NEW DELHI: Fabindia, a leading craft retailer, is aiming to triple its growth over the next five years by tapping into data, and in particular what consumers are saying about it.

In an ESOMAR paper, Karan Kumar and Surabhi Talwar Sekhar of Fabindia outline an ongoing project to put the customer at the centre of its universe through the creation of a unified data intelligence and command centre.

They describe this ‘Customer Information & Insights Management System’ (CIIMS) as “a human intelligence system” in which all consumer-related data collected across all channels is viewed by a single team, and the insights from each are connected and analysed as a unified consumer portrait rather than in pieces and silos.

“Even though we are only a few short months into this exercise, the CIIMS human intelligence team has been able to show how data and conversations, when pieced together, can unravel a whole new world of opportunity,” they report.

That is essential if the brand is to achieve its ambition of becoming a Rs 3,000 crore business.

So far, the exercise has thrown up several crucial themes for it to consider, including the fact that consumers now tend to see it primarily as an apparel brand whose craft origins are not enough to justify the price premium.

Consumers also think the brand lacks variety, which isn’t actually true, the authors say – but confusing in-store navigation and crowded shelves have made discovery and shopping hard.

The apparel side of the business caters mainly to women with its ethnic wear range, but CIIMS has highlighted a large untapped opportunity in the men’s casual Western wear market and the brand is moving into this space.

“This is an important turning point for a brand that has so far been considered female-centric and has large implications on everything from media and communication, to distribution channels,” the authors say.

Men shop differently from women, typically setting out with something specific in mind which they want to find as quickly as possible. “The Fabindia men’s section will need to be geared for an unaided, effortless shopping experience.”

In future, pen portraits based on customer behaviour and qualitative feedback will help the retailer build relationships and experiences for consumers, rather than just dealing in transactions.

“We’ve taken a chance at shifting the lens of a six-decade old brand and we are positive the reward is going to be a multiplication of the top line,” the authors state.

Sourced from ESOMAR; additional content by WARC staff