Disney’s new adaptation of the movie Cinderella reminded us of two things.
One, fairy tales are timeless!
Two- Glass slippers are not just for little girls! Every economy NEEDS them!
Remember that iconic moment in P.S. I Love You, when Holly finds her metaphorical wings and starts designing shoes? Which lady does not love a good pair of shoes, we ask? Most women love jewelry, shoes, clothes, make-up, shopping; in that order. Well shopping constitutes all the other parameters.
But then, it is not only the ladies that love shoes is it? Men have been wearing hunting boots, and dance shoes and formal shoes and casual shoes forever too. And yes we do remember the lavish dressing of the French court in the times of Marie Antoinette, not to mention the Austrian, Russian, German, and English courts!
After having such roots associated with footwear, why would WE not discuss our very own favorites here?! To us, at IntelligenceNODE, footwear is divided into categories like shoes, boots, heels & wedges, flip flops, sandals, et al.
Footwear today is synonymous with fashion. And the various international fashion weeks every year bear witness. The footwear industry is growing exponentially. When we talk numbers, footwear itself was an INR 25,000 crore category circa 2013. And it is growing- 15% a year!
The conventional concept that shoes are bought only when needed is now changing. With John Lobb launching in India, where a bespoke pair of shoes cost anywhere up to INR 6 lacs, it is clear that people are ready to rise out of their self imposed ‘shoe-string’ budgets, when it comes to buying shoes.
Indian retailers today have to compete with international brands like Pavers England, Clarks, Aldo, Charles & Keith, Crocs, Skechers, etc.
So there are quite a few questions that many etailers face when selling footwear.
Should I sell luxury brands on my website? How should I decide price margins? How can I earn profits, as well as consumer loyalty at the same time? Augmenting newer brands on my website will be great for them; will it be great for me? How do I predict if a new brand will be a success? And what should be my initial estimate on demand when it comes to a not so famous brand?
The retail footwear segment in Indian is very price sensitive and has been steadily growing. The branded shoe market only accounts for 20% of the entire market. While men’s footwear is the biggest target category (contributing almost 48%), children’s (11%) and women’s lifestyle footwear (41%) is not behind.
In such a scenario, keeping sight of the important stuff becomes very difficult. But most eCommerce players have their own verification parameters when it comes to encouraging new brands. Myntra, for example, just yesterday started marketing the famous summertime shoe brand Soludos.
Very different, and not that expensive for the millennial shopper, these are! The other various brands that you get in stores: names like Catwalk, Metro, Bata, Mochi, Sole to Soul, Tresmode, etc, are also available online. It is surprising to know that just a few years ago, these brands could only be found in a particular city or area, and yet today, they leave footprints all over India; and may soon do so globally!
Additionally, with social media leaving such a heavy digital footprint, how does one combine the haute with the heel? How to bring high fashion on the feet of locals? Those gorgeous knee high boots on the models at the fashion week? Any takers?
The way forward is twofold, we think-
Take all those fashion bloggers, look books, and magazine moments seriously. Very seriously! These are the guys that influence fashion- through tweets, likes, shares, mentions, and sheer, uncanny, perseverance.
To share a little tidbid, we reserached and found that this season, sneakers are in. Globally. They are everywhere. From the runway in Paris and Milan to the streets of New York and London; and right here at the Amazon Fashion Week, most notably in Anju Modi‘s collection on the ramp.
Many eCommerce players already have a look book type blog- inspired by high fashion. And these have a button- ‘buy the look,’ or something similar to encourage sales.
The fashion pundits are not behind when it comes to advising on correct ways to carry a look, or anything fashion really. And getting these guys on board is the hottest thing one can do. Advising people? No. It’s called sharing stuff that people assumed, but were unsure about!
Let us demonstrate this one.
Now you are aware of international fashion, street style, seasonal trends, et al. You have your old and famous brands selling reasonably well. And your new brands are well received generally. And yet, there is room for so much more! You know this. You wish to give your consumers more than what they expect. Shoes in a box. Great branding. So what else is there you ask?
It is now time to stand on the other side. See what your consumers truly want. And give them that. Clicks and wish lists tell you that a particular consumer likes wedge heels. She may not buy them. But she likes them. You also know what colors she prefers, what material, what style she likes. And you know her budget, all thanks to some well applied analytics. So when she next logs in or accesses your app, she gets a notification- with wedge shoe designs in discount, that she will truly like. Ergo, she ends up buying a pair. You not only have a new customer; but also a loyal one, who will check your site, notifications and all- before going anywhere else.
What’s more, this particular customer recommends your app to others, shares your great logistics, delivery and customer support functions and shares her buy on social media, tagging you as well!Free publicity is the best publicity after all.
At IntelligenceNODE, we believe that this is very possible in today’s world. With the resources you have available at your fingertips, dear retailer, you can measure and grow with your consumers. You have already scaled many a ladder and taken many falls to reach your current position. We know this. And we know your brand, be it just you manufacturing shoe soles or the whole package, is a labor of love. That is why we find our association so positive and expansive!