Top 3 Pain Points of CMOs of Apparel, Fashion & Footwear Brands in India

Familiarity does not breed contempt. It instead inspires more forthcoming conversations. Some of which I had been lately having with the CMOs of rapidly growing Apparel, Fashion, and Footwear brands in India. The clothing and footwear market is poised to double in revenue in the next 2 ½ years, and I had been keen to know what keeps the marketing decision-makers up in the night. Being part of the Apparel, Fashion, and Footwear fraternity not so long ago, and now the COO of a leading research & analytics firm did help break the ice much faster.

All of the CMOs, I spoke to, shared the pride of being pivotal in building the brand image. In fact, most of them believed that their employees strongly resonated with their brand values. It was the external branding that they were rather anxious about. Here’s what concerned them the most:

#1: How to Influence Consumer Perception?

India is at its peak of consumerism. The young population has higher disposable income and more awareness of global brands. Research suggests that young adults are spending about 18-20% more than their previous generation. With newer international brands entering into the Indian market every month, young consumers have a wide assortment to choose from. This makes it more essential to tell consumers, one’s brand story more effectively to cut through the noise. The CMOs are continually looking for answers to pertinent questions, such as:

  1. Are the efforts to convey the brand story across various channels like social media, print, online, OOH, television, etc. resulting in increased resonance with the consumer?
  2. Is the brand differentiating itself from the crowded, highly competitive market?
  3. How to effectively and realistically measure the brand’s consumer perception?
  4. How to encourage more customer advocacy to influence the brand’s perception?

#2: How to Manage Customer Loyalty vis-à-vis Company’s Priorities of Rapid Expansion?

As young India is fast developing a consumption-driven mindset, the marketing heads are increasingly focusing on expansion. They wish to reach Tier 2 and 3 consumers even quicker before the competition gets there. Here lies the dichotomy. Research suggests that loyal customers purchase 20% more in value than the newer ones. Some of the CMOs are concerned that in their quest to acquire new consumers, they may be losing sight on developing their existing, loyal customers. Hence, CMOs are keen to determine the tangible ROI on customer loyalty that enables them to have meaningful board conversations that will help them try to right the wrong and strike the correct balance.

#3: How to Use Customer, Product, And Store Data for Tangible Decisions?

Retail therapy is pretty common among the over-worked, stressed-out working adults. Over 39% of India’s population falls in this bracket, where they come, they shop, and they leave. Naturally, the PoS (Point of Sales) touchpoints capture all the purchase data. This data can surely help in making decisions that can increase basket-size (revenue per transaction), cross-sell or upsell products, garner incremental income from their loyalty-card customers, decide which products and sizes to stock or not, and plan their deployment of resources and staff.

eCommerce and progressive e-tailers are increasingly using in-house analytics teams to make sense of customer, product, and store data to help with effective decision-making. However, most of the Apparel, Fashion, and Footwear brands with strong brick-and-mortar presence are yet to catch up with the burgeoning analytics wave. These retailers mostly end up doing nothing much with this swathe of data, and the insights are lost in the noise.

These were indeed enlightening conversations, where I could empathize with the CMOs better as I drew from my own on-ground experiences. While we discussed these pain points at length, I was glad to offer help in my present capacity of representing SG Analytics, one of the very few organizations in India that integrates consumer research and marketing analytics under one roof.

The good news is that SG Analytics can help such businesses identify and act on growth opportunities based on a deep understanding of customers and the overall Apparel, Fashion and Footwear marketplace. We help successfully assess customer satisfaction, loyalty, challenges, expectations, and behavior patterns. Moreover, our data-driven solutions quantify the impact of marketing effectiveness while improving brand outreach, and optimize clients’ investments across various marketing vehicles.

I believe that SG Analytics can definitely help alleviate these pain points of the Marketing Heads and help them focus on their core strengths such as Merchandizing, Product Flow, Design, and Sales.

Do tell me what you think keeps the CMOs up at night. And, drop in a line if you’d be interested to know how SG Analytics can help.

Susshruth Apshankar
Susshruth Apshankar
About the Author

Susshruth has a professional experience of approximately 20 years in India and the US working for leading multinationals like Starbucks, Gap, UPS and Aditya Birla Group and driving the three business pillars of ‘people, processes, and profits'. He possesses extensive experience across the globe in developing in-house Centers of Excellence, handling senior decision-making positions and driving high-performance teams.

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