Choosing to shop for fashion products online is now on an increase more than ever before, globally. This has propelled more online portals to venture into profitable business prospects worldwide. Online shopping is convenient and easy. From groceries to cell phones, everything can be purchased online these days. Due to increasing popularity of internet shopping, portals like Amazon, Flipkart, Askmegrocery, Yepme, Jabong, Myntra, and many more are gradually beginning to dominate the market of e-commerce in India.
These giant online shopping portals are getting bigger by the day and becoming one of the most profitable ventures of late. Amit Maheshwari, CEO of Exclusively.com says, “This is a transactional profitable business. Having said that, we are in the growth phase and our endeavour is to reach out to the largest audience possible. Scaling up to this extent and being able to disseminate our vision and ideas to the audience we want to reach would require funding. In the first phase of e-commerce, sellers and consumers have already moved online and are comfortable selling and transacting online. Today, with the explosive reach and influence of e-commerce, everyone wants to be online. But we need to be careful and ensure that those we partner with are ready with the right infrastructure and back-end to move online.”
In the same vein, Sahil Malik, managing director of Da Milano says, “There is an opportunity to display more range and collection as at the stores there is a constraint of space. The world is getting digital. The lifestyle of people have become such that they no longer hesitate to buy online as it is all the more convenient and one can easily compare options and get best deals. We are a home grown and self-funded brand. With the evolution of multi retail channels, online business is getting profitable as it allows us to tap larger audiences around the globe.”
“Online shopping is really popular, so we are focused on long term profitable growth and would do everything required to achieve the same. We do have a healthy operating margin and as the business scales up the margins, it will take care of all expenditures and deliver a profitable business,” says Manish Shrivastava, chief revenue officer, Yepme.
More than anything, what is really exciting about online marketing is that it is faster, saves time and sometimes cheaper than the deals available at the stores.
“I cannot think of going out for shopping in such a hot weather. But then I cannot resist myself from buying summer clothes for myself. Thanks to these multi-clothing shopping portals which provides faster accessibility and offers large options with cheaper rates,” says Naina Agarwal, a college going student.
Advertising is one such aspect where huge money is spent to attract the customers. From creative ads to campaigning by making Bollywood celebrities the brand ambassadors, these online portals are adopting various strategies to woo more and more customers. Cut-throat competition among the different portals is also one of the reasons behind some of these quirky, eye-catching ads.
“The future of fashion is online and being part of an innovative shopping portal does not only help designers reach a wider audience, but also helps in marketing brands in a creative way.”
“Advertising is a function that is required when we need to communicate value to consumers. Depending on the business requirement, target reach and mode of communication, advertising spends differ across campaigns and there are no fixed budgets per se,” says Maheshwari.
“The best way to win against competition is to have a good product experience for the customer and offering something new to the loyal customers. We add fresh new styles on our website which keep on changing frequently. Once the product is sold out, we never replenish it. We strongly believe in fast fashion. We keep offering special discounts to our loyal customer base through our loyalty reward program,” says Shrivastava.
“An attractive website design as a brand’s website is its representation so it is imperative to have a beautiful yet professional website. Engaging more with customers through social media and providing marvelous content is really important. One needs to have an impeccable customer care service as there is no better promotion than having satisfied customers. Regular mailers and message alerts to customers about offers, products and of sales service is one of our strategies. We also offer a lifetime warranty and service on all our products which act as a good advertising tactic,” says Malik.
Different designers tend to collaborate with these shopping portals which also help them to create a platform for larger audience. Designer Anju Modi who has collaborated with Exclusively.com says, “We nurture collaborations with selected partners. It is essential to build relationships with only those who understand the true essence of our brand and present it aesthetically to our customers. The future is online and being a part of an innovative shopping portal does not only help us reach a wider audience, but also helps in building creative storytelling.”
“The biggest advantage of being a part of portals is its potential to attract extremely large number of customers. Having said that, the Indian customer still likes to feel, touch and experience their clothes in designer stores, especially when it comes to festive and couture ensembles,” adds Modi.
Designer Nikhil Thampi adds, “I think online shopping is the newest, fastest and easiest way for a consumer in any part of the world to avail of any designer. Online portals tap a much wider market that provides access to my label to people from all across the globe, which is amazing. It's a great way to get my label reach a wider clientele. When we sell at stores, we get clients that are mostly specific to that particular location, who land up buying the more expensive pieces since they can feel, touch and try them on physically at the store.”
This has not only been profitable business for the owners of the online portals but equally profitable for designers who are promoting their products through these portals. “I feel like it is more profitable to sell online as there is no blockage of inventory. Also a product is released only once an order is placed. Moreover since more people can view and access my collections, there is more likelihood for sales,” says designer Samant Chauhan.
Medha Khosla, creative director of Anomaly who has started her own line of collection online says, “Selling through our own online store is undoubtedly more profitable. Since we’re selling directly to the consumer, our profit margins are higher. Also, having your own portal is very important to build customer loyalty and emotionally connect with the consumer through personalized marketing and interaction. This is crucial in building brand value and generating greater sales in the long run.”
“I think it is certainly mutually profitable for the designer and the online businesses. Mostly everyone today is shopping online, which gives designers the opportunity to reach out to a larger audience and the right segment for their products. With a growing number of designers today, the online businesses are able to showcase a greater variety of products, attracting an increasing number of consumers to their portals every day – a win-win situation for all,” adds Khosla.
It goes without saying that designers can easily create a popularity for their labels today by not only collaborating with the existing internet shopping portals but by also creating their own online stores.
“Digital marketing and a strong online push is perhaps the full proof way to garner the popularity a product deserves with audiences outside of your location. The ultimate effort is to ensure my consumer in different cities as well as international clients have access to my product even though I am located in Bombay,” says Thampi.
Khosla adds, “I think it’s very important to collaborate with the right multi brand portals, as brand positioning is imperative to product popularity today. Since online shopping is more of a social activity today, the more you’re seen as a brand on various portals and talked about amongst social groups, the more popular and accessible your product is at the end of the day.”
Kapil Hetamsaria, CEO and co-founder of Velvetcase says, “The concept of e-commerce has gained great success since it is a time-efficient process. E-commerce purchasing has been very flexible these days, as the purchase is not limited to visiting websites only. Rather, one can easily place orders through social media handles like Instagram and Facebook. Of course, there is no doubt in quality of the products showcased online as e-commerce purchasing is experiencing a great boom today.”
All said, online shopping is a favourite not just among consumers but also among retailers, designers and advertising companies too. This kind of collaboration has helped the likes of Amazon and Flipkart to create a massive indigenous industry in terms of multiple selection options, competitive pricing, and wide information dissemination.