From Online to Offline what were the factors that lead to this pragmatic move?
Different customers not only have different shopping needs, but also different channel preferences. We being the largest online intimate wear destination in India, wanted to stay true to our proposition by enabling consumers to experience the brand through whichever channel they are most comfortable on. There are also a lot of consumers who straddle between different platforms at different points of time. This was one of the key factors to go offline. Offline opens a large consumer base for the brand considering 75% of organized retail, though quickly moving online, is still offline. Our constant endeavour is to curate every part of the Zivame experience around the customer. We leverage technology-led solutions so that consumers have access to the same inventory, payment modes, price and delivery options across all platforms. Through our offline presence, we provide a highly personalized experience to our consumers which includes a professional fitting session with our fit experts enabling consumers to find their right fit, size and style apart from trying and buying the product in stores. We have an endless aisle at the store where the kiosks within our stores allow consumers to access our entire digital range in the offline space. As a result, 15% of our store sales are digitally fulfilled. A key focus area for us has been to increase our omni-channel presence, while providing a seamless experience across each channel.
What is your omnichannel strategy? What kind of scope you foresee for your omnichannel business?
Our omni-channel strategy emanates from what we call our consumer Value Proposition Canvas where we try to define the primary jobs to be done, pains and gains of an intimatewear buyer. We continue to be online-led and in all our touchpoints we are trying to get the consumer to the right product for their body-type, outerwear, occasion and life-stage, as easily as possible. We take pride in our Omni channel approach which gives a seamless and standardized experience to our consumers across platforms with uniform prices, styles, service benefits, consumer understanding and size availability. All our product prices are centrally controlled and the same across all our touch points. We provide an endless aisle in our stores which helps consumers access our entire range while standing in one of our stores. Zivame is the largest intimatewear brand on all major e-commerce horizontals. We are looking to double our retail presence from the current 35 outlets, in 2019-20, growing our MBO reach by 2-3X and exploring newer channels like MLM and social commerce. We also aim to strengthen our EBO presence in major malls and high streets with a special focus on tier-I cities. Crucial drivers in our multi-channel expansion are our AI/ML enabled supply chain and a centralized consumer intelligence framework.
How much of your business is coming from your physical stores?
Online continues to drive the largest share of our business. 80% of our business comes from online channels and 20% from physical stores. Tier 1 cities contribute to a large share of our revenue.
What were some of the initial challenges while opening your offline store, how you mitigated those challenges?
One of the first questions that we had to solve in the offline space emanated from the very reason for us being omni-channel, this was the question of consumer experience. We understood that the intimatewear buying experience in the offline space was rudimentary and there was a huge gap to be filled for the consumer. We invested heavily in articulating the elements of the consumer experience that we wanted to nail (fit consultation, size/product availability, shopping assistance, user education etc.), identifying the right staff, the right store format, appropriate training modules and the right training team to address this consumer pain point. Our training team developed a proprietary training framework called Ziva University, where store staff goes through continuous training and evaluation of various levels of consumer experience expertise through specially designed Ziva modules
The second big piece to solve was setting-up the right inventory allocation and replenishment framework for the stores. The complexity of this problem is magnified in the case of intimatewear because of intricate products and width of sizes. We heavily leveraged our online data to define the right mix for any location and came up with data-science led models to drive our omni-channel inventory allocation.
Apart from this we had to solve the usual offline issues of finding the right store locations, setting up the right supply chain, standardizing the brand language across stores etc. We were at a huge advantage because of our online data and tech-led DNA in overcoming these challenges.
Going forward how many new stores you will open this fiscal?
The company is at 42 stores now. Zivame is looking to double that number by 2020.
How your online and offline business models complement each other?
Digital first brands like Zivame are the first ones to have started on a truly omni-channel journey and are best placed to leverage huge amount of synergies that an omni-channel business offers. The biggest advantage that brands can draw is by having a centralised consumer analytics framework which gathers signals from all channels and powers the consumer experience for all touch points. e.g. at Zivame if a consumer walks into a store and goes through a fit consultation, we can be very sure that we have reached their correct size and body profile, this can then help us personalize other touchpoints for the same user.
The same consumer if goes through our proprietary ‘Fitcode’ product online (apart from giving us other browsing signals), we know with a high degree of confidence their profile and fit preferences, which can then be leveraged once they walk into a store. Other big advantage to be drawn is in terms of inventory efficiency. Different styles have different visibility elasticity on different channels, a data science driven inventory allocation and replenishment model helps Zivame keep a SKU at the place where it has the best consumer match. Apart from these there are numerous other avenues where offline and online platforms complement each other, like deciding offline store locations, unlock geographies with a preference for one platform, capturing trend & demand signals, estimating latent demand, price elasticity of a style etc.
For a consumer it is now a seamless and standardized Zivame at all touch points and they can give us a chance to serve them on the platform of their choice