Features | 7 min read | by Dysco

How Leading Brands in India are Paving Digital Paths In the Retail World

Lightbox curated a panel discussion and networking event on 19th April, focussed on the intersection of retail and technology, where the executives and founders of successful leading brands (Raw Pressery, The Label Life, StyleCracker and Bombay Shirt Company) got together to share insights and discuss what makes their brands successful in the digital age,  enhancing customer experience and loyalty using technology, the balance between curation and scaling, and other key trends shaping and redefining the retail industry. We partnered with the event to share key learnings with our audiences, and offer ways in which people and brands can work and collaborate with these innovators to foster new relationships.

Who are the innovators redefining retail in India?

The discussion panel comprised of Anuj Rakyan, the managing director of Raw Pressery, Yashika Punjabee, the creative director of The Label Life, Dhimaan Shah, the managing director of StyleCracker, Akshay Narvekar, the founder of Bombay Shirt Company, moderated by Sandeep Murthy, partner at Lightbox. As the sun started to set, the balmy April air was long forgotten, as people’s pointed ears (and poised pens) were ready to take notes and draw connections to their individual ventures.

Content is key to cracking the market

The discussion started with a strong resolve, addressing questions around sustainable brand building and the value of content today. Simply posting on social media isn’t enough, in fact building a lasting relationship with customers is a much longer journey. “It is not the end of the StyleCracker experience once the customer receives our box, in fact it’s only the beginning. After a week of delivering the item, we then go back to the customer to check if they were satisfied with their box,” Dhimaan explained. StyleCracker is an online fashion store which understands your style through simple and easy questions, they then deliver a box of curated fashion goodies, customised for each customer. They share ideas for how to wear and style the items that you receive in the box, tips and tricks on what you can mix and match and even offer a chance for you to let them know if what you received isn’t up your alley. Sharing relevant content makes the relationship much more personal, and much more memorable.

 

It’s all about trial and error; learn from your successes and failures

“We are redefining the supply chain in India,” says Anuj Rakyan. The distribution of products with a short shelf life is a difficult market to crack. While products like juices and other beverages are consumed everyday, not everyone is ready to buy it from a store, or even knows where they can purchase it. Raw Pressery has had a breakthrough, which has come from spending time learning from mistakes and successes in the market. That being said, Raw has become a leading cold-pressed juice brand over the years, by extensive research, trial and error and making changes based on analysing key data points and patterns over time. It’s the successes that are embedded in the audience’s minds though, as their marketing strategies including active social media efforts and interactive events have maintained their motto ‘All Good. No Bad.’

Find those who love your product, and get them to stick

Akshay Narvekar takes a different approach to marketing however, stating “It’s about winning a group of loyal customers.” Even if the user acquisition cost is high, if they stay with you for life, then the return is much more than the initial cost. Bombay Shirt Company specialises in customisations, from the fit of the shirt to even the buttons sewn, everything is specifically designed and customised, for their customers. They follow the straightforward approach of providing customers with shirts that become a staple to their wardrobe. “Understanding our consumer base is of the utmost importance to us,” Akshay remarks when asked about how they retain their fiercely loyal customers. Their website even states, ‘The perfect fit or we remake it for free.’ By delivering meaningful promises and a reliable product, word of mouth works like magic, initiated by those who turn to BSC time and time again. 

 

It’s not just the label that matters, it’s quality too

Yashika Punjabee spoke about the power of collaborations and understanding what their consumers really want, which has propelled The Label Life far, and fast. With over thousand products being shipped on a daily basis, they offer Bollywood style at an affordable price – a star-struck girl’s dream come true, the ability to look and feel like celebrities they admire. The Label Life’s style editors include Sussanne Khan, Malaika Arora Khan & Bipasha Basu, among others. Over time customers are willing to spend more, because they believe that the price point is justified – that doesn’t happen overnight, but is a result of building a premium brand. “In the past few years we have increased our pricing. And our customers haven’t flinched as they realise that high quality requires a certain expenditure, we have delivered the quality we promise and will continue to do so.”

There’s no standard rule, you have to make your own

The entrepreneurs discussed their own strategies about the how they decide on pricing of their products, each had their own unique perspective on the matter. “[Indians] are a suspicious community. If something is too cheap, it isn’t valued as much. That doesn’t mean it needs to be over-priced but the costing needs to be efficient enough to be affordable but at the same time needs to stand its own ground,” said Anuj. While Dhimaan had a different opinion on the matter, “We want to make fashion exciting but in an affordable manner. If a person makes a purchase with us, they receive items true to their price range, mostly it’s more than they bargained for. It is production where we try to cut back on, with new strategies to evolve the end to end supply chain.”

Collaborate to Elaborate

Collaborative strategies have proven fruitful for most the the brands present at Retail X Tech. Raw Pressery for example partnered with Sula Wines in 2017, and while the fest was a wild one, Raw Pressery stole the show with their after movie, resulting in the attendees talking about their juices! The Label Life on the other hand collaborated with Magnum Ice-cream and in fact curated a fashion line inspired by Magnum ice-cream, and yet again hit a home run. What makes their marketing strategies striking, is the perfect blend of tech and retail. StyleCracker has been going strong with collaborations with it’s yearly fashion fest, where in they partnered with brands like Ajio, Pressto, Swiggy, Appy Fizz, PrintstaIndia and Flyrobe for StyleCracker Borough. Each collaboration not only helps these brands with visibility but also provides it’s existing and potential customers with a sense of community and trust.

 

It’s not just a Bollywood thing

Three out of four panelists have chosen to market their products through Bollywood influencers. StyleCracker is endorsed by Alia Bhatt, Raw Pressery by Jacqueline Fernandez and The Label Life by Sussanne Khan, Malaika Arora Khan & Bipasha Basu. All these brands have strategic celebrity partnerships, but though they might have celebs as a common factor, each one of them have a different motivations. “Alia has a very good pulse of what the Indian consumer wants. She adds enormous value from a strategic point of view” says Dhimaan. Anuj’s take was slightly different, “Jacqueline Fernandez represents what Raw stands for, as she’s extremely passionate about building a healthy lifestyle.” She recently went international to celebrate fitness, as she was seen hosting a morning yoga party with Raw Pressery in Dubai. Yashika on the other hand understands the value of trust, says, “All three women, Sussanne, Malaika and Bipasha add credibility to our brand but also add their unique style to the company.” It isn’t simply about adding the glitz factor, but rather identifying strategic and meaningful partners to grow with.

Knowledge sharing and collaborative learning

What we took away from Retail X Tech, is that the power of sharing knowledge is boundless and empowering. When people or organisations come together for the pure motivation of creating an enriching experience, either for themselves or other people, offers immense intangible value. Initiatives like this, curated by Lightbox, have made us believe yet again in the power of sharing and exchanging stories. Representatives from Raw Pressery, The Label Life, StyleCracker, Bombay Shirt Company are all on Dysco App, so talk to them now, chat up about your opinions and thoughts. We have also advertised opportunities available at each of these companies, click on the links below for more details on how to work or collaborate with them.

Photographs by Vriddhi Sawlani and Black Frame Collective

This article is written by Divya Bagaria for Dysco and edited by Dysco. Divya is a content and copy writer based in Mumbai. She also has an MSc. in Psychology and runs a part time counselling practice. You can connect with Divya Bagaria on Dysco App, for consultations, conversations or collaborations.