Flipkart to co-develop virtual fashion brand stores



Flipkart is planning a blitzkrieg in its fashion lifestyle category that has helped bring in a new demographic of online shoppers, including younger buyers in the age group of 20 to 27 years and those in tier II and III cities. As part of that plan, India’s e-commerce poster boy is tying up with top lifestyle brands to roll out dedicated online brand stores, subsets to Flipkart’s main store.

While the company has said that co-developed brand stores would be rolled out in the next two to three months, Flipkart’s store already shows a newly launched Puma brand store. The store stocks only Puma merchandise and has been styled to reflect Puma’s image as a premium lifestyle brand. Deals and discounts have been cloaked under ‘featured picks’ that one sees lower down in the virtual store, unlike in the main Flipkart store where good deals are highlighted.

“Brand stores will be co-created along with the brands. We choose the brand only if we believe that there are very strong brand loyalists wanting to buy that brand,” said Shoumyan Biswas, senior director, marketing, Flipkart. Biswas, however, didn’t speak to TOI about the Puma store, which perhaps is a pilot project.

Brands may like the idea because of Flipkart’s reach, something that may not be possible to build with their own virtual stores. Flipkart’s creation of a brand store will be directly indexed to the number of searches, visits, and transactions of a particular brand. “The concept is very similar to shop-in-shop formats that you see in an offline retail store. And one could move to a monetization model where the brand is paying for the visibility, like is the case offline,” added Biswas.

TOI had reported last month that American lifestyle clothing retailer Gap was finalizing a deal with e-commerce portal Myntra to launch its online store in India.

Fashion lifestyle as an e-tailing category is clocking growth in excess of 100%, with players like Snapdeal expecting to hit Rs 1,000 crore in fashion revenue by the end of this year. The segment straddles everything from apparel to the entire gamut of fashion accessories including sunglasses and fragrances.

Flipkart made a big push into fashion lifestyle last year, supplementing its core verticals of electronics, books, and DVDs. Today, one out of four customers who transacts on Flipkart for the first time does so in the lifestyle category. And it has helped to bring in a new demographic – these shoppers are in the age group of 20 to 27 years, as compared to Flipkart’s core audience in the age group of 30 to 35 years. It has also helped bring in buyers in tier II and III cities where many lifestyle brands have still not been able to establish distributors and retailers.

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