In todays world of cut-throat competition and dynamic environment it has become a binding for marketers to keep the record of every pulse of their customers. The mantra of consumer centric approach is the key consideration in each and every decision a company takes.

Consumers no longer can be defined only by demographic segments. Purchasing patterns are driven more by their psychology that is their mood, lifestyle, occasion, and values. For instance, person belonging to middle class, prefer buying expensive branded product. So the product should be developed, produced, placed and promoted considering the above mentioned factors.

Today it has become easier for customers to get information as well as for companies to communicate in a way that is more effective and convincing too. Effective use of presentation technique and media helps companies to control the thinking of their target customers.

Marketers must discover the new ways to communicate with customers. They should peep into the life styles of customers and identifying their concerning issues. They should not only communicate the features product has but also how these features can satisfy their various needs. Needs may be physiological as well as psychological. In short, need-benefit approach should be adopted. They should also ensure that when customers get motivated to buy the product, the feature communicated should fulfill their needs above their expected level.

Recent trend has merged the idea of advertising with entertainment. The information is provided to customers with the ingredients of entertainment.

The idea of "fashion" takes new forms with the entry of new hard goods and their exciting designs get flooded in the market like cell phones, computers and music players. We see the varieties of cell phone covers available in market. This is just a beginning it will also influence the taste and preferences of apparel, footwear and accessory companies consumers. Consumers are finding items which have elements of fun, fresh and exciting technologies. Their foremost demand to shopkeepers is the latest stock. Some of such conspicuous goods have become must have for youngsters specially.

Brand name has become one of the buying criteria for customers. Brands are getting more and more global and the main challenge such companies are facing is maintaining brand consistency across global markets, while recognizing and reaching out to those cultural values that still differentiate markets in terms of how consumers perceive and receive marketing messages.

Indias relaxation of restrictions on allowing single brand retailers to have a 51 percent ownership will induce retail investments in India. Branded apparel and fashion goods market will become more vital. Some of the big names like Zara and Gap are on a way to enter the market.

The recent boom in the fashion retail industry in India and mega mall culture has created a wave of fear for small shop owners. To some extent such fear is baseless as small shopkeepers will continue to be a preference of some local customers because of convenience needs, extended family relations, cultural needs and of course specialization.

Companies need to learn the competition and try to trace the opportunities arising out of it. Competition has created more awareness among customers and has expanded the market in terms of number of customer as well as consumption rate.

Prospects for Indian fashion industry:

India has a long history and great pool of talent in the field of design creativity.

Expansion of middle and higher income group and expected to reach nearly 50% by 2010 of total population.

Ethnic clothing continues to be the first choice for Indian women.

Continuous growth of apparel industry and especially of branded apparel industry.

As global fashion brands take hold in India, market will get more organized.

Tips for India's fashion brand companies:

1. Give priority to consumers opinion. Keep in touch with customers by creating loyalty clubs and online data bases and opinion leaders.

2. Try to find out the reasons behind consumer behavior. Why they are your customers or why not? Which are motivating and demotivating factors?

3. Blend up the bollywood, cricket and other entertainment mix with other areas such as product design, distribution channel, price, promotion activities. Using celebrity endorsement can prove effective provided the credibility and popularity of celebrity is taken into consideration.

4. Look for co-branding: It involves merging two or more well known brands into a single product. It is an effective way to leverage strong brands and helps in gaining synergy by having the best combination of unique strength each brand has. Co-branding can be based on innovation, ingredient, alliance, supply chain or any other.

5. Find out new ways of communicating to customers, like sending information about new products, offers, stocks, etc through sms to cell phones.

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