As India’s youth increasingly embrace a consumerist culture, it is not only restaurants and pubs that are reaping the benefits. Companies that sell clothes, shoes and fashion accessories are also seeing business perk up.
The proliferation of online shopping sites is a good indication of the changing lifestyle trends; people are ordering stuff from food to shoes online today. But there’s one area which has bucked this: party wear!
All this is set to change as BuyGlamour.in, a Bengaluru-based start-up aims to shake up the fashion e-commerce segment with a bouquet of services that the company claims has not been offered extensively or satisfactorily to customers, especially women.
No variety, and costly
“Whenever I had to go to a party I was compelled to go to retail outlets and try on clothes; there was little variety, and it was expensive to boot,” says Tharunya, co-founder of BuyGlamour.in. She, along with co-founder Neelam Rupesh, intend to offer a bouquet of services at an 'affordable' price. “The two biggest problems that a woman faces when buying outfits online are getting a properly priced outfit and access to a stylist to see if the look goes well on her,” she adds.
The start-up has two in-house designers; they are also talking to design students across the country who can put up their creations on the website. “You will be surprised how many people have an interest in designing clothes; we want to give them a platform to showcase their talent,” says Tharunya.
Depending on the terms, the start-up will have a revenue sharing arrangement. Further, it does not want to follow the conventional e-commerce business model of subsidising purchases but wants to build a tech setup that can make recommendations to shoppers based on their profile and preferences.
Apart from party wear, BuyGlamour.in is also eyeing the ethnic clothes segment, dominated by large players like Manyavar and e-commerce companies like Fashionara, Jabong, amongst others. New apps like Voonik, are also starting to get traction; it recently got $5 million in Series A funding from Sequoia Capital and Seedfund to enable personalisation and style recommendation technology.
According to digital marketing agency FusePump, the average fashion shopper visits 2.9 different sites before each apparel purchase, 11.4 site visits in total and considers each of these purchases for 27 days.
BuyGlamour.in has stylists available 24x7 to identify the right look, which is a combination of an outfit, a style and correct accessories. “You can select a convenient time slot, select a stylist you like and the stylist will be there with you to help you pick out outfits and accessories,” says Rupesh. Once the outfit is chosen, the company delivers it within 2-7 days.
Another unique feature BuyGlamour.in claims it has over competitors is with regard to a 'makeover'. “If you are a guy and want to show your affection for a loved one, you can gift her a makeover,” says Tharunya.
Currently, these services are offered free, according to the company; the cost is likely built into the offerings, industry watchers say. While the start-up is still in very early stages, Neelam says that they are seeing good traction and they have 100 customers using their clothing and accessories-related products.
One of the other areas in which the BuyGlamour.in believes it can make an impact is to create an ecosystem for upcoming and budding fashion designers. “There are a lot of people in their 20s who are very passionate about designing and they can use our platform,” asserts Rupesh. As an example, he says they are also looking to build a team of designers from National Institute of Fashion Technology and other private institutions.
The start-up is also looking to raise funding and is in the process of talking to investors. “The funding will be used in technology as well as on getting more designers on-board to improve our catalogue,” says Rupesh.
BuyGlamour.in has its work cut out as it competes against the likes of Fashionara, which has a video catalogue and provides options to consumers such as Try@Home, Instant Exchange and recently introduced – ‘Alterations', which allows a consumer to make changes in the clothes ordered.
However, Rupesh sees the market opportunity as large enough. In the crowded e-commerce segment, which is expected to clock $50 billion in sales by 2020, fashion forms a miniscule pie. However, analysts point out that sales in this category have doubled in 2014 to reach $559 million when compared to 2013.