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e-commerce lending to growth of fashion retail in a big way: Ritika Taneja

Authored by Ritika Taneja, Head-Category Management, ShopClues.

As the world is moving towards a virtual existence, the digital platform is increasingly becoming a one-stop solution that fulfils all needs of consumers. In India, e-retail is one of the most dynamic and fast-growing sectors that sees a growth of 35%-40% CAGR (till 2020) number of people going online every year. What is interesting to see is that as digitization penetrates pan-India, rural India is emerging as the potential front-runner for e-commerce firms, with the primary growth driver being online fashion retail. The online channel is becoming a very powerful tool to grow that segment and push the way online fashion is sold in India.

People now prefer to shop online rather than go out to shopping malls or small, crowded Tier II/III and IV markets. The key drivers of this shifting pattern is their growing dependence and access to smartphones, which in turn is rapidly growing the online shopping platform. What is further driving people to the online world are heavy discounts, deals and promotions, availability of exclusive domestic as well as global products and an exclusive, personalized experience. These frills are attractive, more so, for consumers living in Tier II and III cities as well as semi-urban areas, making them migrate to online channels.

A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group says that e-commerce for fashion is speculated to grow at an exceptional rate and the number of online shoppers will double by 2020, with more than half of that number coming from men who shop online. This is a huge, potential segment that will drive online fashion retail in India, not just the metros but also the Tier II/III cities of India.

As an online e-commerce firm that has its feet firmly rooted in the online shopping space of rural India, we at ShopClues are confident of being ahead of our competition by virtue of being the pioneers in the space, and the preferred online shopping destination among consumers in the Tier II/III and IV cities. Since our inception seven years ago, our marketing strategies have been targeted at leaving no stone unturned to make sure people living in these regions have the best brands to choose from.

In a World where growth in top line is funded by deep discounts and stark impact on bottom line, Shopclues has managed to reduce its losses by 90% (OND 2018 vs OND 2017) without compromising on Topline growth. Our exclusive labels like Meia for women, Home Berry for home furnishing and decor, Digimate for electronics, Code Yellow for women’s western wear and 29K for men’s exclusive are privy to that.

Overall, we are happy with the kind of growth we have achieved in our online fashion category. Putting out our over 20 million products online has played a major role in helping us achieve those sales.

From our own experience with e-commerce for the fashion category, we have seen that consumers don’t only shop for products, it is the personalized experience they are after. Their needs and preferences are constantly changing, and we have to keep them interested with our marketing and business initiatives. For example, most e-commerce portals have made their shipping days standard so that by cutting down on shipping time, their businesses benefit.  There is also faster and easier navigation and most e-retailers provide detailed specifications of their products so that consumers make better purchase decisions. The other thing that we are seeing is that e-retailers are opening up their physical stores so that they are able to capture a bigger market share.

As we go forward, technology is going to play a major role in pushing the fashion business forward. E-commerce firms are going to go all out to provide more innovative and out-of-the box choices so that not only do they retain their existing consumers, but also add on new customers and expand their markets.

At Shopclues, we believe in serving new customers by refreshing our offerings and build loyalty by creating avenues for our repeat customers. There has been a constant effort in doing so by offering lucrative referral and loyalty programs through Cluesbucks and Cluesbucks+. Encouraging existing customers to spread the word about your business is a long term investment in an e-commerce platform.

With a diverse regional customer base from rural India, right targeting of products becomes the key. Analyzing data patterns about customer insights and a two-way knowledge transfer with SMEs about preferences, trends becomes crucial. In order to work towards acquiring new customers there are high efforts at merging technology and customer insights to deliver smooth customer experience.

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