Grameen UNIQLO is the social business initiative of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd. In 2011, for the development of the economy and solving social issues of Bangladesh they established the company UNIQLO Social Business Bangladesh Ltd. All Grameen UNIQLO clothes are planned, designed, produced and sold in Bangladesh. And all the profits are reinvested for social business expansion and solving social issues in Bangladesh.
Recently Textile Focus Coordinator Pranta Biswas met Mr. Shoriful Islam, Assistant General Manager (Head), Marketing & Home Delivery Service at Grameen UNIQLO. In this discussion, Mr. Shoriful talked about the Bangladesh Fashion Ecommerce industry scenario, challenges, and prospects. For our readers, the key discussion areas are focused on below.
How are you observing Bangladesh fashion E commerce industry?
Our Fashion ecommerce industry has just come into the limelight. We are still not in such a mature position. Around 60% market is captured by the unstructured business entity. Recently Many Giant companies came with a structured way. And Digital/Online selling platforms also introduced very recently. A couple of years ago, we couldn’t predict the future of the E-Commerce Fashion industry. The digital platform was also not so developed that’s why the digital buying culture couldn’t grow. This clothes and apparel market is also different from other products, as there remains some touch and feel matter. However, the Pandemic let us know that This e-commerce / digital selling platform is only the way to keep fashion business growth sustainable. According to a survey, before the pandemic, online apparel clothing sales consumed 6% of total sales. After the pandemic, the number grew to almost 10%. This e-commerce fashion industry growth is almost double within 1 and half years. This growth will be growing, may not be dramatically but obviously in a steady mood.
During the pandemic, when we have started our Home Delivery Service from then we are getting good response from the customers. In the fashion clothing industry online Sales will be growing side by side Brick n Mortar stores.
If we analyze the trend,
- 60% online Clothing market is Facebook and social media centric which don’t have actual infrastructure. Most of this segment comprises of women customers.
- On the other hand, Mass people who buy products online are mostly cheap product. Because most of them feel fear to buy with high price items. Although recently the trend is changing.
If we truly want to grow the online business, it must have to be in a proper manner. Then we will have to focus on quality products rather than discounts and low-price products. Ultimately, we will have to follow a regular product sales strategy as we do in the physical shops with the digital platforms.
What are the challenges you usually face to run Home Delivery Service business?
There are a couple of challenges we usually face-
Supply chain- The main challenge to run an e-commerce channel we face is in the supply chain. It happens because there is very few logistics company whom we can work very trustable way. Most of the logistics company have lacks digitalization in their service for tracking the product from packaging to delivery. Customers from few areas are getting products within short times. Some areas customer is getting after 10 days. Communication in this area is very challenging.
Online Buying Habit- Our BD people are not habituated to online buying compared to other countries. Lack of digital knowledge is the concerned area.
Trust issue- This is the coolest area where the e-commerce industry should focus. Advance payment is always needed to be trustworthy. Some unethical platforms made this issue very alarming in recent times. That’s why people usually can’t take the proper decision of paying a huge amount in advance.
Color Consciousness– For fashion item, color is the most important area what impress the customers, sometimes, Product real color somehow mismatch with the photo color of websites. This issue makes customers unhappy. But everyone should know that digital branding presentation is always different from reality.
In a nutshell, our backward support needs to be more improved for better customer service and increasing Brand Value.
How do you evaluate Government Regulations for fashion E commerce business?
This E-Commerce industry is newborn to our country. In recent time, Governments enforced some good rules and regulations for both customers and business entities. They are taking new steps in a positive way. I think all those rules will be sustainable business-friendly.
Any Message to the Industry?
The fashion industry especially the clothing and apparel sector is always very big and potential. Unfortunately, we couldn’t grow as per prediction. If all Brands work together in a structured way, our Market will flourish. Bangladesh RMG industry is making and exporting quality products to many countries for many brands. If Bangladesh Govt. consider & revise existing policy regarding TAX & other things, then Bangladeshi people can also get same quality products with reasonable price and overall lifestyle will be improved.
Many of our people are not fully conscious of Fashions and Trends. We usually wear clothes just to keep ourselves covered. But If we want this fashion industry to stand steadily, then we must make our customers conscious about our own fashions, styles, and trends rather than copying others.