We no longer need to wait for the likes of H&M to grace us with their presence in India; the fashion eCommerce segment is really booming. Stalkbuylove.com, a window to European style and trend recently in India. A private label of Preta-Moda.com, stalkbuylove is a purely women's online fashion site focusing on international trends. With an average pricing of 700 to 1800 INR for a high and low dress or trendy neon clutch, it seems well suited for a college student that must save up for 3 months for one item at Zara.
Are you groaning? Yet another fashion e-commerce site you say?
Having been overwhelmed by ostentatious heavily discounted brand name items on numerous e-commerce sites so far, I am sure everyone feels it’s time for perhaps a more intelligent way of looking at fashion e-commerce. Now that Indians are comfortable with the idea of going online to purchase goods, it's time India was introduced to current global trends and personal style.
There are a few sites that do address this need for style with an emphasis on Indian designers such as Perniaspopupshop.com, styletag.com, pret-amoda.com, Indianhanger and IvoryTag. All display the latest designs from high end Indian fashion designers.
A comparable site to stalkbuylove.com is freecultr.com which is also a purely online private label for men and women at affordable prices. Yet, Stalkbuylove has a heavy European influence with an emphasis on what is in style right now. This type of thinking will attract a growing number of young women who want their hands on the latest trends, not what is usually 2 to 4 seasons late in coming toIndia in non-ethnic wear.
The e-commerce space is slowly maturing out of infancy, as customers become aware of what they want and need. E-commerce sites now need to be a lot more specific, creative and timely to meet the needs of this increasingly well informed consumer.
What will make or break any e-commerce site (or new startup for that matter), is the team. With so many variables like sourcing, quality, shipping, delivery and customer service, it is only possible to run a streamlined operation with a well-rounded and experienced team. Beyond that, an acute understanding of the target market’s exact retail wants allow for focus in branding and marketing efforts.
Although, the space is highly saturated, there is still so much that can be iterated. From what I have seen in India’s e-commerce space, an emphasis on international current trends is severely lacking. Other retail sites cater to the global market and often exclude India. Take for instance,ASOS.com, which is a global retailer (not available in India) of affordable yet trendy clothes with an emphasis on street style. Moreover, style based on personas (ex: I dress boho chic) is not a recognized idea in India, yet it is widely used in the west and Europeto mass customize merchandise. On a site like StylistPick.com, a user can fill out a personal style quiz and the results are used to create a personal e-shop. Much growth has also been seen in monthly retail subscription boxes in North America. Boxes are made up of clothing items sometimes chosen by a personal “e-stylist” (stylemint.com) and sometimes curated by a designer (frankandoak.com). The items are shipped to the membership base on a monthly basis. GivenIndia’s strict policies on holding credit cards, and our general distrust in subscriptions, this may prove difficult.
Yet what remains a challenge amongst all e-commerce sites is sizing. With 1 billion people that exist inIndiathere is no set of standard measurements that take into account our unique bodies. We are not Americans nor are we Europeans, when will someone stop and invest in measurements that reflect the slender man and the wider hips of a woman? Till then, expensive returns and a mass of individuals who are unable to find clothing that fit remain untapped customers.
Given the various iterations occurring in the west and the challenges that remain, it is only a matter of time that savvy entrepreneurs figure out how these or others ideas could work for the Indian market. Yet the reverse is true as well, and what I believe in is the future of e-commerce inIndia. When Indian retail sites can successfully cater not only to the Indian market but to the global market as well in a truly unique way is whenIndiawill arrive.
Jas Banwait is a co-founder and Chief Social Mango at TwoMangoes, the fastest growing Indian dating website with users from around the world. She leads TwoMangoes' global social media strategy, marketing initiatives and events.
An entrepreneur, prior to TwoMangoes, Jas was the co-founder of Savillian, a fashion company specializing in custom tailored suits for men and women. Through this venture, Jas was able to hold a number of speaking engagements about image and entrepreneurship, be recognized as a social media persona in Toronto, and gained an extensive breadth of knowledge on building a company organically.