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Arvind’s e-commerce foray: Customizable clothing, Digitized offline stores & more

Creyate logo

Arvind Internet Limited (AIL), the online arm of the textile manufacturer and retailer Arvind Ltd, has officially forayed into e-commerce by launching an online clothing brand Creyate that offers customizable clothing to consumers.

Creyate’s Focus on Customization

Arvind Ltd executive director Kulin Lalbhai mentions that Creyate is the first among several AIL initiatives and it will be part of a larger e-commerce launch they plan to do by the beginning of next fiscal. However, he declined to disclose more details on this.

Creyate currently offers men’s apparel like shirts, suits, jeans and chinos and women’s apparel like shirts & jeans with more categories being added shortly. The site currently targets the premium segment wherein the shirts start at Rs 2,000 and go up to Rs 20,000 while Suits start at Rs 15,000 and go up to Rs 1 lakh. However, what’s interesting here is the level of customization provided to the consumers.

One can choose an existing product on the site and change any part of the garment to suit their preferences. For instance, users can opt for a different fabric, collar, collar style, sleeve, cuff, pocket and button among others. They can also choose a monogram like their name or initials embroidered at select places on the garment.

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The company mentions that this customization feature is available across most of its products except for select designer wear that will only offer personalization features like including name or initials on the garment.

Online 3D customization studio: Alternatively, users can also design their own apparel from scratch using the 3D customization studio on the site and sign up to save their designs. Going forward, the company plans to add ability for users to share these designs with their friends and family. They are also looking at possible ways where Creyate can choose some of the designs made by users and use them on a profit sharing basis.

Creyate customization

No direct purchase initially: What’s also worth noting is a change in the purchase flow on the site. First time consumers cannot purchase products from the site directly. Instead, they will see a “get measured” button following which a “Style Steward” from Creyate will visit the consumer to take their measurements.

Following this, users will have an option to either pay the product amount to the steward or through the site. Creyate claims the product is shipped 12 days after they receive the measurement. The biggest roadblock at the moment however is that the service is currently available in Bangalore & Ahmedabad only with plans to rollout to Delhi in few weeks followed by Mumbai, Chennai and other major cities. It plans to rollout out to 15 cities within the next year.

Besides this, the company is also considering other alternatives like asking consumers outside these cities to send their best fit shirt through their acquaintances in that city among others. AIL also plans to roll out this brand globally starting with the United States next year.

Returns: Considering the deep customization of each garment, returns could be quite tricky for Creyate. The company however mentions that alterations to garments will be free of cost and if the changes they request is unalterable, they will remake them for free. Users could also return these products within 31 days of its shipping date.

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Investments: Lalbhai said that the capital outlay for Creyate is Rs 20 crore for the first year and they will further invest as the business scales up. The primary investments right now are the factories and upcoming offline stores.

How is it manufactured?

The delivery period of Creyate prducts is significantly higher since the company doesn’t stock garment inventory. Rather, it stores fabrics in an automated factory and start creating a garment once they get the order.

Lalbhai said they take 30 unique body measurements from the consumer that goes into a software which converts these measurements into a pattern. He claimed that besides body metrics, this software also uses the shape of their shoulders and various other parts of the body to create the garment. After this, an automatic machine cuts out each element of the garment automatically.

Lalbhai claimed that their current setup which includes two factories in Bangalore (one for suits and one for everything else) allows them to make 1000s of customized garments on a daily basis. These technologies were apparently brought in through its joint venture with the Japanese suit manufacturer Goodhill Corporation that was formed in February this year.

Offline Stores with digital touch

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Besides the online store, Creyate will have a significant offline component as well. It already has Creyate stores in Bangalore and Ahmedabad with Delhi store launching in few weeks followed by Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and other major cities. These probably wouldn’t be standalone retail outlets like Arvind’s offline stores but rather a part of the existing offline stores or smaller facilities within prominent malls.

Interestingly, these products will apparently be digitized and all the garments will apparently feature QR codes, allowing users to scan and browse through more information about the product. The stores will also feature augmented reality-based trial mirrors called “Magic Mirror” that will enable users to virtually try the clothes and see how it appears on them. The company said this feature is currently present in its Ahmedabad facility and will be present in its upcoming Creyate stores.

Besides this, the stores will also feature terminals that will enable consumers to design their products or customize their existing products using the Creyate website with the help of their Style Stewards. Interestingly, Lalbhai mentions that the retail sales through these stores will also be driven through the online site.

What Next?

As mentioned earlier, Creyate is the first among several AIL initiatives. While Lalbhai declined to disclose more details on their forthcoming initiatives, he hinted that the focus will mostly be on verticals and a “seamless brick & click retail experience”.

He claimed that they currently have more than 30 brands in its portfolio including own brands like Flying Machine, Excalibur and licensed brands like Arrow, US Polo Assn and Cherokee among others. They will apparently be leveraging these along with its 1200+ strong offline store rollout for a larger e-commerce model that is expected to launch by the beginning of next fiscal.

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