NEW DELHI: Shweta Singh, a 24-year old graphic designer based in New Delhi, has placed an order for Nike gym shoes on an e-commerce website. “I got these high performance shoes for half the price. Since my office has given work from home till July, I’ve started gymming at home and need shoes,” she said.
Lifestyle and fashion brands are offering attractive discounts between 20% and 50% on new collections and additional offers on prepaid orders to lure customers and boost sales amid the lockdown.
Adopting ‘buy now and ship later’ policy, Vero Moda, Woodland, Puma, Bath and Body Works, among other brands, have made several offers on e-commerce platforms and on their own websites to keep sales afloat as majority of stores remain shut and revenues continue to shrink. Third-party e-commerce platforms such as Myntra, Tata Cliq, Ajio, Koovs.com and Shein have also started taking orders to be delivered in orange and green zones.
Retail experts believe that discounts will help ease the liquidity burden on retailers and will also keep customers interested in the brands as the country gradually restores normalcy amid the most stringent lockdowns worldwide.
Noting that fashion is one of the hardest hit category due to the lockdown, Ankur Bisen, senior vice president, retail and consumer at Technopak, a management consulting firm, said there is a shelf life for fashion merchandise, which can range from three to four months, barring core fashion (staples like white shirt). Brands rotate this inventory every quarter and that is how it becomes capital efficient, but due to the lockdown this cycle has been disrupted.
“The current inventory brand will not be relevant once market fully. Brands have to sell off inventory, and therefore they are incentivising consumers (through discounts and offers) to buy products,” he explained.
Despite the discounts, brands will not witness scores of bargain hunters glued to online shopping, said internet economy expert, Sreedhar Prasad.
Of the 30 million shoppers who contribute to e-commerce in India, those who are largely safe from the financial impact of the lockdown or the ones who do not foresee an immediate risk to their careers will be the first ones to shop.
“I believe these shoppers are not discount driven. They have stable jobs with regular income flowing in and steady savings, they don’t mind spending ₹2,000 or upwards,” Prasad said.
Technopak’s Bisen also said since the purchase sentiment is missing, brands will have to create the hook (in form of discounts) for consumers to come and shop.
“Fashion conscious consumers who have been eyeing high cost branded shoes or apparels, which are available at cheaper rates will end up buying,” he added.
In such a scenario, brand loyalists will also continue to shop, said popular personal care brand, Bath and Body Works, which has been running multiple discounts and offers.
“There is a spike in sales online on our website because our loyal customers are currently not able to get their desired products through any other medium,” said Tushar Ved, president, Major Brands India, which retails Bath and Body Works.
Bestseller India, which retails brands such as Vero Moda, Only and Jack & Jones in the country, have also been promoting discounts on its website as well as third party e-commerce platforms such as Myntra.
“We are offering discounts but they are not deep,” said Vineet Gautam, chief executive officer (CEO) and country head, Bestseller India.
Bestseller is focussing on e-commerce that will definitely get a head start.