Sizing and fitting issues are inherent problems for companies expanding into global markets
Which are the three trends that will develop e-commerce? What are the hurdles in this sector? Will GST impact this industry? Do you use social media to promote yourself? How much do you rely on apps?
Fashion e-commerce still makes up a small percentage of the overall fashion retail industry, but as more people turn to apps and websites to browse, buy and discover clothes, investment in the space is climbing steadily. Over the years and with developing technology, various trends are shaping up: mobile commerce growth is explosive; influence of online channel extends to offline sales; mobile commerce is allowing traditional retailers a new chance to play catch-up.
Purchases made with the smartphone or tablet rose 48 per cent year-over-year in the second quarter of 2016 to about US$ 8 billion. That is three times faster than desktop-based e-commerce and the fastest increase in mobile commerce spending since the first quarter of 2012. The majority of consumer purchases is either influenced by online research or actually occurs online. Using smartphones and tablets as shopping devices is a new trend. Legacy retailers are using it to catch up with the original e-commerce giants.
A few obstacles for companies expanding into global markets are: sizing and fitting; digital literacy and consumer connect; adding automation to eliminate bottlenecks. Sizing and fitting issues are inherent problems for not just customers shopping online, but also for online retailers. Many retailers have tried to find a solution to break this barrier between fashion brands and shoppers. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India campaign, the e-commerce market is showing signs of boom but the digital literacy of consumers fails to show the same sign. There is a major chunk of population i.e. 147 million who are still using feature phones. The stalwarts of online marketplace should try and tap this sector by bringing out easy access to websites and helping in digital literacy. Also, try to fix the loopholes like fast customer service, return policies, payment security and adding automation to eliminate bottlenecks.
Statistics show that warehouse managers and industry analysts believe that adding new material handling automation equipment can reclaim inefficient processes in the distribution centre. Lost time and productivity occur if there is no automation in the areas of picking, packing, sorting, loading and unloading. The labour-intensive operation in the warehouse is picking a product, managing the flow of orders in the pick area to minimise congestion and avoiding bottlenecks to optimise labour productivity.
Under GST, India would become a common market and drive uniformity while reducing compliance costs. Due to restrictions on cross-utilisation of input of central taxes against state, there is price escalation with taxes sticking to products sold. With interstate transactions becoming tax-neutral under GST, warehousing strategy of e-commerce companies would need re-engineering to meet client proximity needs and not be driven by tax considerations.
On the positive side, product pricing and profitability would be more predictable and agnostic to the destinations of customers. For e-commerce companies who buy stock, store inventory and sell, in place of 12.5 per cent excise, they will have to shell out 17–18 per cent GST, thus driving up prices. They will also be taxed on unsold inventory in warehouses.
As conversion rates decrease worldwide, product recommendation and personalised user experience are key factors which we are planning to incorporate into our system. User-friendly navigation and easy accessibility of desired products are the key aspects that automatically improve conversion rates.
We have been using multiple platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. In e-commerce, staying connected to your potential and existing customers is the key to success. Users, irrespective of age group, have registered themselves on almost all social media platforms. So, marketplaces like ours have immense possibilities to grab users’ attention and increase engagement with the brand.
In today’s e-commerce industry, apps play a dominant role. If your brand has succeeded in gaining the trust of people, your customers will not mind having a more personalised and easily accessible platform of the same brand on their phone home screens. Our app is witnessing increasing user engagement.
Published on: 13/02/2017
DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.