Kishore Biyani-led Future Retail launched fast fashion brand Cover Story almost two-and-half years back with an aim to take international brands like Zara and H&M head on.
The company then proceeded to set up a design house based out of London to develop cutting edge fast fashion. This design house was dubbed Future Style Lab, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Future Group, which developed and procured styles for Cover Story. And since then there has been no looking back.
According to Manjula Tiwari, CEO, Future Style Lab, a fantastic growth has been seen for the brand, in terms of its popularity with customers and retailers alike. “Being just a 2.5 year old brand, Cover Story has established itself as a formidable competitor in the fast fashion space to international players. The brand is among one of the very few Indian brands to be present on ground floor locations across the leading malls in India, a great indication of the journey so far.”
“We place customers in the centre of all that we do. Our product is a blend of latest trends and suitability in the Indian context and that has struck the right chord with our customers,” she adds.
The target audience of the fast-fashion brand is the 23 to 40 year old, financially independent woman with a rising disposable income which she loves to splurge on frequent shopping trips.
“She thrives on social media, is a traveller in spirit and embraces new experiences. She frequently seeks to refresh her wardrobe. Feminine and eclectic, she switches effortlessly between Indian and western wear. Dressing up for her is a form of self-expression. She is modern but rooted,” says Tiwari.
All Cover Story outlets are designed to recreate the intimate boutique and provide a comfortable shopping experience. The layout is layers of transparency with opacity, which encourages a sense of discovery while shopping.
“A warm and neutral palette has been chosen for the store as well as all the equipment in it. Colours such as Rose Gold have been opted for, to give the place a feminine touch, to help women identify with the store,” states Tiwari.
The display panels in the store are designed to look like magazine editorials. Exclusive fashion clusters display merchandise as if they were stories, luring women into reading them.
Visual merchandising is done by and premium in-store windows are designed by London stylists on the lines of international luxury brands. The cash counter mimics a woman’s vanity bag, while changing rooms have seating for the comfort of waiting friends and family.
“Customers can browse tablets with fashion content and styling tips. Cover Story’s in-store ‘selfie booths’ are bound to create brand excitement. Consumers can browse through stores and merchandise, share their personal information, and then have their shopping home delivered,” asserts Tiwari.
Shoppers can even make a request for sizes not currently available at the store. A personal shopper then locates the size from other outlets and delivers it to consumer.
The brand offers around 450 SKUs per season under the categories like dresses, tops, tees, trousers, skirts, shorts, jackets and sweaters.
“We also do footwear and bags and are planning to launch a jewellery and accessories line,” reveals Tiwari.
“Dresses and tops are our fastest moving categories because we provide a wide variety in both categories for all occasions. Also these categories are generally the most sought after categories by women in general,” she adds.
The marketing strategy of the brand is a healthy mix of generating brand awareness and driving traffic to the stores to convert to sales.
According to Tiwari, “We ensure our campaign imagery is of high quality and for that we shoot internationally to bring forth the true image of the brand, being designed in London. Locally, we rely on heavy mall activations and branding to steer the customer to our stores. We also turn to Instagram as a great tool to highlight our fashion authority in the market along with a lot of support from celebs and influencers.”
“We believe the future of consumer engagement is to get personal – create a connect with the consumer through great experiences. We intend to bring our customers a connect to our London designers with regular events and interaction, and to create constant content around international fashion and style to establish Cover Story as a go to fashion authority for the Indian consumer,” she adds.
The brand, which has 23 EBOs, 61 SIS across the country and presence on 5 online channels, will cross 100 doors by the end of this year.
“We have been more than doubling the turnover every year and same store sales growth has been in the health double digits. Currently online contributes 5 percent to the overall revenue and we see it growing significantly in the times to come,” concludes Tiwari.