With businesses picking up over the last few weeks, apparel and lifestyle retailers expect a boost in sales in the upcoming festive season. They expect the upcoming Diwali and wedding season to help them perform better than the lockdown period though full recovery in not expected at least for the next six months.
Deepak Bansal, Director, Cantabil Retail India aims to achieve around 40 per cent growth this festive season. Bansal expects his brand to reach around 75 per cent of previous year’s growth levels. He has introduced new merchandize and festive offers to attract customers though he does not expect the market to function at pre-pandemic levels before the next financial year.
Festive season to release lockdown demand
Aarti Ahuja, Head-Marketing, TCNS Clothing Co says, though there is a sale revival of festive products including ethnic dresses, accessories, and attires, current demand does not match normal demand. However, Uday Mohan, Managing Partner- North & West India, Havas Media believes, the festive season might release a lot of pent-up demand with retailers enticing customers with a plethora of deals.
Sanjay Vakharia, CEO, Spykar, also believes the festive period might be comparatively better than rest of the year. However, retailers’ real test would come in the following months when business will depend on a lot of other variables, he adds.
Exploring all growth channels
The lockdown drove customers to online shopping and increase focus on e-commerce retail models. To leverage this trend, Cantabil strengthened its digital channel while TCNS Clothing is exploring omni-channel retail. Retailers are also offering heavy discounts to attract customers. Future Group is offering 60 per cent discount on apparels through third-party online sales, including Amazon India, and also offline sales through own retail chains such as Big Bazaar and fbb.
Focus on personalized interaction with customers
Brands have started promoting their products through the ATL and BTL modes. TCNS is exploring all mediums of advertising including print, outdoor, TV as well as OTT to reach its customers. The brand is creating personalized messages for both its online and offline consumers.
Brands are also experimenting with initiatives like hyper-local pop-up stores and virtual store visits, says Ahuja. Her brand TCNS Clothing is exploring influencer marketing in a more structured and sustained manner. Similarly, Cantabil is creating personalized communications for its offline and online consumers channels through SMS campaigns, influencer engagements, or strategic digital campaign.
Brands are also launching innovative marketing campaigns with their maximum focus being on digital marketing, says Siddharth Bindra, Managing Director, Biba. The brand is engaging existing consumers through its CRM tool and is very active online.
Spark missing this diwali
However, despite promotions, discounts and more the market seems to be low even a few days prior to Diwali. What’s more there is little hope about matching last year’s turnover. Besides Covid, stores are facing the double whammy of online price war and a conservative stance by consumer loan companies, in wake of the current situation, traders points out media report. In normal times, retailers begin booking their stock a month before the festival. They say, this year pending orders not executed in January-February are only being released. Payments are also down. Demand is low at retail stores. Malls too are reporting moderate rise in sales. As the festival draws near there maybe some spurt in sales but it is not expected to last or tide over difficult times, feel retailers.