India’s fashion and lifestyle market was estimated at US$ 201 billion in 2017, and this statistic may well double in the next five years. The opportunity is beyond doubt, but the achievement of this would depend on India’s fashion companies mastering a few things.

The world’s most successful fashion companies operate on two tenets: “Putting customers first”, and “meeting their demands better and faster than anyone else”. At IFF 2019, let us take you through the 6-point game-plan for a powerful fashion business. Because, let’s face it, in the millennial culture of zero-to-minimal brand-stickiness, if you don’t get any of these right, customers will go to someone who does do it right.

First-mover advantage: Reducing lead time means always having a first mover advantage over rival brands.

Fashion today, not tomorrow Many retailers try to forecast what customers might buy months ahead; it is more profitable to sync with customers and offer them what they want to buy NOW.

Width over depth: Instead of producing more quantities per style, fast fashion majors produce roughly 10,000-12,000 styles a year. More width in your merchandise means more choices and higher chances of getting it right with the consumer.

Customer research. Powerful fashion retailers empower sales associates and store managers to be at the forefront of customer research. Real-time customer research allows sharp product design strategies that accurately meet customer expectations.

End-to-end tech: Companies investing in end-to-end digitisation have stronger bottomlines that those who just deploy tech in the front-end. Technology needs to be deep and across-the-board through the supply chain, not just used to create superficial ‘Wows’ at the front-end.

Brand experience: Some fast fashion giants spend 0.3-0.5% of sales on advertising; the industry average is 3.5%. Instead, use store locations, store displays and product dynamism as key elements of marketing and brand experience.