How India's O2O story is shaping up?

The article sheds light on the O2O journey of big retailers such as FabAlley, Lenskart amongst others

Gone are those days when online and offline were considered two separate identities as far as customers’ experience and interactions are concerned.  Over the years we have seen different models of cross platform support have emerged such as ‘click and collect’ and vice versa.  These days almost every consumer brand wants to establish a seam ‘Phygital’ experience for its patrons.

O2O had been one of the main buzzwords talked about during Indian Retail and Eretail Conference (IReC) 2019, the well-established knowledge conference recently concluded in the capital city New Delhi. Following is the excerpt of the session what happens when a digital native vertical brand's journey turns physical?

Offline has not Lost its Sheen

Although, online is an emerging channel but the importance of offline is no less. Sharing the journey, ShivaniPoddar, co-founder ofFabAlley&Indya shares,” Though, the brand FabAlley started via the digital channel,  in present scenario offline contributes 50 percent of the revenue. “

Started in the year 2012, High Street Essentials Pvt. Ltd. (HSE) owned FabAlley and Indyais the brainchild of ShivaniPoddar and Tanvi Malik, which has emerged as one of India’s leading omnichannel fashion houses.

Poddarasserts that online channel helps in establishing the brand identity. However, fashion being an ‘experience’ oriented business ‘touch and feel’ is the crucial part of the buying cycle. Being devoid of physical experience for the consumer is what prompted Poddar to started offline expansion of the brand. The company plans to expand in similar manner going forward.

Echoing with Shivani, AmitChaudhary, co-founder ofLenskart said, “The online channels helped the brand in establishing ‘identity’ and ‘trust’, therefore, our advertising budget was almost zero when we expanded the brand in physical space. People already knew about brand. However, physical presence offered ‘touch’ and ‘feel’, which ultimately helped our online channel.”  

Speaking further,Chaudharyadded that 60 percent of Lenskart consumers, who choose to buy from offline channels, interact with the online channel first, before making the purchase. Therefore, the companies spend 90 percent of its budget on online marketing. Chaudhary also said that the company registers 60 percent sale through the offline channel.

Tapping the Untapped

Online customer acquisition is a continuous process. As the digital channel is evolving, the alternatives are also popping up and offering a lot of opportunities. Speaking on same, Amit Sharma, CEO &co-founder ofShopX quips,”I feel there is huge digital vacuum especially in country like India; this might not be true to evolved markets such US and Europe. Let’s take an example of how a lot of people have substituted TV with Youtube. Hence, we have seen the occurrence of digital alternatives offering incremental opportunity to new brand/ entrepreneur. This digital realm is new and not much explored by anybody. “

Speaking on same, Aman Gupta, co-founder, boAt says,”All the big marketplaces, be it Amazon or Flipkart, are adding new customers every day.This means, there is a chunk of consumers which still needs to come online.”

Sharing the journey Gupta informed us that when he started the acceptance towards his brand was very low among the brick and mortar retailers, for them boAt was yet another brand in the market. Hence, online channel helps in terms of distribution also establishing the identity. Therefore, today almost every big retailer wants to work with them.

Omnichannel is Ultimate Goal

Echoing with Gupta, PreetaSukhtankar, founder of The Label Lifeapprises that  “Omnichannel is the key to success; however, online channels play a quintessential role in establishing the identity of the brand which ultimately helped our offline channel.” She also agrees that data received from offline channel much more precious.

Also speaking at a panel,RaghavVerma, co-founder ofChaayos shares, “Our repeat consumer rate is four times in the month, since the company has started online delivery of chai(tea).

Chaayos is a company, which started its journey from offline channel and gradually moved online. He also informed that his in-house study showed that people were not getting quality tea once they stepped outside their homes. Online channels have helped them in serving larger consumer base.

At the end of the session, Ritu Marya, Editor-in-Chief, Entrepreneur Media India & APAC, concluded the session. In the closing remarks,Marya agrees that Omnichannel offers better insights to retailers so they can solve perennial problems. On other hand, Omnichannelallows customers to communicate with brands more effectively.




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