Ubaid Zargar

'Spoyl'-t for choice: Here's how Flipkart wants to win Gen Z fashion

  • Flipkart launched Spoyl in August, 2023

  • The inception of this in-app fashion store stems from the need to anticipate Gen Z's preferences

  • The brand has collaborated with movies like Archies and Fighter to build awareness

  • Spoyl’s priority so far is internal optimisation over expansion

With each passing year, it is becoming increasingly clear that Gen Z, and perhaps the emerging generation alpha, are the torchbearers of modern fashion. If the trajectory of Flipkart’s Spoyl, an in-app fashion store aimed primarily at Gen Z, is anything to go by, the Walmart-owned e-commerce platform is catching the right drift. 

Flipkart announced the launch of Spoyl in August 2023. Since then, the platform has been collaborating with other intellectual properties to plug the new portal. In December 2023, Flipkart Spoyl shook hands with Netflix for the Zoya Akhtar directorial film Archies, securing its position as the merchandising partner of the movie. 

Spoyl's Archies collection
Spoyl's Archies collection

Last month, Spoyl collaborated with the film Fighter, assuming the role of its official style partner. The idea was to leverage the grand patriotic theme of the film while launching a dedicated collection that resonates with the fashion showcased in the movie. 

Spoyl's FIghter-inspired collection
Spoyl's FIghter-inspired collection

“Entertainment, in general, is going to influence the trends for obvious reasons. Our collaboration with Fighter (or other films) is a testament to that. This movie has a great fashion vibe to it while being patriotic,” says Abhishek Maloo, who is the senior director of customer growth, marketing and operations at Flipkart Fashion.

While the platform is relatively nascent, its inception involved extensive consumer and market research before coming to fruition.

The birth of Spoyl

Reflecting on the origins of Flipkart Spoyl, Maloo reminisces, "Around 18 months ago, we embarked on a journey to grasp the essence of evolving fashion trends globally." He noted a burgeoning inclination towards fast fashion among the younger demographics worldwide, prompting Flipkart to anticipate the needs of the next five years. "Observing the fusion of innovation and trendiness, especially among Gen Z, we envisioned a platform that resonates with their dynamic fashion preferences," Maloo explains.

Delving deeper into market insights, Maloo points out, "We discerned a significant influx of Gen Z users into e-commerce, driven by their expanding spending capacity and decision-making autonomy." 

This demographic, he notes, was actively shaping fashion choices, transcending geographical boundaries. 

"The paradigm shift in consumer behaviour urged us to bridge the gap between traditional fashion and contemporary trends," he adds.

Trendsetting across geographies

While metropolitan cities like Delhi traditionally set the pace, smaller towns across India are swiftly catching up.

Fashion is undergoing a significant transformation, evolving into a more universal phenomenon influenced by foreign cultures worldwide. This shift is primarily driven by the pervasive influence of various channels, notably entertainment and social media. 

But within the confines of our borders, how are different cohorts from different regions responding to the globalisation of fashion?

Maloo states, "While metropolitan cities like Delhi traditionally set the pace, smaller towns across India are swiftly catching up." He attributed this phenomenon to the democratisation of trend access facilitated by platforms like Flipkart. "The allure of trendy fashion transcends regional boundaries, with consumers embracing diverse global influences," Maloo remarks.

When quizzed about the fundamental definition of trendy fashion, Maloo explains, "Trends encompass a broad spectrum, ranging from the influence of Korean culture to the buzz generated by global entertainment phenomena like Barbie movies."

Marketing strategy and USP

The fact that Spoyl is an app within an app is challenging to distinguish. While the base infrastructure of the app remains the same, the user interface and experience exhibit distinct characteristics. For instance, the main app is characterised by a dominant white theme with complementary accents of blue and yellow. In contrast, Spoyl adopts a distinct visual identity with a predominantly black backdrop and nuanced shades of green.

'Spoyl'-t for choice: Here's how Flipkart wants to win Gen Z fashion

Maloo highlights that the platform’s distinct visual appeal within the Flipkart app is the key to its separation. "Spoyl offers a visually immersive experience with larger-than-life images and interactive videos, catering to the preferences of style-conscious consumers," he remarks. 

Be that as it may, how does the enterprise aim to market this new portal?

As per Maloo, this design divergence stems from rigorous consumer research, revealing a demand for larger product images. 

“People who are buying or who are attracted to this kind of fashion want to see larger images. They're honestly not too concerned about which brand it is coming from. They are more style-conscious rather than brand-conscious.”

Beyond the visual differentiators, Spoyl will also see a linear marketing push to gain consumer awareness. The brand is aiming to leverage influencers while continuing with film collaborations. Maloo says, “Collaborations with the entertainment industry are in the plans at the moment. We did that with Archies and Fighter, and you will see a lot more along those lines. We also collaborate with influencers. There are micro-influencers, macro influencers, tier one and tier two influencers who are partnering with us to talk about the fresh new styles that we launch every fortnight.”

While festive fervour undoubtedly drives e-commerce sales, Spoyl's appeal transcends occasional purchases.

The festive season holds immense significance for e-commerce platforms in India, marked by special deals and enticing festive offerings designed to attract consumers. However, for Spoyl, the season doesn't hold the same paramount importance. This is due to the unique demographic it caters to—Gen Z, who maintain consistent activity throughout the year rather than being solely concentrated during festive periods.

Maloo opines, "While festive fervour undoubtedly drives e-commerce sales, Spoyl's appeal transcends occasional purchases." He stressed Spoyl's strategy of offering fresh collections fortnightly, ensuring sustained consumer engagement throughout the year.

“The Spoyl collection is actually a style for which consumers don’t want to wait for a festival to buy it.”

Future prospects and expansion strategy

Spoyl, as articulated by Maloo, is currently prioritising efficiency over expansion in its operations. Maloo notes, "We are a new kid on the block as far as Spoyl is concerned." The focus lies on delivering optimal value to its consumer base by streamlining internal processes rather than pursuing immediate expansion goals. 

From trend to shelf is what we are looking at, so we will keep on minimising the time from identifying a trend.

"The whole idea is, and honestly the way we are thinking is not an expansion standpoint," says Maloo, emphasising a consumer-centric approach. Instead, the team is dedicated to enhancing trend identification and adoption processes. Maloo elaborates, "We are very focused on our inputs in terms of trend identification and adoption." This emphasis on trend analysis should enable Spoyl to swiftly translate emerging fashion trends into tangible offerings for consumers.

Furthermore, Maloo emphasises the importance of agility in responding to trends. He states, "From trend to shelf is what we are looking at, so we will keep on minimising the time from identifying a trend." Spoyl has implemented machinery and processes to identify both macro and micro trends, Maloo reveals.

"We have machinery right now to identify macro, micro, Bollywood, sports, or a regional trend in a very sophisticated and meaningful way," Maloo confirms. This strategic approach enables Spoyl to discern which trends hold long-term viability and promptly convert them into fashion offerings.

The overarching objective for Spoyl is to expedite its time-to-market, ensuring a steady influx of new selections for consumers. 

Integration of AI and new tech

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly becoming indispensable for fashion-centric e-commerce platforms. AI technologies are playing a pivotal role in revolutionising various aspects of the fashion retail landscape, from enhancing customer experiences to optimising supply chain management. Flipkart has its own utilities for AI too. 

Maloo elaborates on the practical applications of AI within Spoyl, particularly in enhancing user experience and personalisation. He mentions, "If you scroll right on your home screen, you will see an Instagram kind of experience happening on your home page with Spoyl an integral part of that." This integration facilitates a seamless browsing experience for users, with AI algorithms curating personalised recommendations and content based on individual preferences.

Furthermore, Maloo discusses the role of AI in revolutionising fashion retail, encompassing aspects such as video cataloguing, video commerce, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR). He reveals ongoing experimentation with technologies like 3D imaging for footwear.

"We are aiming to replicate the tactile experience of offline shopping in an online setting."

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