We're exploring the possibility of designing in India
From a small group of passionate fashion-loving individuals in North Brunswick, New Jersey, in 2008, to a multinational team, Shein has grown immensely to what it is today. Malcolm Yam, general manager of Shein India, talks about completing a year in India and developing fashionable yet affordable designs for consumers.
How has been the journey in India so far?
In the last couple of years, Shein has achieved excellent results in American and European markets to accumulate a successful experience. But India is different and special to us.
India is in a state of rapid development. Consumers are demanding a lifestyle of higher quality and their needs are diverse. This is the general characteristics of all emerging markets. Therefore, we faced huge challenges when we entered the Indian market.
We started business in India in July 2017. We kept our focus on customers' needs and studied the local styles. Our marketing and business managements are carried out based on a profound understanding of our customers.
Last year, we established and localised efficient logistics, customer service and a dedicated marketing team. With ₹250 crore invested in marketing, we have attracted more than 3 million followers on social media and collaborated with about 2,000 influencers. We now receive about 20,000 orders every day.
On completing a year in the country, what new can be expected?
Shein is a very customer-centric brand. With our website shein.in and our mobile application, we have built a good communication channel with our customers. We find that a lot of customers are very confident, love to show themselves off and have the desire to better themselves. With this one-year anniversary, we are showing how much we appreciate our loyal customers by holding our first-ever fashion show, SheinxMe Fashion Show just for them. We are inviting our customers to join this party and catwalk in our best outfits. This will be a good chance for them to experience something new and to shine in their modeling dreams.
How big is the fashion market in India? How is e-commerce contributing to the growth?
India is one of the world's most populous nation and the largest affordable clothing market in the world. The fashion market has never stopped growing here. E-commerce has helped customers find and shop products faster and more conveniently than ever. We pride ourselves as a fashion retailing brand, instead of a pure e-commerce company. Therefore, we are more concerned and excited about the increasing demand for fashion apparel of the new generation in India.
What is the daily order at Shein India? What are the demographics of your shoppers?
We handle about 20,000 orders every day. Most of our customers are located in metros like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Meanwhile, we see a rapid growth in tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
With Shein dominating the international market, how are you preserving the premiere positioning in India?
We are still expanding. We believe we can maintain a sustainable and strong development by focusing on the need of the market and user experience and enhancing our customer service.
Where do you source the ready-to-wear apparel from?
We have built a professional global sourcing team. Even with that, we have our own design studio in London, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Dubai. We are also actively exploring the possibility of local designing in India.
What kinds of quality and design standards do you follow?
Our quality standard complies with global premium fast fashion brand. Our design is diverse and trendy.
What is the USP of your products?
We offer new collections fast with a wide range of styles and categories and trendy designs, deliver quickly and offer swift customer support. Our prices are affordable as well.
Which are your best selling products? Which price points work well for you?
With the market short of fashionable yet affordable brands like us, we can build a significant position in this niche market. Dresses, tops, bottoms, shoes and accessories are some of our well-performed categories.
Data shows₹500-₹4,000 is a popular price range among our customers.
What is your marketing strategy in India?
We believe in localising customer service, logistics, warehousing, marketing and team efforts. We also feel there is no better marketing strategy than listening to customers.
What is the return rate and order processing time at Shein?
Our return rate is well-controlled behind the industry level since we are confident with the quality we are offering.
According to data, from placing order to receiving the package, it takes five business days for delivery in main cities, and seven across India, except in remote areas.
What is the global growth of Shein?
Although our order volume is huge, we are still expanding.
Shein ships to more than 100 countries. We are exploring new countries and new markets every year. We have more than 60 million registered users and the number is growing.
Can artificial intelligence (AI) and new technology and fashion create a smart stitch?
We are trying to better the fast fashion industry with new technology by recognising the consulting intentions of our customers and enhance customer support efficiency, distributing orders by optimising delivery routes and the warehouse dispatching logic, optimising targeting of advertisements, learning and predict the latest trend to help design and release new collections, and recommending products according to customer preferences.
How ready is the Indian fashion industry in adapting AI in its entirety?
We are aware that India has a large population of highly competent people with rich education resources. Many start-ups in India are working on combing AI with the industry. The fashion market in India is enormous. This creates a great opportunity for cultivating AI within the industry.
We are hoping to offer more opportunities to create a collaborative environment among local schools, people and within the industry.
E-commerce is transforming. What can fashion do to keep up?
Our updates are always user-centric. This is the same rule for e-commerce. We keep up with technology as well as the whole industry. Most of our decisions are made based on collective data. It helps us to know more about the customers and serve them more efficiently.
Apart from that, Shein owns a powerful and highly efficient supply chain. The time we spend on a cycle of design-manufacture-listing is a leading standard across the world. Thanks to our flexible supply chain, we can develop flexible styles while effectively controlling the cost.
For example, in the past, fashion companies released four collections annually. However, we are designing, producing and releasing new products in large volumes every single day. We rely on the data to get to know more about our customer needs and the fashion trend.
What is next in the pipeline for Shein India?
We are expecting to establish and co-design projects with celebrities, explore cultural fusion through Indo-western collections, engage in co-branding with Indian designers, become the fashion incubator for upcoming local designers and invest in charitable work. (RR)