The online apparel market is growing by leaps and bounds and has become the major focus of all ecommerce players as it is a key growth driver. With a shift of towards profitability, fashion has become the de facto category to focus on drawing in online players of every shape and size. With nearly 50 per cent of all eCommerce transactions in India happening in the Fashion category, this category should be one of the most interesting sectors to watch.
This festive season is going to be the biggest ever for Indian ecommerce. Brands are going on an all-out marketing blitzkrieg and eCommerce companies are leaving no stone unturned to maximise sales. The Indian consumer is in for a good time really soon.
A recent boost for eCommerce has been the Jio Launch. Jio is going to increase the Internet penetration in India and bring ecommerce to a 100 million more people. This will mean an incredibly large set of people who are going tohooked on to online buying in the short to medium term. In parallel, with Alibaba and Rakuten planning to make an entry to India and the improvement ofbasic Internet infrastructure in the country, more and more people are going to buy fashion online.
I see the positive thrust on volumes being staggered over the next one year – while the upcoming festive season is going to be huge for apparel over the short-term, the overall base shoppers and interest in fashion is going to increase due to all the other factors.
In the midst of all this, Fast Fashion seems to be the buzzword in online fashion retailing today and almost every online companies worth its salt in India is talking about fast fashion.
So, what does Fast Fashion actually mean for the customer and how ‘Fast’ is Fast Fashion really, on the ground?
In India most fashion brands including online brands come out with 2-3 collections a year. Moreover these collections are more often than not, finalised and ordered, 18 months in advance of when they are actually available for sale.
In this context, it is pretty illogical to aspire to deliver on the promise of fast fashion.
Fast Fashion by definition needs to be, current. For this to happen, brands need to have a mechanism of understanding, tracking and predicting trends, which are not limited to garment aesthetics alone. However, most brands in India restrict themselves currently to drawing inspiration from international markets without actually tracking customer trends in India.
A second driver to make Fast Fashion actually happen is when brands to relook at the supply chain in a holistic manner. When it started Fast Fashion, the fashion giant, Zara, made fundamental changes across the organisation - at the store level, in collecting customer information, in its supply chain and in centralising its manufacturing. In India, brands are talking about Fast Fashion without actually changing anything on the ground.
If brands really need to deliver on the promise of Fast Fashion, they need to first create the organisational culture to understand fast fashion and then equip their staff to deliver on the promise of fast fashion. This means grasping trends quickly, building a nimble supply chain to ensure a very short time to market, launching relevant products and timing them perfectly, among other things.
Fashion eCommerce in India still has a long journey ahead. While the market is already huge, the potential is even more exciting and industry pundits including the media would do well to watch this space very carefully.
Aurthored By: Aditya Agarwal, Co-Founder, Campus Sutra