LIFESTYLE: CURATING SUCCESS WITH STYLE

Srinivas Rao, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Lifestyle International, talks about how the brand’s latest campaign is all about curating the best look for its customers, while maintaining that Lifestyle holds an advantage by offering an experience unmatched by any other e-commerce brand

03 Dec, 2018 by CHRISTINA MONIZ

Q] Your latest campaign talks about exploring individual style. Tell us a little bit about the thought behind the campaign.
The thought behind the campaign goes back to what Lifestyle really stands for. So, our tagline is ‘Your style, Your store’. And what Lifestyle essentially does is it allows an individual to explore his or her own style. So, it’s not just about selling clothes, shoes or bags, but rather about putting curated looks together. You know there is a certain sense of elation or emotional high you get when you put together a look that works for you. So, that’s really the thought behind our entire campaign. We want consumers to know that they can come to our stores and pick a look that works best for them. We are basically curating our collections at Lifestyle, and are showcasing the range of apparel and accessories on offer. Customers can choose from a variety of beauty and apparel, as well as accessories like footwear, sunglasses and coordinated looks. There are multiple looks showcased to the customer – he/she can then choose one.

Q] How are you amplifying the campaign? Are you looking at Digital in a big way?
Well, Television is an important medium for us. We also have campaigns running across our Digital platforms and have partnered with popular stylists to showcase coordinated looks for younger consumers. Going along with the campaign theme, ‘Got It’ if you were to visit any of our stores, you will see that we have started presenting curated collections inside our stores. For example, we have started a campus-themed fashion collection for young students in college. We encourage the younger consumers to explore different looks from this collection. Similarly another big trend today is ‘athleisure’, also known as street wear. The idea behind curating these looks is to make fashion easy to decode for the consumer. During the festive season as well, we had stylists who put together a variety of looks in traditional and festive wear.

Q] There are e-commerce players like Myntra today that offer attractive discounts. How do you address that kind of stiff competition?
Firstly, the market opportunity is really very large. And we are focused on giving our customer a comprehensive experience, doing what most pure play e-commerce brands cannot do. Most of the pure play e-commerce players cannot provide physical touch and feel. In terms of overall customer service and experience, physical stores like ours have a lot more to offer. At the end of the day, we are more focused on providing our customers an excellent shopping experience, rather than trying to offer big discounts. The fashion-conscious consumer today is a lot more discerning. By this, I don’t mean that consumers don’t enjoy discounts. Of course they do, but there is definitely a space for a returning consumer, who is interested in a curated selection of apparel. Lifestyle is giving consumers that opportunity. Yes, there is a great opportunity for e-commerce platforms because of the ease and convenience, but growth in that segment doesn’t mean less growth opportunity for us. One segment doesn’t necessarily impact the other. At the end of the day, consumers will look at better value and customer service.

Q] Can you give us a sense of what kind of sales revenue comes from your online shopping space?
So we launched our own e-commerce portal early last year. Currently our online platform contributes less than 2% of the overall sales. But, the digital influence sale will be lot higher. When I say digital influence sale, I refer to people who actually look for and visit our website. My estimate is that we will probably be touching double digits when it comes to digital influence sales, though there really is no way to measure it accurately. While I don’t have specific numbers to share, it will be significantly higher than the 2% figure.

Q] How do you plan to strengthen your offering to compete with online players?
Our offline presence is significant. We are a brand with a physical presence, and have earned consumer trust and confidence over the years that we have been in this business. The element of trust is a key part of our DNA. See, fashion shopping usually is a lot more impulsive than other categories. If you see something nice, you will want to buy it. You cannot get a sense of the quality, the feel of the fabric and the fit of a garment when you’re shopping online. I believe that we have got a definite advantage in the market and our omnichannel presence is only growing. Today we are at about 73 stores, and we are adding one store a month. Over the next two years, we will have over 100 stores across India. Our omnichannel presence is our strength.

Q] How do you plan to drive greater traction for your online store? Will your Digital spends increase?
Our Digital spends are certainly increasing year on year, and not at a small pace, because we are also talking about online channels. So, our online channel is now fairly large, and to maintain that kind of momentum, we will continue to invest in the Digital space. I would say that about 20% of our ad spends are devoted to Digital.

Q] What is the kind of presence Lifestyle has in tier II cities and smaller markets?
Currently almost 40% of our retail footprint is in tier II. So, the tier II cities account for about 100 square feet of our physical stores. The sales contribution from the tier II markets is about 30%. If you name any city that already has a reasonable retail footprint, you will find a Lifestyle store there. That includes cities like Vadodara, Mysore, Vijaywada, Nasik, Calicut, etc. We will continue to expand across both tier I and II markets. We also have store launches coming up in markets like Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Guwahati.

Q] Going forward, what are some of the trends that you think will drive growth for the category?
There are multiple factors that drive growth for the sector, the most important of which are accessibility and disposable income. Consumers also have greater, easier access to information in terms of fashion and style trends today, which is driving greater consumption. From a brand standpoint, we are focused on evolving and becoming a more seamless omnichannel player. We are also focused on building more capabilities and investing in Digital interfaces within the store.

Feedback: christina.moniz@exchange4media.com Category: CMO File Volume No: 15 Issue No: 26

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