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23-May-2015

Leading lifestyle brands in the country are planning to launch distinct product lines for online shopping sites, hoping that the move will prevent deep discount ecommerce sales from cannibalising their physical stores.

Future Group, ITC-owned Wills Lifestyle and John Players, Puma, Turtle and Max Retail are among the companies that will launch channel-specific products over the next three months.

"As a brand, it will be foolish not to acknowledge ecommerce and, hence, we plan to have a product differentiation strategy with this year's autumn-winter collection, which will reduce channel conflict," Abhishek Ganguly, managing director at Puma India said.

The trend among retailers is a reversal from nearly a year ago when most brands tried to fight off ecommerce players that thrive on a deep discounting strategy. The retailers now plan to create different merchandise, perhaps priced lower, which will help create newer sets of consumers.

"Since online shoppers are looking for value and the regular line is getting discounted, we will create a separate line to prevent conflict," Amit Ladsaria, director of fast-fashion brand Turtle said. The brand will sell products online with 10 per cent lower price-tags. These products will be of different fabric and design than what is available at its physical stores.

"Younger shoppers are dominant in ecommerce and they prefer more vibrant colours, so we will make sure more colour choice is available online than may be in our stores," Atul Chand, divisional chief executive for lifestyle retailing at ITC Ltd said.

According to a recent UBS report, the online apparel market can grow to 21.7 billion US Dollar in the next five years. This effectively means that relevant consumers will buy 40 per cent of their apparel and footwear online by 2020 in India.

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