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Brand Guru: Fabindia’s Isha Sharma on change in customer behaviour ,marketing trends and more

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India is a vast amalgamation of diverse cultures, with each state having its own sets of beliefs and clothing sense. The fashion industry is turning to be a booming sector and expected to be in a large market-space.  

According to a recent report, the global fashion market is expected to grow from $25.9 Billion in 2020 to $35.8 Billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $ 39.84 Billion in 2025.

Ahead of the pandemic, the fashion industry also slightly made a drift from formal clothes to loungewear, activewear and sportswear. The pandemic fashion has also brought forward varied ways for many companies to help them step into the omnichannel sector.

Fabindia provides a marketplace for the local artisans, handweavers, craftsmen etc. The company provides 55,000 craft rural producers to the urban marketplace. The brand was established in 1960 by John Bissel with an aim to export home retail, but gradually it jumped into the domestic retail market in 1976.

The company decided to pick an omnichannel route in 2019 for growth in the Indian market and further started banking on e-commerce platforms to drive the sales going forward.

In the pandemic, Fabindia started to grow by introducing various sections, collections and also came up with a new sub-brand FabNU.

Today in the Brand Gurus series we speak to Isha Sharma –  Head of Marketing & Digital Business – FabIndia to get the insights into the marketing strategies and changes that the company is making to create an identity in digital space. 

Q- How is the company coping up with the new customer trends?

With the onset of the pandemic, there were a lot of changes in consumer behaviour- such as change in apparel items, home decoration items. We are now focussing on what millennials of today’s generation expect from us. We are giving much attention to apparel and home category sections. 

 Q- Beyond FabNU, is the company planning to launch anything new?  

FabNU is the manifestation of an idea, which we came up with to provide multi-purpose items that are comfortable as well as fashionable. Under the FabNU banner, we are working on multi-functional garments that one can wear for different occasions. The fabrics we are using are soft in feel and more in sync with the style values of the younger audience. Right now, there’s no plan as such to launch any new brands.

Q- Fabindia is also planning to work on some marketing automation platform? 

Fabindia is trying to ensure that we come up as a separate SBU(Separate Business Unit), and  we are trying to understand what customers are expecting from us, how the buying trends have changed ahead of the pandemic. We are working hard to provide a holistic experience to our customers on website as well as on our application.

One of our core goals in 2020-21 is to come up with a customer-friendly experience.

Q- What is your brand approach to market research?

(Customers wise )  

The company keeps a close eye on customer trends, patterns, and how customers sought an approach to a particular category and price bands of different categories etc. 

We try to understand the movements of customer behaviour, and the company also gets a lot of understanding from the feedback of the customers from social media portals, websites etc.

The large section of data is stimulated to understand the needs of customers of Fabindia.

We categorise accordingly, and put it into actionables to provide a better customer experience.

(Competition wise) 

Competition is a part of the game. The idea is to focus on our business goals and become a leading player in the category. It is an imperative pulse to market research and we are trying hard to move from customers’ need to customers’ obsession. 

Therefore, we want to ensure that we can delight our customers in every part of the journey. 

Q- What are the most exciting marketing trends that are driving brands to growth and how is your company working on it?  

For us, the trends are more to do with what is going in the fashion industry, home décor. 

The major trends in the apparel segment is that people are looking for multi-functional items that they can wear on multiple occasions. And secondly, people are going for a mix-match concept like the Indo-Fusion category.

In the home décor segment multi-functional items are in trend, serve ware is becoming dominant as people are spending more time in having dinner or small meals. This category has picked up significantly for us and the home linen section has become extremely important for us.