma­chine learn­ing to be able to de­pict how next wave of fash­ion is go­ing to be much faster and then work with other man­u­fac­tur­ers to bring them to life also much faster. So, within a span from con­cep­tion to ex­e­cu­tion and to be avail­able on our plat­form is only a span of two months. And that is how fast we are tak­ing fast fash­ion to be,” she added.

Bet­ting Big On Lux­ury

Then there is lux­ury, a seg­ment that Jabong is bet­ting big on this Spring. The brand is launch­ing two new on­line stores soon – a lux­ury store and a de­signer store, both of which will con­cen­trate on the pre­mium fash­ion seg­ment, lux­ury brands, global brands.

“Jabong is mak­ing a lot of waves when it comes to the lux­ury seg­ment and soon we ex­pect to launch both a lux­ury store and a de­signer store in line with the ex­pec­ta­tions of our con­sumers. The launch of the stores is in line with our be­lief that the

In­dian cus­tomer is ready to ex­pe­ri­ence both these seg­ments on­line. The lux­ury store will see sev­eral in­no­va­tions be­cause if we are bring­ing lux­ury on­line, we ac­tu­ally want to cre­ate an ex­pe­ri­ence that is different,” as­serted Soni.

She added, “The lux­ury store will see sev­eral in­no­va­tions be­cause if Jabong is bring­ing lux­ury on­line, the idea is to ac­tu­ally cre­ate an ex­pe­ri­ence that is different.”

Lux­ury as a cat­e­gory will be avail­able on both the plat­forms but these stores will be launched ex­clu­sively on Jabong. Mean­while, Myn­tra will con­tinue to lead as a mass pre­mium plat­form and will fo­cus on driv­ing the next wave of adap­tion.

“We have been the leader in the fash­ion cat­e­gory, we want to make sure that the next wave of adap­tion in on­line fash­ion hap­pens in India on our plat­forms,” she fur­ther stated.

Both Myn­tra and Jabong to­day have a com­bined base of 12 mil­lion cus­tomers. How­ever, the cus­tomer over­lap be­tween both the brands to­day is 28 per­cent.

De­spite hav­ing over­lap­ping cus­tomers, just like Myn­tra, Jabong has no plans to take off­line route and open brick-and­mor­tar stores. Rein­vent­ing Ex­pe­ri­ences Us­ing Tech­nol­ogy

To en­hance the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence, Soni said the brand is us­ing tech­nol­ogy at ev­ery step.

“The key is to per­son­alise ex­pe­ri­ences us­ing tech­nol­ogy over the next two years,” she said, adding, “Per­son­al­i­sa­tion is not re­ally talked about a lot when it comes to sup­ply chain and lo­gis­tics. We take the tech­nol­ogy to help pre­dict con­sumer be­hav­iour. Fash­ion is not very a high depth cat­e­gory, so to store prod­ucts at mul­ti­ple ware­houses we need to plan in ad­vance. We ap­ply for­ward pre­dic­tion al­go­rithms that tell us which ge­og­ra­phy is likely to buy which prod­uct on the ba­sis of past trends. Us­ing these al­go­rithms, we pre-stock our mer­chan­dise and are hence able to make de­liv­er­ies with speed.”

“We are also per­son­al­is­ing the end ex­pe­ri­ence of the con­sumer. Last year, we launched ‘Try and Buy’ which

is pow­ered by both tech­nol­ogy and con­sumer buy­ing be­hav­iour. For this year, we will be ex­plor­ing ser­vices like Concierge. For ex­am­ple: can we give you an ap­point­ment book­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, can we vary speed by the type of con­sumer we are get­ting to? We will be ap­ply­ing tech­nol­ogy in un­con­ven­tional ar­eas and of course, in tra­di­tional ar­eas, we are al­ready us­ing 10X of the tech­nol­ogy we will be us­ing in launch­ing newer ser­vices.”

Just like last year, Jabong will be launch­ing the se­cond ver­sion of its Mood Store, a com­pre­hen­sive fash­ion store that al­lows users to shop an en­tire look per their mood. Mood store was cre­ated to the Ur­ban Trail­blazer seg­ment - which the rel­e­vant tar­get group seg­ment for Jabong. These are movers and shak­ers of India, with high af­flu­ence and dis­cern­ing choice in fash­ion etc. The store is based on deep con­sumer un­der­stand­ing and an­a­lytic around pref­er­ences of the In­dian fash­ion cus­tomer.

Ac­cord­ing to Soni, the Mood Store is all about shap­ing ex­pe­ri­ences through tech­nol­ogy and be­ing able to of­fer the con­sumer a selec­tion not led by cat­e­gory. Apart from this, Jabong is cred­ited with launch­ing sev­eral tech­no­log­i­cally backed in­dus­try-firsts in In­dian fash­ion e-com­merce.

Tier II & Be­yond: A Store­house of Op­por­tu­ni­ties

Tier II and be­yond is a very large mar­ket al­ready, so across both Myn­tra and Jabong close to 50 per­cent of sales now come from be­yond Tier I or the top ten cities.

“In par­tic­u­lar, we are see­ing adop­tion of the lat­est trends hap­pen­ing there. Trend of adopt­ing ac­tive wear is hap­pen­ing faster in Tier II and be­yond than the met­ros. Sim­i­larly, in the lux­ury seg­ment – which is largely con­sid­ered only for su­per af­flu­ent and there­fore proxy metro con­sumers – we see that al­most 40 per­cent of our sales (even for higher price points) are ac­tu­ally com­ing from Tier II and be­yond. And within that ge­og­ra­phy, places like the North­east are shop­ping their fair share,” re­vealed Soni.

In­tel­li­gent Mar­ket­ing & Myn­tra TV

“Last year we did a per­son­alised cam­paign for Myn­tra’s

End of Sea­son Sale where we ran 40,000 different cre­atives for 40,000 different seg­ments. We used the help of a Sil­i­con Val­ley-based startup to per­son­alise ads/cam­paigns. We used four ba­sic vari­ables to tar­get con­sumers – gen­der, ge­og­ra­phy, pre­ferred lan­guage and whether they had been a con­sumer in the past. The end re­sult – ev­ery­one who ac­cessed the cam­paign got an in­di­vid­ual look. All these cam­paigns saw 3X higher per­for­mance as com­pared to oth­ers that we have done in the past.”

She be­lieves that the fu­ture of mar­ket­ing is also go­ing to change dra­mat­i­cally – a lot more per­son­alised with a higher bar on cre­ativ­ity

An­other el­e­ment which the brand is bank­ing on is con­tent. They are con­fi­dent con­tent is go­ing to be­come the big en­abler for e-com­merce and are in the process of build­ing ‘Myn­tra TV’, which will host ‘shopable videos.’

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