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Fashion Tech Propelling the Indian World of Accessories The always in demand fashion accessories market is seeing greater domination as technology has fused itself with the sector

By Madhurima Roy

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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India has always been admired for its art, culture and creativity. Indian jewellery specifically, has its own admiration throughout the world. Fashion jewellery has now become the need of the hour rather than being a mere addition to our wardrobe. With more and more people settling or even working abroad from India, the demand for ethnic fashion accessories has been increasing significantly across the borders.

Indian accessories brands Rubans Accessories and YouBella sat with Entrepreneur India to discuss the fashion accessories market in the country, the fashion tech spectrum and the surge it is witnessing; and both the founders expressed similar opinions.

"Indian fashion jewellery is adorned and admired by everyone irrespective of their geography and as the country along with the world is getting westernized and globalized, its creativity and craft are also reaching different altitudes. Each piece of jewellery now tells a story and everyone wants that story to be a part of their wardrobe. With Bollywood celebrities like Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone taking our country globally, India is the here and now," Chinu Kala, the Founder of Rubans Accessories, highlights this strong spectrum that fashion accessories market has been able to weave for the country. The addition of the pillar of technology has further solidified the foundation of the market.

But How has Fashion-tech Matured to be a Buzzword in the Country?

Pankaj Agarwal, the co-founder & CEO of YouBella says, "Technology has played a crucial role in Fashion domain and all the leading brands are utilizing the tech edge to redefine and improvise their offerings as per changing consumer behaviour. The engagement starts at a pre-purchase stage to assistance during purchase to post-sale stage as well. Social media is playing a critical role brands and consumers engage on the same platforms and exchange feedbacks."

Elaborating further, he states that the increasing dependence on Online Sales channel, brands are trying to bridge the touch and feel gap via Augmented Reality (AR). AR offers convenience and eliminates the physical try out of products in a store. Fashion Tech has been evolving and brands are adopting the latest technology to develop innovative solutions to increase customer engagement.

Kala, who believes that technologies can make all the difference in the fashion accessories businesses says, "While there is a tectonic shift happening in the way business is being conducted. What was the rule of the game yesterday is become a taboo today. Times are changing, and business is becoming more tech driven. Fashion tech is creating that change in today's fashion business and it is expected to acquire more focus in coming times."

Online vs Physical Stores – Who is Winning?

Today's business ecosystem is quite different from what it used to be a few years back. But what factors have led to the new market state? Agarwal highlights that it is no more about selling a product or a service to a consumer but to create an overall buying experience with more and more engagement with the end customers.

In the Indian context, the market has always been dominated by physical stores. However, in the last few years, there has been a significant shift in consumer buying preferences and a number of customers are inclined towards Online Channel over physical stores.

The dominance of the internet and hashtags has impacted the definite climb. And, as Agarwal highlights, this shift is primarily due to the ease of online purchases – better discounts and availability of a wide assortment of products that may not be available in local physical stores. "Easy returns and COD payments have also contributed to jump in online sales as compared to an offline purchase. With buys lifestyle and limited time, consumers are inclined to buy online from home /office or even on the go rather than going through the hassle of going to the physical store.

Many brands have evolved as per this changing buying behaviour and are trying to create Omni-channel presence to cater to the customer from all segments and to create more and more touch points to engage with consumers," he mentions.

Kala also shares insights and states, "The apps are playing a great role in today's business. The simple explanation could be that 80per cent of the time spent on mobile devices is spent using apps. These apps provide the consumer ease of selection and ease of purchase. As per my understanding the dependency for certain businesses will get tilted hugely on apps but with an increase in the number of apps getting consumers attention will become very difficult."

Looking at Future

The disruption of technology and high demands both in the international and domestic markets have been boon for the Indian accessories brands big and small. The market being ripe, leaping over borders has also eased. Agarwal says, "We already sell our products across the border via Amazon Global and we also have tie up with some foreign businesses who buy Jewellery for reselling.

We definitely have aggressive plans this year to expand our overseas footprints to all major geographies including UK, Australia, Europe, Singapore, etc. We feel that there is ample demand for ethnic jewellery across the borders as the same is not available easily in local stores. Even where ethnic jewellery is available across the borders, the designs are limited and the pricing is too high. So, definitely this is a big market that will contribute a significant portion to our overall portfolio in coming years."

Rubans accessories, on the other hand that touched a turnover of INR 3.75 Crores last year plans to grow 100per cent in the current fiscal year. Kala says that her team in the last 3 quarters has made sure that the company is on track, and would like to increase the growth momentum in the next fiscal through strategic partnerships.

Madhurima Roy

Senior Correspondent, Entrepreneur India

A journalist for more than 4 years, I have been covering businesses & start-ups, technology and business leaders. While writing is my only language, I also indulge in dancing, painting,.. and anything creative!
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