Almost seven years ago in 2009, apparels on ecommerce was not perceived too favourably as it was too much of a “hassle”. Ecommerce player Flipkart was only offering. In 2010 however, the market opened up for new kinds of players. Indianroots was amongst these. The platform approached brands in India to take their excess inventory at discounts with 80-90 per cent, at advance credit.
Venture into the online space
It took time for the company to educate people that apparels on ecommerce can move numbers too. In October 2010, it raised its first round of apparels when brands finally instilled their faith and said that ecommerce model will work in India. In a conversation with DMA, Rahul Narvekar , Founder and Chief Executive Officer of NDTV Ethnic Retail Ltd – Indianroots.com talks about the journey of apparels on ecommerce and the contribution NDTV did in paving the way.
“When we discussed ecommerce with at NDTV, two things emerged – the race in ecommerce was all about last man standing with enough capital to survive, and that the landscape of ecommerce in India is only about deals,” said Mr Narvekar.
He cited the example of IRCTC (India Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation), explaining that it offered consumers a compelling reason of convenience through the website because the alternative for people was to go and stand at the railways station to purchase a ticket. Similarly people look for discounts and cash-on-delivery options on ecommerce, which serve as enablers for ecommerce in India. Therefore, “unless you give people a reason, they would rather go offline and make a purchase,” added Mr Narvekar.
Indianroots, a NDTV venture
The tag of NDTV Ethnic Retail Ltd has lent its support to NDTV in a large way, according to Mr Narvekar. “We realised that the same brands are seen across all platforms on ecommerce, their product offering has become homogeneous and differentiation was a challenge,” he pointed out.
“NDTV’s strength is in its credibility, and it is seen as a different channel. We do serious reporting with a league of top anchors. Further, NDTV also has a great emotional recall value even outside India, where there is immense demand for credible apparel from India,” said Mr Narvekar.
Contrary to general perception, Indianroots in not servicing a clientele from high income group only but provides an exclusive shopping experience to all its consumers. “There is a sensibility to the whole model in a way that we handpick our designers and filters the brands which are allowed or not on the platform,” the founder explained highlighting the key feature of Indianroots.
Market in India and abroad
Indianroots had started its venture targeting consumers only outside India in its first year but with no deliberate marketing efforts on its home turf; it saw significant traffic from within India. For the first nine months its foreign clientele was forming lion’s share of 80 per cent but now it has slowly moved to equal share in India and as well as abroad on back of its great imagery of designers such as Sabyasachi, Neeta Lulla and Anita Dongre.
Indianroots serves customers across 250 countries. Outside India, its biggest market is US followed by Canada but duty and tariff structure in UK plays a challenge.