The curious case of India's largest home retail brands and marketplaces
Flipkart, today, announced a strategic partnership with three of the India's largest home retail brands — Home Town (Future group), HomeStop (Shoppers Stop) and @Home. The company claims that the partnerships will introduce a whole new range of products from these retail brands, adding to Flipkart’s existing portfolio of 1000+ brands with seven lakh home products.
Flipkart introduced the home furnishing segment pretty late as compared to Snapdeal, but it plans to partner with several other retailers across categories to compensate for the delay. Since the category launch early this year, the company has noticed a consistent rise in demand for home products. In the future, the marketplace will incorporate omni channel strategy to optimize its inventory levels and also offer multiple delivery options to consumers.
The search says a different story
While I was delighted to see these brands taking the e-commerce way, when I searched for their products in some of the top marketplaces, it was a different story altogether.
While HomeStop products were not displayed in Flipkart on searching for brand's name, HomwTown results belonged only to books section.
Since there was no mention of exclusivity in the partnership, the products of the home retail brands are expected to be available on other marketplaces also. But the availability issue persisted even here. Homestop is out of the stock on Snapdeal at the time of writing this while Paytm and Fabfurnish fetched no results on looking for the brand.
Hometown furniture is available on both Paytm and Fabfurnish while it ran out of stock in Snapdeal. @home brand products are not available in any marketplace at the moment.
The above mentioned home retailers have offline presence in key markets and a few online channels, and the association with these marketplaces will help them tap into online expanding consumer base across geographies. But in order to achieve the set targets, there needs to be better preparations done from both the brand and the marketplace side.
What else can we make out of it?
In another news, yesterday, Flipkart launched a new ‘Image search’ feature on its mobile app. The added feature has been designed for the fashion category, with the aim to provide users a real-world like shopping experience. This
feature will allow the use of any image to find visually similar products on Flipkart.Image search feature, currently at the beta stage of development, will be available to customers through an app upgrade. With Image Search, users can now click a picture or use a photo on their phones to find fashion products of same color, pattern or style on Flipkart. In addition, users can browse a range of similar products by tapping directly on the product they like on Flipkart. With more and more users accessing Flipkart through their smartphones, the company plans to use the in-built features such as camera and bring an offline-like experience with just a few clicks.
Discovering a fashion product online varies from user to user and is more complex as compared to other categories. A lot of fashion purchase decisions are influenced by similar products seen by users. The image search feature provides a way to find similar products on Flipkart as well as reduces the search/ browsing time, making the overall product discovery and shopping experience simple. The company claims to be launching more such innovative features and developments in the coming months.