The retail sector is yet to recover from the sales slump due to the pandemic, but as footfalls continue to remain low at shopping malls and complexes even after easing of restrictions, big fashion brands, including Levi’s Strauss, Pepe Jeans, Max Fashion, Forever New and Bata, are sending retail trucks and pop-up stores in residential colonies, in a bid to reach out to customers and boost sales.
“After practically no sales for about three months, we recovered around 30 per cent of our last year’s sales numbers in June. It went up 50 per cent in July. But people are hesitant to go out and shop,” said Manish Kapoor, CEO, Pepe Jeans London. Although there has been an increase in online sales, it cannot deliver that “brand experience” to the consumer, he says.
The denim and casual wear brand has now started sending fashion trucks to residential colonies in Mumbai and Delhi-NCR this month. “It’s not only about doing sales, it’s also getting that connection back with the consumer and telling them that we are there with you even when you cannot reach us. Rather than seeing individual garments on a click, a person will be able to see them in terms of the stories that they tell, different colours and various trends,” said Kapoor, adding that they are planning to extend the service to areas like Thane and Pune.
Footwear brand Bata has set up mobile stores in over 40 cities and are witnessing a “steady increase in sales”. They have segmented consumers in three categories — digital natives, digital adopters and digital novices. “For our digital novices, like the elderly, children and homemakers, who have not been stepping out of the house as much, we have launched Bata Store on Wheels, as we wanted to enable them to make hyperlocal purchases from the safety of their condominiums and apartments,” said Sandeep Kataria, CEO, Bata India Limited.
According to him, people are buying more casuals than formals and there is also a shift from fashion to fitness. “We are seeing demand for comfort footwear in the open category and also for our new collections like Easy Wash and Work From Home, as well as new offerings like apparel and masks,” he said.
Bata is planning to keep ‘Store on Wheels’ as an additional channel in the longer run, along with Bata ChatShop, another hyperlocal channel, which allows digital adopters to shop from local Bata stores via WhatsApp.
Apparel and jeanswear brand Levi’s Strauss & Co is sending retail trucks to select residential colonies in Delhi and Gurgaon. “Our main motive is to ensure that our consumers feel safe and comfortable while shopping. We have tops, shorts, and lightweight comfortable denim led ‘work from home’ collection for this store concept. Our consumers can try out the garments at their homes and for alterations, the team on the ground takes measurements and the final product, after being modified at the nearest store, it is delivered to the customer,” said Sanjeev Mohanty, MD — South Asia, Middle East & North Africa, Levi’s Strauss & Co.
“We’ve got phenomenal response in terms of sales. And in fact, numbers have been much higher than what we had expected… We had a lot of youngsters, who could otherwise buy online, come to the stores,” said Kapoor.
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