According to a recent McKinsey report, customers have become accustomed to immediate gratification and convenience and, superficially, online shopping fulfils that need. However, the wider context is more complex. While e-commerce has raised customer expectations, only a third of customers globally think shopping online is more convenient than going to a physical store. Further, an international study by Facebook also mentioned that 85 percent of customers who cited convenience as the main reason actually prefer to shop locally. Moreover, the survey also mentions that this new mindset is pushing customers to shop for value from local brands and retailers as compared to shop from marketplaces or other such platforms on discounts.
Decoding their preference
“the customers are aware of what they are buying. They know that they are investing in pieces rather than acquiring. They are inclined to buy designs that have a story even though they are priced at a premium. The customer is looking to make meaningful purchases. Discounts do attract the customer, but buying decision is influenced by the quality and value proposition in the design story and silhouette. The younger demographic is keen on discounts and offers as they are attracted by fast fashion, but when it comes to important milestones, then their purchases are seldom dictated by discounts. For example, when they make a purchase for their birthday or to give as a gift to a relative, they would focus on the quality, design and be less influenced by the discount. Saundh aims to bridge the gap between the designerwear quality and price. There are great brands available in market with focus on quality and design but they usually come along with an unaffordability tag. Our aim is to offer quality, finesse and great design to a wider customer base with affordable pricing. We take pride in being a design-focused, unique storytelling brand, giving meaning to each garment we produce and we want more women to be able to experience this feeling,” Sarabjeet Saluja, Director, Saundh mentions.
Born out of a personal struggle of not having access to homegrown brands creating mindful products, brand Cica India is determined to curate a platform for ethically crafted products. In agreement with Sarabjeet, Kriti Wadhwa, Founder- Cica India also notes that the discount seeking habit of the youth and the people who are just about earning so much are healthy and laced with good intentions. “They want to buy into value and are ready to make some worthwhile purchases too. But, owing to smaller income and pocket size, maybe they are unable to respond to value brands at the moment. However, we as brands and our value ecosystem can make them see the right over wrong. Having the right conversation with them from the beginning will help them seek value and spend their income on the right products, once they start earning.”
While Saundh tries to bring its design story to the forefront, to take the customer behind the scenes of how a collection is consumed, Cica India is born to solve a problem. Through its platform, the brand tries to create awareness and instil a sense of responsible consumerism. Several homegrown brands are working tirelessly on the cause and, they are here to introduce them to the customer.
“We are high on storytelling, and we feel the customer has invested in the inspiration, the thought process behind a collection. This has been our forte since inception, and we continue to do it strongly season after season. Given customers’ price sensitivity, value remains the primary reason for customers to try new brands as well as new places to shop. Apart from value, convenience and availability are most often cited as top drivers of customers’ decisions about where to shop, while quality and purpose (desire to support local businesses, for example) are the more important considerations when choosing new brands. Heading into the fall season, there is a renewed sense of caution among customers. While the uncertainty from COVID-19 persists, its impact is felt differently across customer segments. There is significant variance in how customers respond to the crisis and adapt to the next normal. Divergent sentiment is also reflected in spending intent across categories. Customers intend to continue shifting their spending to essentials, while cutting back on most discretionary categories. We focus on offering comfort with style thus catering to the current changing needs of our customers,” Sarabjeet further adds.
“As much as we preach mindful practices, we also understand that the path to achieving them is not easy. At Cica, we help you figure out the practices that work for you, which adds value. After thorough research and analysis, our team connects you with brands that have an ethical constitution. We constantly encourage our customers to make conscious choices and invest in ethically produced products that sustain. The closer we are to nature, the healthier our lifestyle will be. Our close-knit methods and products help you eliminate unnecessary waste and culminate healthy living,” Kriti adds.
Arnav Malhotra, Founder at No Grey Area too agrees that discount buying is very big in India, however he says that it is not a sustainable business model. “A lot of brands build in high margins to their products with the idea of incurring discounts and giving customers the illusion of a good deal. It leads to poor product quality to achieve lower costs, higher margins and over production of garments. The price tag does limit a huge consumer base, but our focus and goal has been to entice value-driven customers to understand the quality of our product and why it is priced the way it is. We aim to be hyper-transparent with customers going forward with the costs associated with garments and the margin that we charge.”
“Having said that, we are introducing a lot of accessories at lower price points so customers can experience the brand. We do not want to lower our price points and compromise on the quality of our product we create. We produce lean and small quantities to ensure we are sustainable in our approach. We do sell our products as looks where we club together a jogger with a tee and sell it at a lower price point, offering value to consumers,” Arnav comments.
With customers shopping online mostly owing to the pandemic, there is a stark consciousness for buying right and the more this trend picks up, the faster will the concept of deep discounting decrease.