According to Garg, combining the distinct advantages of both the physical and the digital medium will offer a wider choice of options for each consumer to shop as per their preference and convenience. This model can enable even brands that are predominantly brick-and-mortar to leverage the nationwide reach and the many other benefits of e-commerce, the executive said.
“The future of shopping will thus be an integrated model. Technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality, which were earlier being considered for enhancing customer experience, might now become necessities for survival.”
Talking about what are his expectations from the fashion category in the coming days, Garg said, smaller cities and towns will drive growth for the fashion category in the upcoming months. “A large percentage of people in these markets are aspirational consumers with a significant capacity and willingness to spend.”
Flipkart’s fashion category has evolved over the past 8 months, as the company adopted a more dynamic approach to suit changing preferences.
“Our approach has always been to ensure that the shopping experience that we offer is very inclusive to all customers. With the introduction of a vernacular interface in several regional languages this year, we’ve seen an increased adoption for the fashion category, especially from tier 2+ regions and beyond. Around 20% of new customers for the fashion business today are acquired through our vernacular interface,” said Garg.
As more consumers from across the country started shopping online for their fashion needs, in the first half of the year, Flipkart Fashion saw categories such as comfort wear, loungewear, sports, and athleisure performed very well as more people remained indoors. Closer to the festive season, categories such as women’s ethnic wear, footwear, and winter wear witnessed strong demand. “In collaboration with all our partners, we have ensured that we made the latest trends in these categories accessible to all our consumers. We continue to partner with the best in the industry, as we continue to bridge the gap between customers in metros and tier 2+ regions,” said Garg.
According to Garg, Flipkart’s primary focus remains on curating an affordable value selection for consumers across the country. In the past year, this has led us to explore many frontiers which included unique product launches, retail partnerships, and meaningful collaborations with smaller brands and sellers, he said.
This year, Flipkart Fashion not only closely worked with several regional brands and sellers to scale up their online presence and safeguard their overall business, but also announced several strategic investment-led partnerships including Arvind Youth Brands, Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail Limited (ABFRL), and USPL. With these partnerships, Garg said, the e-tailer is looking forward to working collaboratively to identify opportunities and synergies to develop products with strong value propositions at attractive price points.
“In line with the vision to bridge the gap between customers in metros and tier 2+ regions, we also partnered with over 2000+ fashion stores across the country ahead of the festive season this year. Looking ahead, this strategy will help drive deeper synergies and strengthen our commitment to grow an ecosystem of partnerships, delivering value for consumers and brands. By leveraging technology and advanced inventory management systems such as ‘geo-fencing’ and ‘store hopping’, we have further enabled retail stores with the benefits of e-commerce and a robust supply chain.”
In the past year, consumers have been prioritising safe delivery services, curbside pickups, and app-based concierge services to keep physical interactions minimal, at a time when safety is paramount. Garg feels this has led to online shopping experiencing a surge and the fashion category has been witness to several dynamic shifts in consumer preferences.