Raymond, the 89-year-old men's textile and apparel maker, would be investing Rs 20 crore to develop the e-commerce venture and has put in place a separate team. It is also coming up with a full-fledged virtual platform that will include mobile apps.
For this initiative, Raymond's flamboyant chairman Gautam Singhania has brought on board Vijay Basrur, a digital specialist who has had stints with startups like Quikr and Bazee.com.
At present, e-tail is a small contributor to the company's revenues but the Mumbai-based flagship of Gautam Singhania Group expects the online channel's share to increase in the future.
According to Basrur, e-commerce is recognized as an important platform to reach out to consumers. E-tail is fast emerging as an alternate commercial channel in the country and Raymond wants to be a part of this.
Housed within Raymond, the venture - titled RaymondNext.com - will bring all the company's brands, including Raymond, Park Avenue, ColorPlus and Parx, and products spread across textile, apparel, home furnishing and personal care accessories under this platform. Moreover, for those men who are particular about their outfit fits and style, RaymondNext.com will also allow them to design and customize attire.
While Raymond's brands and product range, like other apparel makers, are available on third-party online channels like Myntra and Jabong, the move to have its own e-commerce platform is to replicate the exclusive brick-and-mortar store experience on the internet and to use its physical retail strength of being present in over 1,000 outlets across the country to deliver products directly at the shopper's doorstep.
According to industry estimates, the e-tail market , fuelled by a growing internet user base, convenience and free home delivery will grow from $2.3 billion in 2014 to $32 billion by 2020 with apparel comprising the biggest segment. The astronomical growth of online fashion was augmented recently when Flipkart bought Myntra in a deal worth over $300 million.
Just like in physical retail, where companies use different formats like exclusive showrooms and multi-brand outlets for their products, in the online space too, a similar approach is followed-using third-party portals and having their own websites.
The $750-million Raymond also joins the expanding list of decade-old textile and apparel brand houses, like Arvind and Bombay Dyeing, which are betting on e-commerce to drive sales.
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