More than 1 billion population and a large retail market increases the scope for apparel retail business in India, but it also presents its own sets of challenges, which apparel retailers need to focus on.
Mr. Anurag Rajpal, CEO of The American Swan Lifestyle Company, an online lifestyle and fashion brand in India, told fibre2fashion, “Some of the key challenges faced by apparel retailers are forecasting, sell-through, inventory management, merchandise mix, etc.”
“It is very important for any brand to have an appealing and relevant assortment, getting the pricing right, having control of stock and product mix, understanding the consumer and changing markets as well as getting the business model and margins right,” he informs.
According to Mr. Sanjay Shroff, founder, director and CEO of Styletag.com, an online retailer of luxury garments, the high cost of real estate as well as choosing the right location are the biggest challenges in brick and mortar format of retail stores.
Talking about the challenges faced by the Indian online retailers, Mr. Rajpal says, “In India, there are challenges of low per capita consumption, combined with the demand for deals and discounts. In such a scenario, margins play a very critical role because reduced margins affect profitability and it is important to get the right discounting strategy.”
“In recent times, we have also seen reduced profit margin and venture funding in apparel segment which pose challenges in scaling-up a business,” he informs.
Mr. Shroff says, “Although e-commerce is fairly new, customer acquisition costs is a big challenge.”
When asked about solutions to overcome these challenges, he says, “Dedicated cluster for particular categories of goods might be one solution.”
Mr. Rajpal concludes, “Only a thorough insight and experience of the trade and consumer along with vendors and cash flow management, employing best practices and constant gauging of response can help achieve a stronghold.”