New Delhi: Home delivery is one of the key ways in which neighbourhood grocery stores all over India establish customer loyalty. Shops of a very different sort in Delhi’s DLF Emporio mall have adapted that service to do much the same thing—gain and hold on to clients.
Luxury retailers, such as the ones located in the upscale mall, are expanding portfolios and adding new services such as home shopping to overcome the infrastructure constraints that bedevil the Indian market, as reported by Mint on 23 March. The brands doing so include Ermenegildo Zegna, Salvatore Ferragamo, Bottega Veneta and Canali. TSG International Marketing Pvt. Ltd, which operates stores offering brands such as Moschino, Alberta Ferretti and Jean Paul Gaultier, offers home delivery and even organizes private fashion shows to select clientele.
Salvatore Ferragamo sends luxury items to homes to allow customers to make their choices. Gucci has been offering the same services in India for more than two years to clients including Bollywood stars who are either not comfortable shopping at stores or don’t have the time for it. Customers can call Genesis Luxury Fashion Pvt. Ltd, the local partner of Canali and Jimmy Choo among others, with orders of products chosen from brochures and email.
Globally, luxury retailers do offer home services, but to just a few customers.
“In Hong Kong, they won’t deliver at your hotel unless you are Paris Hilton or you are very big regular buyer,” said Radha Chadha, expert and author of the bestselling The Cult of the Luxury Brand: Inside Asia’s Love Affair with Luxury.
In India, the service is available to a wider range of clients.
“With our cultural differences and expectations, it is more widely offered,” said Sanjay Kapoor, managing director of Genesis Luxury. In India, the rich are accustomed to getting personalized home services, be it jewellery, high-end clothing or bespoke tailoring.
“Most brands realize this and offer it to a wider spectrum of clients in India than in their home countries,” he said. Home services contribute 10-15% of Genesis’ annual sales, he said.
Louis Vuitton doesn’t offer any kind of home service and sells only through its four outlets in India—two in Delhi and one each in Mumbai and Bangalore.
“Luxury is about emotions. It’s a package that you have to experience at the store and it’s important to preserve that experience,” said Tikka Shatrujit Singh, adviser to Louis Vuitton in India. Louis Vuitton “is an international brand and it has an international way of doing things.”
The top 50 clients at the Jimmy Choo store in Mumbai’s Nariman Point account for 55% of sales and are mostly served at home. Some of them stay in the suburbs and don’t want to make the trek downtown while others don’t want to be seen at the Hotel Trident showroom, said store director Jharna Badlani. With stores confined to Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, luxury brands need to explore alternative avenues to expand their reach.
“There aren’t many luxury stores in India and as a result there is a greater need to service those clients at home,” said author Chadha. In China, on the other hand, luxury retailers have opened outlets not just in tier I, but also in tier II and III cities, she said.
Sapna Agarwal in Mumbai contributed to this story.