Flipkart going the offline way for expanding foreign brand portfolio

Flipkart, the domestic ecommerce marketplace and the largest online fashion retailer after acquiring Myntra and Jabong, is looking for brick and mortar (offline) way to expand its foreign brands portfolio. The offline push, in line with the strategies of Urban Ladder and other fashion players, is to boost growth which is slowing down in the online market. However, initially, the company will not open its own stores and instead will act as a master franchisee for foreign brands in the local market and sublicense the offline business.

The ecommerce behemoth is in advanced talks with Giordano for a licensing deal to sell the Hong Kong-based apparel and accessory retailer’s products both offline and online in the country. The plan is to set up a chain of Giordano-branded physical outlets here, as well as offer the products on its digital platform. It will also appoint sub-franchisees with brick-and-mortar expertise to operate the offline stores.

Flipkart is neither alone nor first to enter the race for offline push. Online-only players such as Myntra, Urban Ladder, Pepperfry, Lenkskart, Faballey and Nykaa have either set up hundreds of physical stores and are planning to open more such touch points. Adwaita Nayar, Head of offline retail strategy for Myntra, said that “Almost 90% of market for beauty products is still offline. Touch and feel is extremely important to customers so in the next three to four years we will be expanding more in offline channels”.