The longest festive season in India, which begins from mid-September and stretches till mid-November, is currently underway. The brands are seeing a steep rise in positive sentiments in product adoption as the latent need to get together and celebrate what was significantly subdued due to the pandemic. Nearly 65 percent of households across the country plan to spend during the current festive season, according to a new survey by LocalCircles.
With pent-up demand and the opening up of travel and leisure, the phenomenon of revenge spending is expected to drive up demand this season. Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) brands are aggressively pursuing their own strategies to woo customers. In a bid to build up their pandemic-induced growth, D2C brands like IGP, Zouk, Solethreads, and The Tribe Concepts are ramping up their offerings, building their inventory as well as increasing tech capabilities and marketing functions.
Ramping Up Product Offerings
Keeping in mind that stylish casual wear is in vogue during these times, Solethreads is coming up with footwear designs that will amp up the style quotient of Millennials and GenZ. For this festive season, the brand is currently focusing on open footwear including flip-flops, slippers, and slides, and is aggressively working on launching other categories in the casual footwear segment soon. Its average current price point range is between Rs 700-800.
“Our experience and engagement strategies consist of one core philosophy of being 'design-led' as product design is the precursor to any kind of interaction that a customer will have with a product on any channel, whether it is just browsing a product, buying it, or even recommending it. We provide sustainable and recycled footwear and to promote upcycling and circular fashion, we have launched the 'reuse program' where consumers can replace their old flip flops for new ones,” Sumant Kakaria, CEO and Founder, Solethreads said.
Meanwhile, Zouk claims that during the festive season, consumers pick more India-inspired products. The brand’s most popular choices remain its Indian office bags and tote bags. Zouk will also see good movement in its slings and handbags, given people buy products as gifts or for casual outings. As travel has picked up, the brand is also seeing a good uptick in its backpacks also.
This festive season, Zouk has added office bellies along with a new collection of casual flats and sandals. Furthermore, with a request from its consumers to add a gift box option, the brand has added the same across all its products.
“Office bags, tote bags, and sling bags would be the personal favorite for the season. The average price range for the category would be between Rs 1,000-2,000. In footwear, we believe bellies, chappals, and casual flats are our bestsellers and the average price range would be between Rs 800-2,500,” Disha Singh, Founder and CEO, Zouk stated.
IGP, too, expands its offerings every festive season in gifting, fashion accessories, floral bouquets, sweets, cakes, etc. This festive season, it has also launched a new collection of gift products, all revamped to cater to the latest vogue.
“Our gifting products will come in customized packaging to add to the festivities. Gourmet sweets, festive fashion apparel, festive essentials, and accessories are always the most searched categories on our portal, and customers tend to spend lavishly on products under these categories, making them the bestsellers every festive season,” Tarun Joshi, Founder and CEO, IGP asserted.
Similarly, The Tribe Concepts already has festive gifting which contributes to a major portion of its festive sales. The brand has a lineup of much-requested minis and a new skincare line targeted at pigmentation. Apart from this, it has products that address issues head to toe - so it’s very flexible and easy for its buyers to make customizations of their own.
“Skincare continues to be our best seller category - come winter it is going to increase more as we are having new launches planned for skin care and hair care as a category has seen stable growth. Bring a gateway brand our average price point range from Rs 800-1,200,” Amritha Varshini Gaddam, Founder and CEO, The Tribe Concepts added.
Revamping Supply Chain Network
Solethreads is opening up new warehouses and regional fulfillment centers in Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Kolkata to cater to the high demand.
Similarly, Zouk has massively scaled its supply chain to build up inventory for the festive season. It has also set up a strong collaboration with Amazon and Myntra, to expand its reach beyond its own website. Both of these will ensure it can get its products in the hands of more Indian consumers.
“One of the key concerns from our customers has been that our products get sold out very fast. To counter it, we have enhanced our inventory so that we can ensure more consumers across India get to carry a Zouk bag or wear a Zouk footwear,” Singh explained.
IGP has a global footprint with customers spanning 100+ countries and the capability to deliver gifts to over 150+ countries and 1,000+ cities in India. It is currently expanding its delivery network through dark stores and is looking to automate wherever possible.
“We are in the process of expanding our dark stores' network to more than 120 new dark stores pan India that will further bolster our already impressive fulfillment infrastructure of existing 40 dark stores that 3 mother warehouses support,” Joshi said.
Integration of Technology
IGP has automated online procedures, warehouse, and operations management software, etc., to cater the best services to our customers this festive season, while The Tribe Concepts has strengthened all its Analytics divisions by dashboarding all the reports and implementing SAP for smoother on-ground operations.
Solethreads has proprietary formulations and technologies like Superfoam footbeds and Ecotread soles and it is working on a newer formulation to provide the next level of comfort. All its product launches are use case based and it has launched concepts like grass slippers, all-terrain anti-skid, yoga mat slippers, etc. this year which have already become its bestsellers.
“With more than 30 design and technology patents under our umbrella already, our constant endeavor is to keep innovating for our consumers,” Kakaria said.
Zouk believes in the power of live commerce and hence has planned a bunch of live sessions on its Instagram handle and has done a couple with Flipkart too. “These have already seen great engagement and that is a big way for us as an online brand to break the barrier and answer questions that online consumers always have,” Singh claimed.
During the festive season, The Tribe Concepts is looking forward to gaining more sales from its website. It plans to close the festive year on a high by clocking in at least Rs 5 crore worth of business on books.
Zouk claims that it has already started very strong on marketplaces like Amazon and Myntra, while its own website continues to be big and that wave will now continue from here till next March.
“In the past 2 years, a lot has changed, even Zouk as a brand. This has helped the brand grow over 16X from pre-pandemic. We now have over 2.5 lakh happy customers across every state in India. We expect this pace to continue and we will do more sales this year compared to last year,” Singh stated.
IGP believes that its superior design-to-delivery consumer experience, farm-to-table supply chain, and extensive same-day delivery network can cater to the rising demand for festive gifting from Tier-II and III cities.
“The pandemic did impact the overall sales last year. However, we are expecting an increment of approximately 100 percent in sales this festive season,” Joshi noted.
At present, IGP provides same-day delivery to almost 400+ cities in India and 24 to 72-hour delivery in over 1,000 cities. In addition to the mentioned figures, the brand plans to mark its presence exponentially in Tier-II and III cities nationwide. In the next two years, IGP aims to be the largest and most preferred destination for all special purchases.
“We also look forward to increasing our brand footprint in the commercially sound international markets of North America, the UK, and Australia,” Joshi said.
Zouk is present in 30+ multi-brand outlets on the offline side. The brand looks to expand this offline retail presence further in the coming quarters.
Solethreads is also going full throttle to increase its retail footprint in the Indian market. It eyes to establish its presence in 2000 MBOs until the end of this financial year.
“This is roughly 5X than our current retail footprint. Apart from these 2000 retail MBOs, we are also foraying into large format retail stores this fiscal year,” Kakaria informed.
The Tribe Concepts is also looking forward to expanding its online channels and offline stores by having exclusive stores for the brand. “We are looking more forward to expanding the business, targeting new audiences, and witnessing an increase in the conversions,” Gaddam concluded.