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Exploring the possibilities in fashion and retail cross-border transactions

E-commerce is expanding at a breakneck pace, with online retail sales amounting to $4.9 trillion worldwide. We’re in an era where modern fashion houses now transcend international boundaries. An Italian fashion label can be designed in Milan by British, French, and Indian designers and manufactured by contractors from Korea, India, or Mexico.

To throw more light on the opportunities in Indian fashion going global and possibilities in retail cross-border transactions, PayPal and YourStory hosted a panel discussion featuring Chandni Nihalani, Director, PayPal India; Soumya Kant, Co-founder and Chief Growth Officer, Clovia; Sushruthi Krishna, Founder, Saaki; and Sree Charan, VP, Branding and Marketing Head – Grasim Industries Pvt. Ltd, Birla Cellulose.

Fashion and retail industry experts discussed how digitisation and technology will enable a seamless payment experience and encourage repeat business.

Indian fashion brands going global

Several fashion brands over the years, both small and medium-sized businesses as well as luxury fashion brands, have gone global. Chandni shares how PayPal has been a part of that journey before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and has also overcome several challenges.

Helping a brand build trust with the international buyer is extremely crucial. “Credibility is important, for the consumer and us. That’s our core value proposition as a payment leader in this space for the last 20 years. And wherever we see the PayPal logo, that is a seal of trust for that brand. This has played a crucial role in fast-forwarding the journey of various fashion players who integrate with us,” she adds.

Leveraging ecosystem partnerships or tech to ensure that consumer experiences are consistent is vital to building trust. Sushruthi’s Saaki has been serving international customers by shipping products across various locations.

“Many global players understand the necessity that India has to go global, which was different a couple of years ago. Evolution and tech readiness have played a huge role. Localisation of the checkout experience and payment in terms of preferred currency, for example, are aspects that have really helped shape the journey for us at Saaki,” explains Sushruthi. She also reveals that customer-led demand has encouraged Saaki to go global.

When it comes to shifts in customer preferences, Soumya hits the nail on the head. Consumers are preferring to visit showrooms to purchase large-ticket products, where seeing and feeling are major factors in decision-making.

“Offline channel is back with a vengeance. Last summer we saw the impact of revenge travel and it’s the same phenomenon with offline markets. Be it small towns or metros, we’ve seen incredible growth coming from offline channels,” she adds.

It’s often challenging to deliver consistent, personalised customer experiences that adapt to the customer’s language and cultural preferences. There are several ways brands can ensure more consistent customer experiences at scale.

Sree Charan shares his thoughts on being a brand builder for more than a decade.

“Whether it’s an overseas market or any other local market, I go back to the basics of who my ultimate shopper is. If I’m an Indian brand trying to pitch to the diaspora outside, I could either look at the foreign audience for whom my brand is and they then receive it in the way they would evaluate a local brand, or I could be catering to the Indian diaspora who are aware of the brands that are homegrown. Depending on the consumer segments we are trying to attract, we have to modify the brand-building strategy,” adds Sree Charan.

The panellists also spoke about other key payment trends like factors driving cross-border transactions in the fashion and retail industry, technologies enabling omnichannel retail, the challenges of integrating multiple touchpoints, and more!

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