Impact of Fashion on Indian Retail Business

Impact of Fashion on Indian Retail Business

In our nation obsessed with fashion, movies, cricket, news, and politics we tend to mix spices into everything whether it is food or lifestyle. Today, being fashion conscious and updated is not only limited to clothes, but also to food, accessories, education and almost every service or product we consume while being awake or asleep. This is in fact very good. After all, this is what we are famous for.

Reach of Indian Fashion Around the World

Like our world-renowned spicy food, Indian embroidery and surface embellishments are famous in garment designing world over. Designers like John Galliano, Gucci, Dior and Prada take inspiration from here and extensively use our craft, while Christian Louboutin and Judith Leiber go on to make exclusive collections for India.

The Indian fashion scene is changing rapidly. With the opening of high-end malls and hordes of exclusive boutiques in, brands and high-end designs are being offered to the Indian market; which in turn leaping at it. Many top fashion designing colleges in India are offering cutting edge programs to train professionals who are on par with top fashion designers from across the globe.

Bygone are the days of classic fashion, it’s the age of fads, now every six-month trends change in the market. We can see it and be felt around us. Stock replenishes in stores, so as consumer taste and visual merchandising. New colours arrive and suddenly, some styles are in, while the others are out. This is due to increased purchasing power and “open to new” habits of we Indians. A huge percentage of Indians are youth. They use their disposable income in fancies and novelties.

Role of Malls in Indian Retail Fashion

A very indispensable spice for success of the Indian retail party is mall management. In India retail is still an emerging market having immense potential in terms of opportunity. In the current “Indian Retail Scenario” both consumers and retailers are in the stage of experimenting with getting more and more choice, yet a lot has to be done to elevate the Indian mall management practices to percolate the ecstatic shopping experience.

Exemplifying this, some of the malls have initiated to give lush green landscaping with seating facilities and the presence of food and beverage inside and outside the mall space which is roaring enough to garner shoppers` attention.

Mall management has been identified in India like developed markets as a critical factor for the success of malls and the retail industry across the world. This is true and convincing enough in the light of the fact and view of various mall managers that a mall has to look updated, glamorous, well-groomed at all times and its upkeep needs to be impeccable to fetch the foot traffic.

Therefore, mall positioning, zoning, tenant mix including developing the anchor store, facility management, maintenance management and events & marketing have been identified as core areas for mall management.

Even after considerable retail growth in India, famine of mall management firms lead to sloppy shopping experience. Many malls are managed unprofessionally by the real estate developers themselves. In many cases, mall management is limited to facility management leading to gaps in mall management practices.

An Insight into the Well-Run Indian Retail Business

After fetching the consumer with good mall management, it is very necessary to store the merchandise in the right quantity at the right time. Supply chain management is the tool for the issue. The four Cs Compression, conformance, co-operation, and communication are the four bases of plinth for success of supply chain management in the retail industry. Improper supply chain management certainly plunders the retail experience of the brand as well as the shopper.

Reduction in overall cycle time, favourable weather, labour management & efficiency, lucrative costing, ultra-modern delivery vehicles with tracking systems, highly mechanised warehousing are some of the conditions to keep the retail party spicy and vivacious. Shrinking life cycle of products due to volatile markets and rise of “Global” marketing (globalised marketing with local sensitivity) are putting the work of supply chain professionals in a real challenging playfield. But advanced communication and tracking systems are boon enough to have a fair play.

Access to multiple products like SAP, Baan, Oracle, JD Edwards give better tools to deliver. Personalised, Collaborative, real time, flexible and order tracking supply chain planning can go a long way to achieve immaculate supply chain management thus delivering the products to the consumer at the right time. Hence, network planning, inventory control, supply contracts, market forecast, strategic partnering and outsourcing & procurement strategies are the issues which need to be addressed and dealt with by every retail brand to procure and deliver the merchandise in the best interest of the target market.

Role of User Visual Merchandising in Retail Fashion

No party can be a real pleasure unless the good food has been served nicely. This applies to the Indian retail party as well. When a consumer visits a mall space or market space, he is moved by those stores which have a dainty grooming and do not appear to be a warehouse. This can be achieved through Visual Merchandising (VM). The idea behind VM is not to make a sale, but to take the speculative buyer or window shopper passing by or entering the store on a fairytale journey so as at the end of journey she will realise that the merchandise is the one which she really needs and was looking for, thus driving the actual purchase.

The entire experience in the store for a consumer needs to be “WOW”! From the windows, to the in-store displays, to the products/garments and their usage/fits, to the audio/visual communication shopping has to be a delight. The motive of VM is to charm the prospective consumer to stop, look and to buy using visual presentation. It includes Creation of windows and/or interior displays of merchandise throughout the store. VM staff showcase new ideas, concepts and products. Coordinates marketing, merchandising, and retailing to communicate with the targeted consumer. Presents design concepts and store layouts, develops the retail image. Supervises wall and counter displays.

Latest Trends in Visual Merchandising

It’s a matter of great pride that today our country can boast of progress and originality of ideas in the field of VM. Many international brands have come into the domestic market and changed the landscape & dynamics completely. Visual merchandising has come into its own, evolving from being a “Support function” initially, to now becoming an integral part of every brand. In-spite of this change there is still a lot of opportunity for us to learn from the international brands in terms of systems, fashion & styling, mannequins, lighting, types of fixtures, façade, etc. On a global perspective, brands invest much more in their windows and make bolder statements. At some level; creativity, themes, material experimentation, as well as the budgets that go into the shop displays need to be broadly expanded upon in Indian Retail Industry.

The visual merchandising trends of today find retailers using fixtures, lighting and colour to highlight featured products. Focal points are often developed in the middle of categories or aisle runs. This is referred to as micro-merchandising.Visual merchandising trends have also led retailers to sometimes include radius shelving in their product sets. Radii shelving are shelves with rounded front edges.

Product visuals are improved and the items featured have a distinct advantage over products that are adjacent and not featured. Current visual merchandising trends have seen overall fixture heights drop in many stores. By dropping fixture heights consumers can be enticed visually to explore other areas of the store.

Visual merchandising in stores is going digital. Modern kiosks and AI are being utilised, not only for presenting products in full colour, but also communicating and in a very literal sense, selling. These digital signs are silent salespersons on the floor.


VM being a great opportunistic field in the very near future. It will be more professional, more consumer responsive, even more creative & will reach new levels of excellence. India has such a rich culture and tradition; the mix of international exposure and our ethnic base can provide us with a window to showcase our unique sense of design and a very diverse set of consumers to appeal to. The possibilities are endless; that too when we have still, only partially scratched the surface in metro cities. The idea behind all these is to “Keep the Indian Retail Soiree going.”

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