The pandemic has had an adverse impact on consumers and resultantly, their behavior is changing constantly. To meet these changing consumer needs, Raymond is introducing changes in its retail strategy. The brand is focusing on a slight shift from formal to casualization along with enabling omnichannel capabilities and increasing digital engagement. Apart from this, the brand is also focusing on strengthening its existing reach to the marketplaces.
Elaborating on it further, Ganesh Kumar, COO – Lifestyle Business, Raymond says, “Raymond piloted the omnichannel strategy during the pandemic and we are slowly scaling it up. We are also working on improving the consumer experience by connecting with consumers directly to understand their needs, and to make their experience memorable.”
Impact of Pandemic on Formal Clothing Category
Before the pandemic, consumers used to flock to Raymond to fulfill their wedding and office wear needs. However, post-pandemic, trends have changed – smaller weddings have taken over the extravagant weddings, and work from home has become a culture.
“The pandemic has shrunk the wedding season, however, Raymond has observed that despite smaller wedding season, spending on lifestyle products has increased. While weddings are getting smaller, the number of occasions has not reduced, so we have seen an increase in spending. We have also seen an upsurge in the fabric gifting category,” he shares.
To counter the work from home culture, Raymond has introduced cotton, linen, and lycra blended products.
“As work from home focuses on upper wear, so we are strengthening our design and product capabilities in this category. During the pandemic, we also launched a virus-safe fabric - treated with the Japanese patented technology. We have seen a huge demand for this fabric in Tier-IV and beyond,” he further adds.
Athleisure is another segment where demand has gone up. That is a segment where Raymond has a limited play and the brand continues to focus on building its core strengths and adapting them to the changing needs.
Digitization: The Way Ahead
Pandemic has highlighted the importance of digitalization and Raymond has left no stone unturned in the past 10 months to further strengthen its position on the digital front.
“We have integrated customer data into a single cloud platform, thereby, creating a master data architecture that can work across businesses. Apart from this, we have also extended the CRM program to both online and offline channels,” he shares.
“Taking another step towards digitalization, Raymond has launched myraymond.com along with doing a digital trade show,” he further adds.
Raymond is planning to marry brick-and-mortar retail with online and to strengthen it further, the brand is using AI to do sharp forecasting and build a database.
Making Brand Relevant For Younger Consumers
Further, to make the brand relevant to the young consumers, Raymond is looking at three things - product offering and designing, digital initiatives, and in-store initiatives.
“Apart from this, we are also looking at how we can deliver ready-made garments and the fabric to the younger customers. Our core competency is customization and personalization. We are looking at how to bring that through digital media to the consumers and thereby take them through the experience of creating what they want in their garments. We are increasing our spending on digital. We are increasing the ratio of traditional and digital media,” he states.
Consolidating Presence in Ceremonial Space
Raymond, the company which has a strong presence in the ethnic space, is planning to consolidate the space further.
“There is huge headroom for growth in this category, and we are looking at the changing market trends and preferences. However, we are open to collaborations but we believe that we have still not tapped the full in-house capabilities,” he explains.