Not just churan, we sell a lot of fashion: Amazon hits back at Flipkart
A day after Flipkart said Amazon was showing high festival-season sales by peddling cheap and trivial items like hing and churan, Amazon hit back by saying it offers the largest stock in fashion — mainly clothes, shoes, and accessories.business Updated: Oct 13, 2016 11:02 IST
A day after Flipkart said Amazon was showing high festival-season sales by peddling cheap and trivial items like hing and churan, Amazon hit back by saying it offers the largest stock in fashion — mainly clothes, shoes, and accessories.
“The widest, largest and biggest selection of fashion products is on Amazon, and we are hungry for more,” said Arun Sirdeshmukh, head of fashion at Amazon India. In response to Flipkart’s claim that it sold three out of every four fashion products online during the festival season, he said: “If you believe that, I have nothing to say… (But) we are growing at a scorching pace.”
As reported by HT on Wednesday, Flipkart CEO Binny Bansal told HT: “We did not sell ‘churan’, ‘hing’, detergent, products of daily-need and virtual memberships. We sold products that people love to buy during the festival season such as smartphones, LED and apparel.” Though he did not mention Amazon by name, the allusion was clear. Amazon candidly claims to sell a lot of these things.
Sirdeshmukh said he would not react to rivals’ claims, he would rather “worry” about his own customers, who also buy from Flipkart and Snapdeal.
The competition has been hotting up in the fashion category — it is the second largest after electronics in revenue in online shopping, and the largest in volume. Flipkart-owned Myntra recently acquired Jabong; Snapdeal CEO and co-founder Kunal Bahl has decided to invest $100 million in building the fashion vertical.
Amazon, meanwhile, has grown its fashion selection four times over last year to 15,000 unique brands and two million products. It has over 1,000 brand stores, and special selection stores, such as Crafted for India, India Modern, Indigo Tales and Denim Stores — each one of them is based on a certain theme, product type, style and fabric.
“There is so much to choose from, so it is important to package and surface certain products,” said Sirdeshmukh. Amazon sits with brands to design their online strategies, he added. The company uses its technology and algorithms, mostly developed in the US, to identify brand owners. For buyers, it suggests products based on their previous buying behaviours and searches.
The Jeff Bezos-led company has roped in designer Narendra Kumar, the founder editor of ELLE, as Amazon’s creative director. Kumar is responsible for curating styles, creating content around fashion and also coming up with presentations. For instance, a formal shirt looks different from a casual shirt.
The company wants to be a custodian of brands in the e-commerce space. Brand store pages would have history of brand, promotional videos and suggested styles. It has also started selling its private label Symbol, and is exploring more in that space. “We are looking at gaps and areas we can plug-in,” said Sirdeshmukh.
For e-tailers, winning the fashion race is important. The margins are high – 25% to 40%, against low single digits in electronics.