By Kapil Makhija
Over the past few years, the Indian retail industry has become one of the fastest growing and fastest growing industries with a large population of young, aspiring consumers. According to Unicommerce’s e-commerce fashion report, the fashion industry saw a 51% growth in order volume in fiscal year 2021 compared to the previous fiscal year. This highlights the immense potential for growth in the field of fashion e-commerce, especially as we move into the world of multi-touchpoints, where brands seek to connect with consumers across online platforms. and offline.
The fashion segment is known to be an early adopter of new technologies as it continues to focus on personalization and customer experience with a digital-first mindset. We’ve seen a platonic shift in brand mindset, with traditional offline retail businesses building an online presence and D2C and digital brands gradually working to build an offline presence.
Fashion brands are at the forefront of the retail and e-commerce industry, we have listed how the industry will reshape with technology, supply chain innovations and creative of a strong customer value proposition.
Get smarter with artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is one of the most exciting technology trends in the fashion market. AI has the potential to transform the fashion industry with customer experience as a key area. Fashion is becoming a personalized experience and brands are deploying AI technology to respond individually to each customer’s needs. There are several use cases of AI, some of the common use cases are visual recognition where the algorithm recommends similar clothes to customers, predicts trends by understanding social media chatter and consumer behavior , shopping recommendations based on previous shopping behavior and time spent on various brand website pages, and many more.
Connect with consumers through chatbots and conversational commerce
Another trend that is gaining momentum in fashion e-commerce or e-commerce in general is the adoption of chatbots, an increasing number of D2C brands are now using chatbots for customer interactions such as management customer queries and customer engagement for cross-selling and up-selling. Another interesting use case for chatbots is conversational commerce, where businesses leverage social media platforms like Whatsapp, Instagram, and Facebook to sell directly to consumers. It becomes another leading platform for D2C trading.
Steady rise of D2C fashion brands
All major fashion brands create their online stores to sell directly to consumers. Fashion is one of the biggest categories with the growing number of D2C players. Businesses have realized that D2C isn’t just about selling directly or getting better margins, it’s more about having better control over the customer experience, as well as complete visibility into customer data and a direct access to consumer loyalty to the brand. This helps brands plan their future growth strategy. The adoption of D2C has also encouraged businesses to increase their investment in technology solutions and establish robust e-commerce operations to meet growing consumer demand for brand website. D2C brands will now explore more new digital avenues like social commerce, mobile apps to connect with consumers on various platforms and become an important part of their daily lives.
Build a strong supply chain and invest in technology
In the world of instant gratification, it has become increasingly important for brands to ensure a smooth and enhanced post-purchase delivery experience for consumers. As e-commerce volume continues to increase, brands are establishing multiple warehouses to ensure faster order fulfillment. This has led to increased investment in supply chain technology solutions such as order management, inventory management, warehouse management, and logistics management. These solutions allow brands to have clear inventory visibility across multiple warehouses and streamline order processing, improving system operational efficiency.
Connect with consumers across all sales channels with an omnichannel solution
The pandemic has accelerated the need to adopt an omnichannel strategy among fashion brands. Omnichannel has been the “buzzword” of modern retail for quite some time now, and companies have different ideas of how to leverage omnichannel for their business. One of the important aspects of omnichannel is ensuring a consistent shopping experience across offline and online shopping platforms. This is a win-win situation for the marketplace and the brands, as brands with offline stores operating at low capacity are able to empty inventory and marketplaces can fill orders at a much faster rate by shipping the orders directly from the nearest brand store, in addition to providing a richer assortment to end consumers.
Strong growth in fashion marketplaces
The fashion e-commerce market segment was mainly led by Myntra. Myntra has truly revolutionized the fashion e-commerce space and is the biggest player in the segment. However, over the past two years, Reliance-backed Ajio and Tata-owned Tata Cliq have been able to establish a strong presence with gradually growing market share. All markets are battling to capture consumer attention and brand loyalty. Indian fashion e-commerce is a huge market and there are enough opportunities for multiple markets to co-exist and continue to grow their business.
The fashion industry in India has always been at the forefront of reinvention, re-strategizing and realigning with rapidly changing business environments and evolving consumer needs. The fashion industry has also seen several retail brands build successful online businesses. Fashion and accessories generate the maximum share of order volume of the entire e-commerce industry and will continue to lead the industry with its continuous innovations and technology adoption.
(Kapil Makhija is the CEO of Unicommerce)