Leather shoes, bags and accessories as a sector has been one of the biggest sufferers throughout the pandemic period and were the last segment to register themselves on the recovery path. There has been a growth in digital channels shopping and with customers wanting to avoid crowded retail stores, the demand for e-commerce is bound to grow exponentially.
Analyzing the industry situation from a leather bag, footwear and accessories perspective, Nina Lekhi, MD, Baggit feels that brands need to emphasize more on digitalisation, modernisation, Omnichannel and e-commerce platforms to announce industry’s revival in the coming months.
“At Baggit, we are utilising digital transformation in all key areas of operations. Starting from the way the design process is curated to make sure that we are updated continuously on whatever stock covers that we are keeping across various product categories and across various consumer segments. We are integrating our ERP system with all other sources of information and using a layer of business intelligence on top of the ERP to get critical support in terms of creating efficiency with respect to crunching the supply chain and making sure the inventory turns are better,” says Lekhi.
“The extent of modernisation and use of technology is still low, and is one of the main reasons for the labour intensive nature of the industry,” she adds further.
“The only area where offline retail scores over online retail is the fact that in many categories, like touch and feel category, is where the consumers would really like to try on her or himself. Physical retail offers an edge. In addition, If physical retail were to support sales people, who are experts in the product and category, who can advise the customers to navigate through a myriad of choices within the brand and across the brands, that is something which is difficult to replicate online. Even though the online presentation can be as detailed and as granular as one would like it to be, nothing can really replace a face to face interaction with a human being, which is possible only offline,” says Lekhi.
‘Customer Service Area’ is the sole focus of Baggit currently, and the brand is building a new UI / UX on their website, with built-in personalized experiences, one to one customer service and unique views of the Baggit shopping experience.
“Authentic micro influencers who truly believe in the brand are a powerful tool for us in building engagement. As part of our conversion funnel, we are going to be an Omnichannel partner with the largest e-commerce platforms. Conversational chats for closing transactions, geo fencing, and marketing automation are already part of the essential steps to drive conversion,” says Lekhi.
FY22 so far has been quite diverse for Baggit. Commenting on the business cycle and expectations, Lekhi states, “The first three months of FY22, which is April to June has been lackluster because of not having access to markets due to the state wise lockdowns. Having said that, we see improvement in the month of June with online probably topping the best ever in our history and going forward from July to March, we expect some normalcy to come even in offline retail. We really think that offline retail will probably find it difficult to hit 100 per cent of normalcy even by March 2022. We hope the offline loss is offset by the increase in Online.”
“Investing in infrastructure is another good move, which will eventually have a trickledown effect on improving the money circulation, employment generation and increase in disbursable income. Online plus offline put together, FY 22 is going to be the best for our company. Leaving aside FY 21, which was basically the COVID Year,” she concludes.