With online retailers stealing a march over traditional formats, conglomerate Aditya Birla Group entered the e-commerce space by launching fashion portal abof.com. "The e-commerce sector is a sunrise sector from an investment point of view. While a lot has happened in the last couple of years, a lot more is yet to happen in this space", Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said at the launch.
"With abof.com, we aim to offer a wide but curated range of merchandise and a differentiated shopping experience that can compete with the best in the world. We see abof emerging as the most admired player in online fashion within the next three years", he added.
Abof.com ('All about fashion') is a one stop fashion portal for apparel, footwear and accessories for men and women who are discerning customers but not heavy discount oriented ones. The portal, that was launched after nine months of work, will not offer kids' apparel. Aditya Birla Group is already present in the fashion space through Madura Fashion and Pantaloons.
"Therefore, it made sense for us to enter into fashion e-commerce to further strengthen our pole position in the business of fashion in India. We see the potential to build another billion dollar business of the Group in this space", he said.
Birla said the new venture will be complementary to its existing fashion business like Madura Fashion that houses brands like Allen Solly, Peter England, Van Heusen and Louis Phillipe, among others. He declined to divulge the investment in the new venture and said it is privately held. The online portal claims to have a first of its kind 3D virtual trial room with 95 per cent accuracy. Customers can instantly view themselves in any product by inputting their basic body proportions and the tool allows one to layer various garments to check out looks.
"We may bring global brands later. We have about 5,000 PIN codes covered and have a warehouse at Bengaluru. We will have another warehouse in the NCR in the next three months", abof.com President and Chief Executive Officer Prashant Gupta said. The portal will offer 7,000 products initially and the company plans to take the total to 20,000 in next few months. The company said half the products will be from the Group's companies, while others will be sourced externally which will be curated by abof.com.
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