Lifestyle, a part of the Dubai-based retail and hospitality conglomerate The Landmark Group, has expanded itself to tier I, II, III cities with a network of 77 stores in the last 20 years. In the current fiscal, the brand that sells apparels among other things is planning to expand its footprint in India by adding 10 more stores.
Speaking on the 20-year journey, Srinivas Rao, Senior Vice President – Marketing, Lifestyle International, said, “The last 20 years was very fulfilling for the brand. We have been consistent with the speciality we entered in the market. We have revealed many trendy and useful home-grown brands after analysing the customer need and preference. We have a strong private label portfolio which ensures that any addressable need gap in the market is fully addressed.”
According to Rao, the brand’s main USP is its private label offering. “The private label brands of Lifestyle are a significant differentiating factor from any competitive retailer.”
Lifestyle has nine private labels, including Melange, Code, Forca and Ginger that contribute about 30% of overall revenues. The brand plans to keep launching new categories under its private labels to give the consumers a variety in their product purchase.
The brand recently made an omni-channel presence to make a stronger reach to its consumer. “Two to three per cent of the total sales are contributed by our omni-channel initiative,” said Rao.
With features like ‘Click & Collect’ and ‘In-store Endless Aisle’, Lifestyle is offering an omni-channel experience to its customers. ‘Click & Collect’ allows customers to order online and collect merchandise from a Lifestyle store of their choice. ‘In-store Endless Aisle’ helps customers find missing in-store sizes on the e-commerce channel.
According to Rao, the focus areas for FY 19-20 will be enhancing its omni-channel capability, providing an upgraded seamless shopping experience to the customers and ensuring smooth technology to make online shopping more comfortable for the customers. “We will also focus on enhancing the in-store facilities and spreading the facility to more outlets. We’re also looking to grow our business by 15-16% this year at an overall basis,” he added.
Rao emphasised that while South is the biggest market for the brand, North is also growing well, followed by West and East. “NCR region followed by Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai contribute to a large part of our sales,” he said.
Speaking on the marketing trends and challenges, Rao said, “There are three major marketing trends for retail business — personalised marketing, proximity marketing, and omni-channel marketing.”
“The entire fundamental of marketing has not changed in the past 20 years, what has changed is the media landscape. Every time media has evolved, it has given a new challenge to brands. It is also important to learn about the preference of the changing customer and constantly adapting their preference to stay relevant,” Rao added
Three per cent of the annual sales value is allocated to brand marketing. 55-60% of the marketing budget is allocated to print, 15% to digital, 12-14% OOH and the remaining on radio and other mediums.
For lifestyle, print is the most relevant medium as it is localised. But the brand plans to increase its digital spend by 1% y-o-y.
According to Rao, native advertising is going to become a big marketing trend in the next two to three years.
The 20-year-old brand believes that adapting to the changing consumer behaviour makes a brand consistent in the mind of a customer. “We have constantly adapted to the changing consumer behaviour and ensured to curate the collection as per our customer preferences,” Rao said.
Apart from this, the brand is upgrading its in-store ambience. The fashion retailer has added features such as ‘Self-Checkout Kiosk’, ‘Mobile POS’ and ‘Fitting Room Assistance’ to augment its in-store experience.
“At a broader level, technology is something we have deployed to enhance the customer experience,” said Rao.
According to Rao, personalised communication is the best way to build a good relationship with the customer.
The brand has introduced visual search and enabled voice-based search for its mobile applications, which has helped in creating a more personalised and convenient shopping experience.
Speaking on the challenges, Rao said, “Over the years, the brand has faced challenges in expansion, visibility and in understanding the right demographical areas for business.”
The brand has its presence on its own online shopping site and on fashion e-commerce website Myntra.