Indian retail industry has matured over the years and is booming. Today, it accounts for over 10% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), around 8% of employment and is expected to grow by 60% to reach US$ 1.1 trillion by 2020. India is the fifth-largest global destination in the retail space and has replaced China as the most promising market for expansion. There are many factors that have contributed to the changing dynamics of fashion industry. While technology is undoubtedly one of the drivers responsible for the growth of retailing, changing consumer mindset and the increase in purchasing power have played their own role. Consumers, today, are more educated and well informed. They are willing to try and buy products which are new. The expansion of middle class has led to higher purchases of luxury products and brand consciousness. As a result, a new wave of 50 international players are expected to enter India in the next 6 months.
Keeping up in the game, fashion professionals are getting ready for the future by shifting their focus beyond conventional retail. They are now evolving along with the modern consumers. The e-commerce fashion industry is burgeoning while getting their share of a very satisfying retail pie. India is expected to become the world’s fastest growing e-commerce market – all thanks to the robust investment and rapid increase in the number of internet users. While the retail players are competing in this changing fashionscape to meet consumer needs, it’s equally vital for them to infuse something new and fresh in their business plans. There is an ever-increasing pressure to come up with innovative and efficient ways of operating. For which, one should step out of the ‘fashion’ bubble and get inspired by other sectors.
Take a look at what the fashion industry can learn from sectors like travel, technology, marketing etc. who are battling their own challenges and coming up with unique solutions.
Travel: It’s All About Experiences
Today’s ‘wanderlust generation’ is redefining the travel landscape making it an emerging trend. It’s no longer a vacation at a seven star hotel, it is way beyond that – it is about hiking mountains, waking up to the beautiful view and anything and everything worth remembering. That’s exactly what the travel industry focuses on – enabling customers to create stories that give a realism to their dream of travelling. Taking a cue from this, it’s time for the fashion industry to move their dollars from product to experience. To compel consumers to stay excited about shopping, brands need to focus on creating one-of-a-kind experience that tie into purchases and deliver a feeling of authenticity. Just like we have beautiful memories etched in our hearts from the magical trip to Disneyland, retail brands should lure their consumers by not only coming alive digitally, but also in their stores across the world. By participating in a particular experience, a consumer feels closer to the brand. For e.g. Nike SoHo presented a multi-sport experience across a 55k-square-foot retail space in New York – where the customers could come in, try on basketball shoes and shoot hoops with in-store athletes at the Nike+ Basketball Trial Zone. This helped the brand to connect with consumers personally through products, experiences and services.
Hospitality: Consumer Always Comes First
Ever wondered why the hospitality industry contains some of the most vibrant, lively and fun people? With the philosophy of ‘branding through customer service’, hospitality industry paints an image of value and utility in the mind of customers. No matter how innovative or exclusive your product is, the staff, their knowledge, the mood of the place, the aura, etc. adds up to the choices consumers make while purchasing a product. In the hospitality industry, customer service is the number one priority. That’s exactly what the fashion industry should learn and communicate through their products and services. Last year, as per the Forrester survey, Koovs was announced as the best customer experience platform, followed by Amazon, Jabong and Paytm. Focusing on the emotion not only builds positive experiences but also strengthens the loyalty of the brand’s customers.
Technology: Think Outside The Box
We all are probably aware of how emerging technologies are changing the way we work and interact with people. New technologies appear and disappear in short span of time. They are moving really fast and are constantly changing. Today, consumers dictate what they want and technology companies, which are totally consumer-centric, respond to that. Many fashion companies are following this approach and are driven by the tech industry’s emphasis on speed. They are undertaking new facilities, innovative solutions and techniques to engage with the customers. There’s a lot of experimentation with ‘try now, buy now’. Additionally, there’s also one-hour delivery, one-day delivery and innumerable options to keep the consumer’s interest going. While following the trend remains one aspect of the fashion business, it’s equally vital to be the trend-setters. Tech industry teaches us to think outside the box and meet consumer expectations. There are always new challenges, hence, being flexible to adapt to new circumstances is the key. Be creative and experiment – sometimes you get it right and sometimes you learn.
Marketing: It’s Not Just The Product, It’s How You Sell It
No matter what your personality or your career path is, learning how to think and operate like a marketer is crucial. Marketing is all about story-telling. Your product is your hero. However, anyone can create a product. The difficult part is selling your product. Before you market your product, or before you even start creating your product, it is necessary to understand the key concepts of marketing. The way you market it needs to be integrated to the product itself – it sets the tone for the whole thing. That’s when the 4Ps of marketing come into the picture.
Product: Create a product that’s unique and meets the needs of your consumer
Price: The price you set for your product must represent value to your customers
Promotion: Make use of channels that make customers and prospects aware of your product, thus building preference for your brand.
Place: Select an ideal place where potential clients are engaged and converted into actual clients
Just like marketers, retailers too need to evolve, innovate, lead and be the change agents. So, while you create unique products, make sure you audience knows the unique value it has to offer.