With e-retailing gaining prominence in the country, a lot of players are entering the segment, Mr. Shailen Amin, Co-Founder & CEO, Bestylish.com, highlights the definite need to provide efficient services to the customers.
Aadeetya Sriram (AS): Bestylish, your brain-child, how did the idea take form?
Shailen Amin (SA): Bestylish is a brainchild of the Smile Group and combination of partners coming together; it’s basically a four-party idea. Smile Group has already developed into the deal-based and flash sale-based; we’re talked about moving into the Fair-Price retail convenience model, variety model, within which the idea of Bestylish has made its foray. We are a completely customer focused from both product availability to the delivery to the experience focusing e-retailer. Bestylish is a footwear centric e-portal, we have couple of guys with us who have an impressive amount of expertise in the footwear segment and hence we hope to function well over the years. Our name suggests a style house and we plan to cater to every foot in the country.
AS: You’ve got a lot of brands associated with Bestylish; tell us about the line of agreement?
SA: Our association with brands is a direct relationship; every brand has a way of interacting with the retailer, because of our pre-knowledge of brands, we have inroads into a lot of brands, existing in India as well as globally. We are basically working directly to build confidence with brands themselves, so that we maintain their brand presence, pricing strategy everything. We adhere to the standards and customisation of these brands on our portal, without differentiating from their actual existence, and making it available to consumer in the same way as it should be done. We will be involved in co-branding advertising with them on our website.
AS: What according to you is the scenario of e-commerce industry in India?
SA: E-commerce industry in India is still budding, arriving. I think a lot of consumers are e-friendly, having already done transactions online, whether it’s buying ticket for rail, airline or even done their shopping online, people are definitely getting more comfortable with it. Given the fact that any large nation which is developing, people prefer services provided to them in a very convenient manner, since shopping consumes a lot of time as well as patience, especially when shopping for fashion, it requires time, touch and feel, that is something that will develop online with people becoming aware of the benefits of shopping online. In India, it’s an easy platform, to introduce brands with low-capital intensive, for a brand coming into India.
AS: With e-shopping gaining its share quickly in the market, how exactly do these services differ from the conventional brick and mortar shops which encourage touch and feel of the brands for the consumer?
SA: There is general consensus that the brick and mortar stores are the only way to deal in retailing, which as time bides is becoming more of an inconvenience, which a customer does not prefer facing. What the e-shopping model provides is a lot of variety under one house, which is hard to find even with a brick and mortar store. At Bestylish, we have over 2000 styles of footwear available for women, men and kids. This is one of the pluses of retailing online, where we can accommodate lots of styles, brands and size availability. Secondly, the model is cost-effective in the sense that, other than paying for what you buy, you don’t need to play any other charges related to shipping etc. You just need to spend couple of minutes on our website, and within no-time your order gets delivered to as promised.
AS: Do you have any offerings incase of any discarded product delivered to the customer?
SA: Bestylish offers the opportunity to try the same shoe in two different sizes, get them delivered and the other obsolete pair will be taken back, without any extra charges. Its bringing convenience to you house. As long as the shoe and packaging is unused, or not in a dire condition, its free returns, with a money-back guarantee, which could also be converted into a voucher, using which one can undertake their shopping on our website to fulfill their requirement.
AS: What is the mode of communication of Bestylish with their customer?
SA: We have our very own Customer Care service to stay in touch with the customers. Each customer has an account, through which he can communicate with us through email, email@example.com, is a great way to communicate with us, also developing feedback mechanisms on our website. We’re open 7 days a week; we have recruited our customer care guys who have expertise in the field of sales marketing and convenience shopping.
AS: What is the current trend in the footwear market in India?
SA: The trend that has been visible to us during our market research is that, people have a taste for stylish, unique and comfortable shoes. People shop differently around the world, Indian consumers shop differently, but ultimately they express themselves through their shoes. People in India, still prefer having a single pair of shoes which they wear for office-use everyday. Shoes are no longer an accessory for men & women; instead it’s more of style statement on the feet which expresses their taste in fashion. Women have always preferred having multiple pair of shoes, and the frequency with which their style alters is quite remarkable, compared to the men, but that is gradually taking place and soon you’ll see the men’s footwear market evolving rapidly. This being summer season, we are prominently displaying bright colored footwear on our portal.
AS: What are the challenges for a retailer as a buyer & seller?
SA: As a buyer, it is difficult to find the variety we are looking to partner with brands, that don’t exist in the country, and there are a lot of brands who do not even sell in India. So working with manufacturers like this to introduce such ranges is a challenge that takes time, it happens gradually, he needs to develop a strong relation and communication with the brand. Sourcing is another challenge for the brands as most of the materials are made available to them through export, then you have the challenges of supply-chain that a buyer faces. From a selling point of view I’d say that the customer service & experience is the biggest challenge for a brand.
AS: Over the years the internet penetration in the country has increased, do you feel the convenience part as well as the e-retailing part go hand-in-hand for the rise in e-shopping?
SA: Comparatively the growth has been visible as far as the internet penetration is concerned. Talking about the co-relation of convenience and e-retailing, it is definitely one of the factors for the rise in shopping, but not the sole reason. Other than the Bestylish website, we will be also launching our kiosk businesses, and the idea of having kiosk is to be able to merge the offline-online servicing. These kiosks are being brought across to various cities in India; we’re focusing on Tier II & III cities initially, the idea of kiosk in these regions is to encourage the awareness of our services to the ones who do not have the facility of internet. These kiosks will be present at existing footwear outlets across the country, which have the catchment that is worth targeting.
AS: Your projected expectations for Bestylish by next year?
SA: We expect to mirror the growth of sister company, i.e. growth of 20-25% year-on-year. In terms of units, we hope to have sold around 2000 pair of shoes on a daily basis.