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E-commerce is an opportunity as well as a threat: Sudip Ghose, VIP Industries

10-October-2017
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E-commerce is an opportunity as well as a threat: Sudip Ghose, VIP Industries

The high-fashion accessories brand from VIP has launched a new brand campaign featuring Bollywood star Alia Bhatt. The campaign for the ‘masstige’ brand showcases the Autumn-Winter collection for 2017.


Sudip Ghose, Senior Vice President – Sales, Marketing and Service, VIP Industries, spoke with exchange4media about marketing a brand like Caprese to the Indian audience. He said that selling a premium brand in the largely unbranded sector is a massive challenge, but the journey is worth it. “Caprese is positioned as affordable fashion. We believe that we bring the latest in European fashion to consumers at a rate which is not European,” he said about the brand's core strategy.

Excerpts:

What are the challenges of this segment?

The women's handbags segment is unfortunately or not, a very unstructured market. It has been observed that women in India are not heavily brand conscious. Believe it or not, men are more brand conscious than women in India. Women want a matching bag for every dress and they want multiple bags. To lead the consumer in a category that is seen as unbranded into the branded segment is a long journey. Over the years, we have been informing consumers that a brand plays an important role and women have started becoming brand conscious in our country. There is still a long way to go. In a market where the consumer has to pay a premium for brand, that’s where the struggle starts. It is a constant struggle, but it is a journey worth taking.

How do you leverage digital advertising for the various VIP brands?

Digital plays an important role in the women’s handbag category but we cannot ignore television, even now, for this category. My target audience for Caprese is both working women and housewives; and housewives consume a lot of TV. In fact, for a brand like Skybags, the media mix is skewed towards digital more than TV. For Skybags, 40 per cent of my budget is on digital, whereas for a brand like Caprese, it may be around 15-20 per cent.

What growth are you expecting during the upcoming festive season?

We are hoping for a healthy growth. This being the festive season, the sentiment is generally positive and sales across categories are typically higher than other months. I do think that the growth will be above 20 per cent this season. GST has been a dampener in our category as prices have gone up in some segments of handbags. Overall, from the numbers that I am seeing for the e-commerce sites and other sales figures, I expect a very good festive season.

As a fashion brand what is your take on e-commerce platforms?

E-commerce is an opportunity as well as a threat. It’s an opportunity because volumes are high and we would love to jump into it but it creates a very bad price parity in the market. Since we have other sales channels as well, we have to really be very cautious.

Unfortunately, in India, 'sale' is a very important word and therefore we have to maintain a tight balance on the discounts that can be given on products. Fashion does not work on discounts; fashion works on being premium. We have to be very careful but we also have the number pressure, so we do participate on e-commerce platforms. Am I excited about e-commerce? Yes. Am I too excited about e-commerce? No.

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Prior to joining Madison PR in 2012 Chaudhary was Group President Corporate Communications at Reliance Industries Limited.