In today’s world of retail, it is impossible to come across brands that have not expressed an interest in being present everywhere. Owing to the need of businesses that want to reach every single customer through every single available platform, ‘Omnichannel’ has become a buzzword that has been making its rounds endlessly, from one business owner to another and from one customer to another.
Here’s a quick guide into what Omnichannel really means followed by an in-depth review on brands that have achieved both profit and growth by becoming Omnichannel.
- What is Omnichannel?
Omnichannel commerce is a multichannel approach to sales that is focused on providing seamless customer experiences across multiple channels. The goal is to create a consistent experience at every touch point whether the customer is shopping online from a mobile device, on a laptop, or in a brick-and-mortar store.
- Why is it so Important?
According to Harvard Business Review, 73% of all customers use multiple channels during their purchase journey.
The State of Commerce Experience 2021 shows that almost half (44%) of B2C buyers and 58% of B2B buyers say they always or often research a product online before going to a physical store. Even when in-store, they will still go online to continue their research.
Based on such prominent e-commerce studies, a great Omnichannel strategy is when a brand manages to unify all of the platforms that it operates through so its customers can gain a seamless shopping experience that is informative, unified, wholesome, and personalized.
Therefore, the goal for businesses is to focus on the entire customer experience — not the customer’s individual experiences on individual channels.
Brands That Mastered Omnichannel in India
Raymond Ltd first started its journey in 1925 as a woolen mill in Mumbai. In 1944, Lala Kailashpat Singhania took over the mill and since then, the brand grew to become analogous with class, elegance, and individuality which is evident to date in their men’s fashion.
In 2015, Raymond became the first textile company in the world to produce Super 250s and innovative fabrics. Today, Raymond stands strong in the retail market with its 97-year-old expertise. It is a textile powerhouse with modern infrastructure and strong fiber-to-fabric manufacturing capabilities.
The brand has a strong grip in many different verticals – Fashion, FMCGs, fragrances, and more. Its products are constantly moving around and have a high market and consumer demand.
At India Fashion Forum 2023, Bidyut Bhanjdeo, CEO of Raymond Ltd talks about how and why a legacy and an offline first brand like Raymond decided to go online and incorporate Omnichannel workings into its business model.
He tells us, “We are known to be a physical company but we realized that the customer today is flirting between different channels so we started off by creating myraymond.com where we could showcase our products…We started small by promoting through our own stores, but we realized that the journey is much larger than that. That is when we started participating in different marketplaces and getting different deals on both B2B and B2C domains.”
Speaking about how businesses were forced to change during the pandemic in response to the changing needs of the customers, he adds, “The pandemic leapfrogged the industry by 5 years, we were left with no option but to be as e-commerce ready as one could possibly be.”
“Right now we have integrated our entire CRM into the myraymond.com website and run our entire Omnichannel through it. As we speak, we are migrating into connecting all our stores and warehouses through the websites to each other as well as the marketplace.”
Going Omnichannel has enhanced Raymond’s market presence as a modern brand with a rich and reliable legacy. Due to technological advancement, the brand saw a 70 to 80% year-on-year growth from 2020 – 2023.
Fossil ranks among one of the most popular brands in watches and accessories in the United States. It designs, markets, and distributes fashion watches, leather goods, sunglasses, and other merchandise for retail sale on an international basis.
Fossil grew quickly during the 1980s, propelled by the unique designs of its watches, which were inspired by magazine advertisements from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. After recording phenomenal success with the sale of its watches in the United States, the company entered international markets and diversified its product line.
Fossil started operations in India in 2005. It sells its products through more than 500 stores, including Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle and Helios.
Amit Sharma, Head of Digital Sales & Ops, APAC & EMEA at Fossil Group, Inc. in an exclusive conversation, talks to us about the brand’s digital independence and omnipresence in the Indian retail market.
He says, “For a global brand like ours, it is also important to understand that Fossil is known for its digital-first approach. We take pride in telling everyone that we are close to a 50% mark in digital sales.”
He speaks about market competition and the brand’s closest competitors being Apple and Samsung watches. Adding insights on how the brand differentiates itself in the market in terms of communications, he says, “Fossil follows a 4P strategy – Product, Price, Place and Promotional Strategy. How we make our brand different from Samsung or Apple is that we create different customer segments. From a product and price standpoint, our products are available from a range of $7 to $400. From a place standpoint, we are available in 175 marketplaces globally and have 30 D2C sites.”
“We are also available across all larger stores globally and when it comes to promotions, we create them considering all our customers in every area. By treating customers as our guests, we increase our repeat rate – which is already in the double digits.”
Owing to a strong market presence and high amounts of digital sales in the country, the operating revenue of FOSSIL India Private Limited is in the range of over INR 500 crore for the financial year ending on 31 March 2022.
Van Heusen in India is owned by Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited (ABFRL). The brand is India’s No. 1 premium lifestyle brand for men, women, and youth. With a rich heritage of 128 years, the brand entered India in 1990. Since then, the brand has consistently been ahead of the curve in understanding the evolving fashion needs of Indian Professionals.
Today, Van Heusen is regarded as one of the best brands in the ready-to-wear category and is not only the most preferred workwear brand but also one that effortlessly straddles the entire spectrum of occasions like casuals, ceremonial and partywear.
Designed with an appreciation for fabric, finish and silhouette, Van Heusen continually provides consumers with better quality and innovative fashion at prices that are more affordable than designer or luxury brands. Because of these factors, the brand provides its customers with clothing that is a perfect blend of value, fashion and function.
Today, Van Heusen has reassured its place in the market as a company that knows how to keep up with changing times by responding to customer needs. In 2015, the brand unveiled its first digitally immersive flagship store – Van Heusen Style Studio – in Bengaluru’s Indiranagar.
At the store, shoppers are greeted by a 42-inch, digital display called ‘Today’s Briefing’ that offers the ‘look of the day,’ which informs what’s new in-store, while giving out styling tips and updates on new fashion trends.
Next to the display is the ‘Fit Scanner’ enclosure, where the customer is scanned by an infrared device, after which, measurements, right from the collar circumference, shoulder width, to the chest, bust, hip, etc are generated and are used to identify the right fit for shirts, trousers, dresses, etc.
Additionally, the store also has a ‘Style Bar’ digital display that helps customers to identify their style personality by answering a few questions. Without having to step into a physical trial room, customers can even choose to virtually preview selected shirts, trousers etc, on themselves using the Virtual Trial Mirror.
By using digital tools like these, the brand has unified what it provides on its websites with its stores while simplifying the entire shopping experience seamlessly.
“There is an opportunity for all of us here. Growth is happening across all cities, including Tier 4 and 5. The modern consumer is updated, social media savvy and internet penetration is high. There is a huge story which is going to be played out and it’s going to be India’s story,” said Vishak Kumar, CEO, Madura Fashion & Lifestyle at the India Fashion Forum 2023. (Madura Fashion & Lifestyle is a part of ABFRL under whose aegis Van Heusen falls).
Zivame was founded in 2011 with the vision of helping women uninhibitedly shop for intimate wear. Although it started as a digital-first brand, today, Zivame is an Omnichannel retailer.
In India, women’s lingerie brands typically do not offer a lot of information to educate their customers on how to get measured by size. Women might also be put off from asking relevant questions if the member of sales in the store is a male.
To fill these loopholes in the lingerie sector, and help women make educated choices in their purchases, online lingerie retailer, Zivame, launched ‘fitting lounges’, where customers can just walk in and enter their details on a tab. Following this, professional fitters at the lounge then go on to help them discover their right size and also provide expert advice when it comes to the style and type of options available in the market.
The lounge also allows customers to make an online purchase right then and there if needed. Thus, the fitting lounge is aimed at providing customers with a perfect touch-and-feel experience that is Omnichannel through its integration with its online store.
30% of Zivame’s sales come from its online platform. Whether it is sales or marketing, Zivame takes the lead from the consumer. Digital is the most integral thing in all that the brand does.