Indian ecommerce sites change focus

01 August 2012

NEW DELHI: Numerous ecommerce sites in India are attempting to attract female internet users, reflecting the rising affluence and importance of this audience.

Technopak, the consultancy, has estimated that online retail spending currently stands at $500m per year in India. It also suggested 60% of purchases made outside retail stores are attributable to men.

However, Amit Gugnani, Technopak's SVP, textiles, argued that several broader shifts are transforming the market, meaning women have an increasingly central role.

"Online retail is a growing phenomenon in India. Lack of time, changing lifestyles and the convenience to buy things online has paved the way for a consumer friendly and hassle-free online shopping experience," he told the Hindu Business Line.

Koovs, the web-based lifestyle and fashion retailer, is one company hoping to tap this trend. At present, the firm's average ticket size varies from Rs800 to Rs1,000.

"The kind of purchases that were happening online made us realise that there was a market for women's only online shopping portal," said Rajesh Kamra, founder and managing director of Koovs.

"Also we were getting specific queries from customers in places such as North East and even Tier 2 cities."

Myntra, another internet fashion vendor, has tried to engage the same audience by hiring Kalki Koechlin, the actress, to serve as a brand ambassador, write blogs and share style tips. It will announce a new endorser every two months going forward.

"Women are influential shoppers. They start with low-risk and low value items such as an accessory and from there move on to bigger purchases such as dresses and bags, among others," said Mukesh Bansal, the founder of Myntra.

Zovi, another player in the apparel sector, rolled out a digital tool called the "Zovi Eye" last year, allowing visitors to see how they would look in a piece of clothing by taking their picture with a webcam.

"Buyers, especially women, want to see how the products look on them," said Monappa Nalyanda, Zovi's head of marketing. "This feature simulates offline customer behaviour of trying out the apparel in front of a mirror."

Fashion and You currently generates 60% of its orders from India's top ten cities, and is seeking on building engagement with existing customers, who deliver a considerable share of its returns.

"Today, 70% of our revenues come from repeat customers, for which we focused on our loyalty programmes. A regular customer on our portal on an average makes six transaction in a year," said Pearl Uppal, co-founder of Fashion and You. 

Data sourced from Hindu Business Line/Business Standard; additional content by Warc staff