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Amazon India gains style quotient as ads push pays off

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Bengaluru: Following Amazon India’s advertising push late last year towards promoting its fashion business, the company is reporting a significant increase in sales of apparel, footwear and jewellery. Fashion has become one of Amazon’s top three product categories over the past four months and the online retailer is further increasing its assortment of products, launching designer and jewellery stores on its website and introducing online-only brands as it seeks to become one of the most popular fashion destinations in India, said Vikas Purohit, head of fashion at Amazon India.

“Our apparel business has grown by 300% over the past three months. That’s proof of the pudding. In India, fashion shopping is mostly occasion-based and not in the spring-summer-autumn-winter pattern. Being a horizontal player, we can cater to all needs. For instance, if I have to shop for my travels, will I go to one place to buy apparel, one place to buy luggage, one place to buy shoes or a swimming costume. In a horizontal, you can buy all these things,” Purohit said. Amazon and its local rivals Flipkart and Snapdeal are all trying to increase sales of fashion products, which typically offer higher margins than electronics and books.  

Amazon needs to make a big push into fashion now, as rival Flipkart has built a dominant position in online fashion sales after acquiring Myntra in May. Indians bought fashion products worth $559 million online in 2013; this number may increase to $2.8 billion by 2016, according to an April report by venture capital firm Accel Partners, which is an investor in Flipkart. Apart from its advertising campaign, Amazon is spending heavily on marketing initiatives, such as sponsoring the India Fashion Week. Last week, the company launched a designer store on its website that offers clothes by well-known designers such as Rohit Bal and Manish Arora.


Amazon is working with the Fashion Design Council of India to increase collaboration with retailers, brands and designers across the country. The company will also launch its private-label fashion brands this year, The Economic Times reported on 10 February. “We are working with a lot of designers to help them understand and adapt to e-commerce so that they can reach a larger audience. A lot of them are working with our sellers or becoming sellers themselves on our platform to design different ranges that are relevant for Amazon customers. These ranges will have more accessible price points, more daily use than occasion-led. At some point, we will also get weavers and artisans to collaborate with designers to launch online-only brands,” Purohit said.

Over the past six months, Purohit has hired senior executives from several fashion retailers in India such as Madura Garments and Arvind Brands, as well as from online apparel retailers. These recruits include Vikram Raizada, a former chief executive officer of Tara Jewels, and Manish Saksena, ex-chief operating officer at Tommy Hilfiger India. Raizada is overseeing jewellery, one of Amazon’s fastest-growing products. The firm is in talks with regional jewellery retailers across the country to get them online. “We’ve launched a lot of the regional fine-jewellery brands and many more are in the process of getting on-boarded. We launched fashion jewellery one-and-a-half years back with 26,000 styles. Today, we have 350,000 styles. Sales for our sellers have grown by 3,000% over that time,” Purohit said.

Source : The Livemint



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