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Indian fashion retailers keep fingers crossed on rising online clicks without commensurating profits

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Most Indian fashion retailers continue to ponder whether the online clicks are worthy enough to make profits. At the 2nd day of India Fashion Forum 2019, panelists expressed fear that several online customers prefer to see it online but prefer to purchase physically at the stores.

Online retailing, which was considered as the end in itself is now being realized as only a stepping stone or a marketing effort by a number of fashion retailers.

In recent years, companies have continued to focus on building their online presence through both e-commerce marketplaces as well as their own digital platforms, thus seeking to tap into consumer demand for convenience, revealed the India Business of Fashion Report 2019 released at the forum.

Free delivery, easy payment options such as cash on delivery, frequent discounts, a wide product range and the ability to compare products and prices have made online shopping both easy and convenient, the report said.

But the fact remains that consumers still prefer to have a touch and feel of the product particularly when it comes to fashion that attracts them to the trial room of the brick and mortar physical retail store, panelists said.
The report also highlights the continued dominance of store-based retailing following the personalized experience that it offers to the consumers.

With internet users expected to reach 840 million by 2022 and the speed at which this ‘click-and-sell’ model has panned, the reach of fashion and apparel has increased manifold. Young consumers in the country too are shifting towards online purchasing due to several factors, such as convenience, easy comparison with other brands and availability in locations where physical stores are absent, to name a few, the report said.

However, average retail entrepreneurs, who spend almost 30 percent on promotional activity, are left to manage their uncertain risk with a meager operating profit of 10 percent, the panelists said.

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