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Here's How the Indian Fashion Retail is Following the Right Trends The unprecedented growth of the industry is accredited to fashion designers, skilled manufacturers, dedicated exporters, but above all, the demand from consumers' side

By Puneet Jain

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Fashion in online apparel keeps on changing now and then, but a customer who is well-exposed to the internet and social media always wants to don most discussed styles and fabrics in vogue. Though the unprecedented growth of the industry is accredited to fashion designers, skilled manufacturers, dedicated exporters, suppliers, stockists, and retailers, but above all, it's the demand from consumers' side that fuels the growth of the industry. Their increased spending power and increasing awareness about global fashion trends keep the industry evolving and innovating.

Challenges of Fashion Retail

It's a fact that globalisation plays an integral role in supporting world trade and connectivity. But, as half of the world's population is interconnected, the fashion and apparel trends go viral across the country like wildfire, spurring enormous demands of trending apparel. These trends and consumer preferences change so quickly that catering to them is a big challenge for the industry players. Apart from that, both physical and online retailers are struggling to find an agile approach to tracking ---whats recent in industry and what initiatives should be taken to embrace recent developments. Moreover, as most of the machines are imported at an expensive cost, selling quality products at a competitive price further increases the worries of fashion retailers.

Technology – the Right Fit

It's very crucial for retailers to make buyers purchase what they want and what fits them. In an offline store, it's easier because of the availability of the salesman that helps customers in choosing a dress of right fit and fabric. A customer can try clothes in the changing room and may find that a particular attire suits him/her or not. On the other hand, with the onset of 3D body scanning technology, e-retailers have successfully dealt with sizing and fitting issue to an extent. This technology allows customers to measure their body size using webcams or mobile app and accordingly find a right fit on the site. Many fashion portals have also started using virtual fitting rooms for the same purpose. By this way, labour, time, and resources are saved for the retailers as well as for the customers.

Phygital – the Retail Panacea

It's a blunt fact that e-commerce is the fast-paced retail segment is slowing down the growth of shopping malls to some extent. But, this is also true that almost 90 per cent of the purchases are still made in physical stores and shopping malls. The comfort and convenience the customers find in getting everything—apparel, footwear, grocery, electronics, and food & beverages, etc.under one air-conditioned roof, is par excellence. That's why Phy-gital, the convergence of physical and digital shopping experience is the buzzword in fashion retail. Based on the perfect amalgamation of real-time intelligence and location-based marketing, Phy-gital is emerging as a win-win concept to both retailers and customers.

In 2017, Myntra opened its first store in Bangalore equipped with multiple touchscreen displays and the video wall for providing the catalogue and other product details. With "Scan & Go" option, customers can add their favourite products to their shopping carts on Myntra app, freeing them away from checkout counters, billing queue, and shopping bags.

Way Forward

As expected by IBEF, Indian retail industry is likely to reach US$2.5 billion by the end of the year 2021. For ensuring this swift growth, shopping malls and e-retailers are joining the hands, and shoppers are the first beneficiary of this deal. Where shopping malls have to keep up with the increasing demand in physical space and world-class infrastructure, online retailers must focus on diversifying their offerings and putting technological innovation at work for shopper-engagement.

Puneet Jain

Director - Odhni

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