Ethnicity revamps e-commerce site, confident of a steady recovery
Ethnic wear brand Shree Balaji Ethnicity Retail Limited expects steady business growth over the coming 12 to 18 months to recover from the effects of the pan-India lockdown and has ameliorated its e-commerce site.
Ethnicity, which retails a range of traditional and fusion style womenswear, menswear, and accessories in its stores across India, is open again for business. Founded in 2008, Ethnicity has brick-and-mortar stores in cities including Lucknow, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Ahmedabad, which are now serving customers again.
As part of its reopening strategy, the brand has given its shop staff a ‘store and customer safety training’ to enable them to ensure precautionary measures including physical distancing, contactless transactions, and store sanitation procedures. Along with new measures in-store, Ethnicity has revamped its e-commerce store to better cater to shoppers still preferring to order from home, the brand’s CEO Ameet Panchal told FashionNetwork.com in an exclusive interview.
FashionNetwork.com: How has the coronavirus pandemic affected business?
Ameet Panchal: Since the last 75 days of the lockdown, Ethnicity has seen no revenue but the situation looks promising with the ‘Begin Again’ phase easing economic activities. We are estimating a steady growth over the span of the next 12-18 months to revive the business.
FNW: How has the current situation impacted the brand’s future plans?
AP: We are optimistic about the way ahead! After all, we are social beings, and at Ethnicity, our key strength is providing a sensory experience to our customers and this is going to be the very reason for their return to us, once the initial fear is quelled.
FNW: Has there been a change in your customers’ shopping patterns since lockdown began?
AP: Basis of the Indian customer shopping behaviour study, we should be able to resume and bank on retail therapy to be a cathartic experience post the lockdown. Our warehouses have resumed functions, and we are seeing a positive response through our e-commerce business model. The online shopping experience is what we are looking at enhancing, as it is a part of our ‘new normal’ and going forward it will be the most sort after and ‘safe’ mode of shopping, we have re-vamped our website. We believe there is going to be a positive impact overall with a steady upward trajectory.
FNW: What products are currently popular during the ‘new normal’?
AP: In the current atmosphere, we see accessories like designer masks and snoods to be an important category for all, and as a daily wear essential product for the way ahead until the vaccine for Covid-19 begins being administered.
FNW: How do you see the lockdown impacting the ethnic wear market in India?
AP: Shopping as a category will see a decline from 45%-55% overall as the consumer starts. We expect a high demand for daily wear and essentials in the ethnic category given its ease of wear, with the festive and embellished garments being less in demand. Proper safety precautions and physical distancing are the new norms of the Covid era, due to which trials and exchanges won't be allowed till a certain period. We understand it may hurt customer sentiments, however the hygiene standards will have to be maintained for a better long-term result of community safe.
FNW: What does Ethnicity have planned for the future?
AP: We are speeding up the development of our digital assets and aligning our e-commerce business, along with strengthening our robust brick and mortar presence. We aim to enhance our customer's sensory journey at Ethnicity stores, by creating a safe and secure space for our patrons within our stores.
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