The Newest Success Mantra for Fashion Brands Will Involve E-Commerce
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Well before we get into debating the merits and demerits of e-commerce and its impact on small fashion businesses, let us first examine some facts that can help give us some perspective and drive this conversation.
Fact 1. Online retail market contributes only 2.9per cent to the total retail sales in 2018 according to reports. In fact in America, it is close to 10per cent with Amazon raking in almost 50per cent of it.
Fact 2. However, this is set to change. By 2022, more than half of the Indian population will be shopping online which is close to 500 million and the fastest growing category amongst them is going to be fashion. According to the CEO, Myntra-Jabong, the penetration of online shopping will go up to 10-15per cent over the next 3-5 years.
Fact 3. Comparatively, in China, online retail already makes up more than 16per cent of the overall retail market and is expected to touch 25per cent in 2020, according to a 2017 report by Goldman Sachs.
All these above facts show us how rapidly brands and businesses scale in India with an internet first approach. The driving force to this kind of growth is due to the extensive technology proliferation, access to the internet and the consumer becoming more comfortable indulging in online experiences.
The Ground Reality
Moreover, the ground reality is that consumers still prefer to shop for fashion offline. While this is definitely true, More and more consumers are getting deeply influenced by what they see online and this information is subconsciously impacting their purchase decisions when they shop offline. Even in fashion, there is no dearth of users, especially in the age bracket of 20-40 who check out Pinterest and Instagram for fashion trends almost on a daily basis, which gives them some fashion inspiration as everyone desires to stand out from the rest and get some external validation from their peer group. There is nothing wrong with that, we are social beings after all.
What Actually influences
But the important thing to note here is that after getting influenced by what consumers see online in the digital world, the conversions are happening offline for these brands who engage with them. The key thing here for fashion brands to realise here is that being invisible in the online world is no longer an option. At the least, it gives you the much-deserved visibility and the opportunity to get noticed and discovered by your target audience, as well as gives you the much-needed audience expansion when compared to your offline presence or store which limits your geographic reach to a specific number of audience. No, you don't need to necessarily know SEO or digital marketing to get to the top. Of Course, all that knowledge and expertise comes in handy when you are building a serious e-commerce business or your own website. But what counts is the digital footprint you can have online through various social media channels as well as e-commerce marketplaces where you can showcase your collection and get some eyeballs for your brand.
Breeching the Gap
Clearly, E-commerce is bringing fashion closer to consumers. Online stores also give consumers the convenience of accessing a broad selection of brands and styles across all price-points, all at one place and at the click of a button.
So to keep the fashion-conscious consumer happy in 2019, it becomes prudent for any fashion brand to think about the long term future of their brand and whether they want to build a sustainable business over the long term or get adversely affected due to the rapid technological and sociological change that our society is witnessing today. Fashion today in India is not only restricted to the large metros but has also captured the imagination of consumers in remote cities and towns. Consumers today want choice and they want it now. So the retailers and fashion brands have no choice left but to adapt and evolve. After all, change is the only constant in the universe.