Growth Strategies

How the Apparel Industry is Moving From Bespoke to E-spoke

The need for differentiation has been a major reason behind the success of many online custom-made outfit providers
How the Apparel Industry is Moving From Bespoke to E-spoke
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Founder, Corporate Collars
6 min read
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Today, if anyone asks you the question as to how far is your nearest mall, where you shop for your clothes, the answer should be "not far from my where my mobile is".

An e-commerce app, in the present day, is as good as a whole shopping mall fitted in your pocket.  Thanks to the access to faster and cheaper internet coupled with larger and crisper mobile screens, e-commerce platforms are supporting be-spoke and tailor-made shopping effortlessly, making shopping fun.

The Evolution

The evolution of the Indian apparel industry is nothing short of a roller-coaster ride. From the humble beginnings with the average customer buying cloth from a local textile shop, generally, occasion or season driven, and getting it stitched from the neighbourhood tailor, the industry along with the customer has come a long way. A couple of decades ago, the trend shifted to readymade garments and with the emergence of numerous brands. The popular brands stood for reliability, the longevity of garments and even to extent of individual identity. As we approach the year 2020, ‘readymade garments’ is still occupying a significant chunk of customers’ wallet share, but what has emerged stronger is bespoke services that have left these biggies short of words.

The Reason Behind That Evolution

India’s per capita income, though lower than developed countries, has been one of the fastest growing among its counterparts. With the growth in income levels, there is an increase in purchasing power and a jump in aspiration levels. Buying a car, a foreign vacation and wearing branded outfits is no longer out of reach for the Indian middle class. There is an increased need to stand out among the crowd. This need for differentiation has been a major reason behind the success of many online custom-made outfit providers.

Bespoke Market: Then and Now

Even a few years ago, ordering a custom-made outfit was unheard of among Indian consumers, as there was a need to visit the tailor in order to derive utmost satisfaction as they dressed for an important occasion. With the emergence, of the internet, especially mobile-driven shopping, customer habits are undergoing rapid changes. Today, it does not take long for Indian customers to cling on to a new trend, providing an offering meets key value proposition requirements. If a platform promises easy convenience coupled with a superior offering, consumers are willing to pay a premium for it. Online tailor-made garment providers are no exception to this.  

While it is difficult enough to create a successful brand in today’s marketplace, where each industry and customer segment is flooded with me-too brands, it is even tougher to sustain growth and reaching out to newer customer segments. The physical marketplace is restrained by distance and it is possible only to reach out to a limited number of customers, no matter how superior the product offering is. With a presence in the digital marketplace, a brand theoretically can scale up its presence throughout the country and more. However, visibility is everything for a brand to make it big online. To build an initial customer base, a brand needs to create awareness by bringing out its value proposition in simple terms.

Complements the Corporate Lifestyle

It is not uncommon for many of today’s corporate hi-flyers to average an 80-hour work week. For many, there is no such thing as a work-life balance and time constraint is a common denominator for most of these work professionals. In larger cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, New Delhi or Chennai, commuting to work for over 1 hour each way is also not unheard of. This commute time is effectively used for shopping online, making travel plans or knowledge enhancement by these professionals. Visiting a shopping mall takes time and energy and can at times, eat up the entire weekend. Commute time shopping, while is a great way to save time, is also proven stress-relieving activity.

What You See is What You Get

Those smart and dapper shirts or suits you set your mind on is made a reality, thanks to these bespoke garment providers, which offer the best fit to the client by taking into consideration the minutest of details, with comfort always being the foundation. One gets to key in tiniest of details in the customised outfit right from the fabric, buttons, the cuff shape, the lapel shape, the stitching pattern etc. and all this at their comfort - on the digital space.  

The huge bandwidth that the e-spoke way supports, people are flooded with choices on every aspect of apparel making- be it fabric, buttons, the cufflinks, the pockets etc. While looking for the choicest of apparels, if people are sure about the right measurements, they are only a few clicks far in getting that perfectly fitting customised garments. That is also taken care by providing video tutorials on how to go about taking the right measures.

While there have been instances of people hesitating to shop online, customizing outfits had greater challenges- assessing the quality of the fabric on mobile/ laptop screens. With, the high-resolution images that the e-commerce platforms support, one gets the great idea of how the fabric is and its feel would be. The ease at which these apparel providers have extended this eye-for detail phantasm to the online platform is phenomenal.

Competitive Prices

One of the biggest challenges that the apparel industry faces is that satisfying the want for personalised apparels but at prices that are on par with ready to wear garments.  While personalised clothing is not a new concept, the use of technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning to be in the forefront when it comes to trends has made a distinct mark. These have in turn translated the access of the best bespoke services, the e-spoke way, at competitive customer happy prices.

The average customer today is smart enough to carefully browse through options available, compare them effectively across various platforms, making note of the reviews provided by current users and last but not the least checking out if cashback is available before making the purchase decision.

Novel Advancements

The customized tailoring segment today in addition to changing the way you look, are also looking for newer ways to change the way you shop. With people bidding adieu to concepts like “One Size Fits All”, there are innovative advancements in the bespoke segment that makes it even more appealing and sought after. In addition to e-commerce platforms, there are other innovative ways that the bespoke apparel market is making its presence felt in. “Tailoring on Wheels” is a complete package to your styling needs. As the name suggests, the contemporary corporate buyer can leverage the convenience of customizing apparel by choosing from an array of world-class fabrics that is tailored into a stunning piece with fixtures of your choice and delivered at the doorstep.

So, in short, the convenience of getting your tailoring services right at your doorstep is a big driver for bespoke apparels. The segment which is synonymous to customization is becoming vogue with people choosing clear, crisp and customised apparels over the readymade garments.

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