As the 2020 edition of The Big Billion Days sale draws near, Flipkart Fashion has forged strategic partnerships with a wide array of global, national and regionally renowned brands. Reports suggest that during the upcoming festive season, close to 40-50 million new consumers from emerging cities will experience e-commerce for the first time. At Flipkart, the Fashion category has played a key role in bringing new consumers online and 40% of Flipkart’s new consumers experience fashion on the platform first. This is the opportunity and the need gap that Flipkart’s Fashion business is focused on addressing.
Nishit Garg, Vice President and head of Fashion at Flipkart, shares the insights behind the strong partnerships that Flipkart has forged with leading fashion brands to strengthen their offering, with particular relevance to curating an affordable value selection for consumers in the climate of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Listen to Nishit Garg along with Flipkart leaders Manish Kumar, Dev Iyer and Nishant Gupta on how their categories are prepared to make this year’s The Big Billion Days truly a #FlipkartForIndia event
Excerpts from a Q&A:
In this pandemic climate, what value is Flipkart bringing to consumers by forging partnerships with major Fashion brands?
As with other Flipkart categories, Fashion is built on the pillars of affordability and access. We have continued to strengthen these pillars during the COVID-19 period and this has continued in the run-up to the festive season.
In the last 6-8 months, there has been a significant consumer shift towards e-commerce. While this is unprecedented, we expect it to stay. Alongside this, we have strengthened our partnerships with leading brands. With our insights and deep experience of reaching hard-to-reach consumer segments in the country, we have helped these brands diversify their portfolios in the changing scenario caused by the pandemic.
Brands such as Lakhani, Khadim’s, Chennai Silks, and Cantabil, to name a few, are now strengthening their business while reaping the benefits of e-commerce in a fair online marketplace. From introducing more functional clothing to creating washable footwear to address consumers’ needs during this time, we continue to serve a growing number of consumers across India.
Please tell us more about the synergy we are driving with our brand partners.
Flipkart Fashion has focused on deep partnerships with ecosystem players, brands — both global and regional, as well as national sellers, all to make sure that we have the best offerings for our customers.
We have really gone deep in integrating with our partners. This includes identifying opportunities for them to connect with consumers across India through our online marketplace, scale their online presence through omni-channel integrations, and ensuring that more of their stock is visible online. Further, we have enabled our partners with consumer insights, which helps them diversify their existing product portfolios. We have been able to do all of this at scale, and we feel very, very confident about the festive season.
Is there also a perceptible shift in consumer demand and preferences during the pandemic period?
Yes, there has been a slight shift in consumer preferences. Certain categories have spiked sharply in the last few months. Understandably, with more and more consumers working from home, categories such as comfort wear, loungewear, sports and athleisure have really done well. So, working with all our partners, we have ensured that we have the latest trends in these categories, which can be made accessible to all our consumers. We continue to partner with the best in the industry, and the core focus is to bridge the gap between customers in metros and tier-II+ towns.
You mentioned consumer insights. Can you delve deeper into how these insights shape our curated affordable value selection for consumers?
Let me give you an example. At the moment, there is a big consumer trend where shoppers are searching for comfortable, open footwear. We shared this insight with our brand partners in the footwear segment. In other segments, for instance, consumers are looking for specific material that aids comfort. We paid close attention to the details. Working together with our brand partners and sellers, we have fine-tuned our selection to be tailor-made to such changing consumer preferences.
In addition to the large brands, are we also partnering with the extended ecosystem of smaller sellers and offline retail partners?
Absolutely. With the aim of ensuring business continuity for offline retailers during these times, we’re creating a fully integrated seamless shopping experience for customers through strategic partnerships. This is being initiated by integrating offline stores with the Flipkart platform and creating an ecosystem of services that benefits both sellers and customers. In preparation for the festive season, we will continue to expand our fashion portfolio through such partnerships.
For smaller offline retailers and smaller sellers, we have created a fully integrated, seamless shopping experience through meaningful partnerships to help them take their stores online.
The pandemic period has been particularly difficult for many small businesses, and some of them have been going through tough cash-flow cycles. So, one intervention we have made is to help these partners out with relaxed business and operational norms and making sure that we do the best that we can. We have extended support to them on business, operations, and cash flows.
In addition, we have shared insights on category mixes and consumer-led insights, so that they can also plan their festive season accordingly.
Finally, what’s unique or different about Flipkart Fashion offerings during The Big Billion Days this year?
In terms of fashion, there is a lot of value consciousness in the market. We anticipate a lot of new customers to experience e-commerce for the first time, underpinned by affordability and access. Our key will be the partnerships we have this time, which are way sharper, and there have been more collaborations in terms of product portfolio and value offerings. And while there are a lot of exciting offerings, the effort at the back-end has been way deeper this time round.