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Online portals need to streamline their payment mechanism
Mar '12
The Fashion Industry stalwarts congregated at the India Fashion Forum (IFF) 2012 for an exchange of industry best practices and knowledge-sharing. The forum discussed the challenges confronted by players in achieving the exponential growth of fashion industry in India and the untapped India opportunity that exists.

The session on retail spaces, represented by eminent panelists consisted of top honchos from Oberoi Realty, Inorbit, Reliance Trends, Tata Realty, Provogue, Arvind Retail puts forth interesting insights. Anuj Puri, Chairman, JLL highlighted that out of the 16 million sq.ft of retail space available across 7 cities out of which over 12 million sq.ft remains vacant and 1.8 lakh crore sq.ft will be available by 2013.

The panelists arrived at a consensus that the retail industry needs a considerable growth strategy, to avoid oversupply in key catchment areas. Mall development is at its nascent stage in India compared to developed countries where management, culture mall and shopping experiences are highly evolved.

The entire retail industry is evolving and both retailers and mall developers are learning from their mistakes, hence partnership of the two is a vital for the success of retail in India. Proactive management for developers would mean designing amenities inside mall and for retailers it would be store sizes. Retailers should understand market demographics especially in tier 2 and 3 cities and accordingly determine store size, thereby, negating the high rentals and low footfalls scenario.

Sunil Biyani – Director, Future Group says “"Over a period of time most malls will succeed; Ahmadabad will take 18-24 months on an average for their malls to be successful after adopting aggressive marketing strategies. There will be footfalls in Pune. Tier II locations for malls are the key players in future.”

Kevin Chee – Country head, Capital Malls Asia said “The three factors that the developers and retailers should keep in mind are long term view for a business to give returns, proactive management- for landlord, developer & retailer and partnership with the landlord and the retailer should go hand-in-hand.”

The session on emergence of E-commerce and online retailing highlighted the pressing need for online retailers to distinguish themselves on services and offer unique products rather than competing on the price-points. Online portals need to create that initial experience for the end customer by way of innovation in e commerce and streamline the payment gateways.

Mr. Rajiv Prakash, Venture Partner-E commerce & Consumer Business (formerly CEO, FutureBazaar.com) said, “In India consumers prefer the touch and feel experience. According to reports, 40 million people transact online. The time spent on online website is on an average 3-4 mins on a normal website and 7-8 mins on a fashion website. But for online portals, Cash on delivery is the most important.”

Mr. Manmohan Agarwal – Founder Yebhi.com further added, “E-commerce picked up in 2009 and yet hasn't reached its peak. The volumes of the transaction are expected to increase by 2013-14. Cash on delivery acts like a payment gateway. So what is essential is to build on this fact, further leverage it, moving ahead and strengthening your process by building your own delivery network.”

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