COVID-19 Impact: Fashion Houses Embrace E-commerce

For designers, the pandemic has paved the way for avant-garde online shopping experience and fashion consumption

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By Puneet Kapani • Sep 5, 2020

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The ongoing pandemic is affecting every sphere of people's lives: from places they can go, the way they spend their time, to way they spend money. There are a lot of apprehensions in the minds of customers when it comes to high-end shopping. The trickle-down effect of low spends by consumers has affected everyone, retailers to weavers. As a result, designers are doing limited business through their stores but online retail has emerged as a winner. Even those designers who were earlier not open to the idea of selling their products online are now transiting to the digital space.

This pandemic-hit world has wide-ranging ramifications for marketing, advertising and e-commerce. Nowhere is this more evident than with Indian fashion designers, who till now focused on the luxury market with retail experiences and unparalleled services in their flagship stores.

According to a report released by McKinsey, as countries move through the contagion curve, there are pockets of increasing spending even as consumers universally pull back on discretionary spending. Online buying has spiked cross the world.

As some of the biggest names in the fashion circuit take their businesses online, ace couturier Gaurav Gupta joined them in the new wave of Indian couture shopping with the launch of his e-commerce platform on September 5, 2020. Their couture label now offers a seamless and intimate shopping experience for brides-to-be, other patrons, as well as connoisseurs of couture. For this very special launch, they ran an exclusive online sale for a week with unbelievable discounts for their patrons. "I am super thrilled for the launch of our new e-commerce website. We are thriving to revolutionize the online luxury retail experience. This is a state-of the-art website that is set to pin the country's design aesthetic on the world map. It is a bold move for the brand to place its entire product range across all categories online, but I feel that the brand is taking a progressive step globally in keeping with the digital age," says Gaurav Gupta.

If there was one thing that kept few designers busy, it was establishing their own online platform with their team, where everyone worked from home by completely revolutionizing the online couture experience for customers.

Like Gupta, J.J. Valaya also re-launched his website and in fact, in the mid-90s, they were perhaps one of the first Indian fashion houses to launch a website. "Over time, our focus shifted to brick-and-mortar stores and the expansion of the brand, and our virtual world took a back seat. Now, after nearly a decade, the website comes back in an all-new avatar. I strongly believe that a brand without an online presence is losing out on a simple opportunity to (literally and virtually) open a store in every city of the world. We are making our online experience as close as possible to the real-time experience and in fact, adding some exciting online exclusives," said Valaya.

The founder of Raw Mango, Sanjay Garg shares his his experince with the online space during this pandemic time. "As the world faces unprecedented times, given the accelerated shift to digital space in the way we engage with brands and each other, I believe it is important to embrace innovative methods to reach our audiences. The launch of our e-commerce store, has been on our list for a long time and became more of a priority the last few months. We're glad it's out so we can reach new audiences and also our current clients," tells Garg.

As the industry evolves, there's hope for a more responsive and advanced future for Indian fashion that stands at par with its international counterparts.

Puneet Kapani

Entrepreneur Staff

Features Editor

Puneet Kapani, features editor for Entrepreneur India, is self-driven and passionate about happenings and nuances of the world. She writes on lifestyle, gadgets, beauty, wellness, entertainment and technology updates around the globe. She has previously worked with L’Officiel India magazine, FHM Magazine and Times Internet. 

Catch a glimpse of her work at @PuneetKapani on LinkedIn and @puneetkapani on Instagram.

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