Bangalore: Now, Indian buyers can also choose the cut, the size and shade of their jeans online.
After years of staying away from the Internet, even as retailers globally grew their online ventures, many jeans makers are ready to take the plunge with portals targeting Indian customers.
For the past three months, youth garment brand Spykar Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd has been selling jeans through shopping sites and found itself overwhelmed. It is now launching its own portal.
“E-selling is going to be the next big thing in the apparel sector in our country,” said Amit Seth, Spykar’s marketing head. Seth says the success of online selling triggered the decision to sell through its exclusive portal.
Popular Indian shopping sites such as eBay, Futurebazaar, Sify, Rediff and Indiatimes have been selling various kinds of apparel but few have really ventured into selling products through individual portals.
The jeanswear market in India is currently pegged at approximately Rs6,000 crore — the bulk of it in the unbranded market.
However, the branded segment is believed to be growing at a faster pace, Like Spykar, Lee Cooper (India) Pvt. Ltd is also putting up its products for online sales in the next three months.
“There is a lot of consumer interest and curiosity and we want to address that. The Indian shopper is getting more aware and is exploring options of buying stuff online so we want to make ourselves available,” said Ameet Panchal, managing director, Lee Cooper India.
Likewise, Flying Machine, the jeans brand of Arvind Ltd, is soon going to sell its product line online. Arvind is the largest manufacturer of denim in India.
“We have been selling some of our other brands through shopping sites for some time now. Now we have formed a website for Flying Machine and want to explore the opportunity to sell it on the Internet,” said J. Suresh, CEO, Arvind Brands.
International brand Levi Strauss, for example, launched its own portal just over a year ago for the US market after selling through Macy’s and other US department stores. The response, it said, has been beyond expectations.
Shyam Sukhramani, marketing director, Levi Strauss (India) Pvt. Ltd, says, “We don’t sell online now in the Asia-Pacific region, but we will be getting into it after 6-10 months.”
Around 45% of the US-based apparel maker’s sales currently come from international markets such as India and China.
Right fit: A file photo of customers choosing jeans at Big Bazaar in Noida. The Indian jeanswear market is pegged at around Rs6,000 crore.
These denimwear brands, however, admit that they are not expecting huge sales volumes right at the start.
“Sales volume is not the sole criterion why we would go for e-selling. For that, we have our retail expansion strategy in place,” said Panchal of Lee Cooper.
Sukhramani also explained that the Indian consumer is waking up to a whole new experience of shopping in the contemporary Indian retail scenario and will take a while to get used to buying online.
Most of these brands also realize that shopping for apparel, particularly something as fit-specific as a pair of jeans, on the Internet wouldn’t be an easy thing to achieve. Because whether they’ll actually fit is something customers won’t know till delivery, a factor that has kept some retailers away.
Cottons by Century, the apparel and retail brand by Century Textiles and Industries Ltd, for example, tried selling its products online in the last two years and failed miserably.
“The actual pick-up was very less,” said Subrata Siddhanta, business head, Cottons by Century.
“Commodities like apparel and furniture are very touch-and-feel items and are difficult to buy online.”