Every week, Vineet Gautam gets at least two emails on what he calls whacky new ideas for his business. He makes it a point to go through them very carefully.
“We are in the business of fast fashion and cannot afford to ignore anything,” says the 42-year-old. With his flowing beard, the CEO of Bestseller India, could easily be mistaken for a philosopher or a painter from a different era. His company, a €3-billion Denmark-based clothing company, runs six brands in India among which are Jack & Jones, Vero Moda and Only, in all bringing in a turnover of Rs.15 billion each year. Its peers Zara and H&M do Rs.12 billion and Rs.11 billion respectively. Bestseller’s India journey started in 2008 and Gautam joined them on the first day of 2010.
Bestseller has a big play in fast fashion, defined as the reproduction of highly fashionable clothes at high speed. His six brands in India, Selected, Only & Sons and Junarose being the others, are present in over 1,440 outlets across 110 cities. Online sales contribute only 15% of the company’s revenue. Its offline presence is much higher than Zara’s with 25 stores and H&M’s with 40.
When Gautam came aboard, Bestseller had four outlets with 42 employees, which today is at 3,400. Over the past three years, the company attempted to go omnichannel to provide a seamless shopping experience regardless of the consumer being online or in a store.
It is an effort that employs technology in various forms, which is why an email from a start-up could be the next big idea. Though some baby steps have been taken, a larger part of the tech story will be out over the next year, which will include a wall screen that allows consumers to browse through Bestseller’s catalogue when the store is shut for the night. Buyers can place their orders, which will be delivered to their homes. There is also a smart mirror in the works, which will be pl