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Shweta Singh, a 24-year-old graphic designer based in New Delhi, has placed an online order for a pair of gym shoes. “I got these high-performance shoes for almost half the price. As my office has asked me to work from home till July, I have started gymming at home and need shoes," she said.

Lifestyle and fashion brands are offering attractive discounts of between 20% and 50% on new collections and additional offers on prepaid orders to woo customers and boost sales amid the nationwide lockdown.

Brands such as Vero Moda, Woodland, Puma, Bath and Body Works have adopted a ‘buy now and ship later’ policy and have been pushing offers on e-commerce platforms, as well as their own websites, to keep sales going as most offline stores remain stay shut and revenues dry up.

Third-party e-commerce platforms such as Myntra, Tata Cliq, Ajio, Koovs.com and Shein have also started taking orders to be delivered in orange and green zones.

Discounts will help ease the liquidity burden on retailers and will also keep customers interested in the brands as the country gradually restores normalcy, according to retail experts.

Fashion is one of the hardest hit categories due to the lockdown, said Ankur Bisen, senior vice president, retail and consumer, at Technopak, a management consulting firm.

Fashion merchandise has a shelf-life of three to four months barring core fashion, Bisen said. Brands rotate this inventory every quarter and that is how it becomes capital efficient. This cycle has been disrupted by the lockdown, he said.

“The current inventory brands have will not be relevant once the market fully opens and this has created liquidation pressure. Brands have to sell off inventory. Therefore, they are incentivizing consumers (through discounts and offers) to buy products," he explained.

However, a lot of bargain hunters will not latch on to online shopping despite the discounts, noted internet economy expert Sreedhar Prasad. There are about 100 million online shoppers in India of whom only 30% are regular shoppers. Of these only a portion is not financially impacted by covid-19. This segment of consumer will shop at this time.

“I believe these shoppers are not discount driven. They have stable jobs with regular income flowing in and steady savings, they don’t mind spending 2,000 or more," Prasad said.

Bisen added, “Fashion conscious consumers who have been eyeing high-cost branded shoes or apparel available on a discount will end up buying."

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