Fashion e-tailers bet big on tech-savvy male consumers

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He has to shop for himself. He hates it. But he needs clothes for work, and that party on Saturday. Also shoes. Maybe a belt. He will have to go to the mall, but it’s so crowded over the weekends. A day off from work?
Men have it tough when it comes to shopping. What is retail therapy for women is not a lot of fun for men. However, studies have shown that men do shop online – a lot!
Debunking the myth that women shop online more than men, Sokrati – a Pune-based multi-channel performance marketing platform for Online Retail – found in a survey that Indian men make three times more online purchases than women.
The findings were based on over 1.6+ billion user events, 1.4+ million buyers who did over 2 million transactions over period of three months between January to March 2016.
The study also revealed that not only do men make more purchases, their conversion rates are higher than women with about 21 per cent higher Average Order Value.
The tedium men encounter while shopping and studies like the one Sokrati conducted combined have helped e-commerce portals make up their minds, and redraw the online commercial landscape with the launch of two portals exclusively for men.
Mr Voonik for Men
Voonik recently announced the launch of Mr Voonik, an app dedicated to men’s fashion. One of India’s largest and fastest growing fashion marketplace, Mr Voonik will not only offer a wide choice of men’s clothing and accessories, but will also save shopping time for men with the highly coveted personalisation services that are a rarity in this segment.
ALSO READ: Mr Voonik to solve shopping problems for men
Mr Voonik comes with a highly advanced style recommendation engine that promises to give a very relevant product selection to each consumer. Online stylists will help customers handpick the best clothes based on their body type, colour choice, budget and style preferences.
When asked why Voonik decided to shift focus to the men’s category, the company’s Co Founder & CTO Navaneetha Krishnan told Indiaretailing Bureau: “The biggest reason for the shift is that the men’s category is under-served. You currently see fashion as just one of the many segments on large online portals. Even there, the collection for men is very repetitive. If you check across platforms, you will notice the same deeply discounted last season styles on big brands in men’s collection. But we all know that there is a huge market of unbranded men’s wear that men mostly buy offline. The opportunity in this segment is huge, because men also have the same need for looking good everyday to make an impact at their workplaces.”
“We at Voonik are working towards our commitment of becoming India’s largest online fashion destination. Within three years of inception, with 8 million downloads and 10 million registered users, we have become the top women’s fashion app in the country. Women love the ‘women only’, personalised shopping experience of Voonik. When we surveyed men, we realized they too were very excited about an men-only fashion app that could show them a personalised collection based on their body, lifetsyle, and taste preferences,” he added.
Krishnan said that the response so far has been overwhelming with Mr Voonik crossing 6,000 daily shipments already.
“Our customers frequently explore the stylists’ picks and give us the proof of concept that men are as style conscious as women and Mr Voonik is the right platform to every man who wants his clothes perfect. We have already surpassed all milestone targets we set out for the first eight weeks of operations,” he told Indiaretailing Bureau.
There are more than 3,500 sellers live and more than 200,000 products listed on the Mr Voonik platform.
“Within the next two months we expect to add another 500,000 products. However, we are more focused on quality than quantity. So we are scaling in a controlled manner, ensuring that every product delivers the quality the customer expects at the time of ordering,” added Krishnan.
Limeroad makes inroads into menswear category
Voonik is not the only fashion e-tailer to foray into the men’s category. Limeroad also decided to tap into this potential male customer base and entered the menswear category with the launch of a their segment – Limeroad for Men – in a move that is likely to help the company boost revenue.
ALSO READ: Limeroad launches menswear category
The four-year-old company, founded by former ebay and Facebook employees, has introduced its men’s range with about 60,000 products along with a lakh of scrapbooks for men.
The price range of the products for men begins at Rs 300. The company has three segments for men – super affordable (Rs 300-499), budget (Rs 500-999) and premium which go upwards of Rs 1,000. The e-tailer currently has 23 sub-categories of apparel and accessories from over 250 Indian and international brands.
The categories include top and bottom wear, ethnic wear and innerwear, among others. Colorplus, Globus, Raymond, Armani, Cross, Park Avenue, Pepe Jeans, Spykar, and Metro are some of the brands available on the site.
“Our mission is to build India’s most extensive discovery platform, driven by unique engaging content. We started out solving the problem first for women, and tackled the most fragmented of supplier and option ranges, enabling women to discover local and global trends like ikat, gota patti, palazzos or fringes and botanical prints, pretty much as soon as they are first seen,” LimeRoad founder and CEO Suchi Mukherjee had said in a statement when the site was launched.
“All of this at super affordable prices. We will now bring this same discoverability to Indian men. We are ultimately democratizing fashion,” she had added.
With Internet penetration in India expected to reach 462 million this year, and e-commerce estimated to be worth $38 billion, these e-commerce portals have a large customer base to cater to.
Add to this the facts that menswear has seen an explosion in popularity and growth in the past two decades, and is still ever on the increase, and men have been spending more on their outfits each year for well over a decade now.  There is also the point that male clothing was the fastest-growing category in online retail between 2010 and 2015.
All this buoyed the confidence of e-tailers in their realization that men’s fashion is no more an afterthought and in their decisions to launch fashion portals only for men.
“I see a lot of value in having a Men-only shopping platform. If you add everything from fashion to gadgets to a single platform, then there will be no differentiation and you become one of the many shopping sites. I think most of the fashion platforms already have a full-fledged offering for men along with women and teenagers. But going forward we might see an increased focus on putting men’s and women’s collection separately. Also, men’s ethnic is a category which is bought largely offline. In the coming months we will see a large presence of ethnics for men across all online platforms,” Krishnan concluded.
(With inputs from Mehak Sharma, Indiaretailing Bureau)

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