No wonder Karan Virani sounded happy. The investment banker had just received a crisp white shirt from Hugo Boss, delivered at his doorstep in all its sparkling glory — ready to be worn. All thanks to www.elitify(.com). And the firm had not even charged for shipping costs.
A couple of days ago, while browsing through the Internet, Virani first came across the website that sold his favourite brand of clothes, most of which were not easily available in India. “I am not a person who follows trends blindly but I certainly know what kind of clothes suit me. Online shopping not only saves time but also helps me browse through all the competing brands without moving an inch from my couch,” he says.
With most high-end clients happy to click and order everything from shoes and shirts to suits and cuff links online, the e-apparel and clothing sector has seen a buzz of activity in recent months. Amit Rawal, who founded Elitify.com that sells clothes and accessories from international brands such as Gucci, Banana Republic and Hugo Boss, says, “Indian men are going beyond white shirts and khaki pants. They are becoming more fashion conscious and aware about brands. This is where we are stepping in, giving them a window to the world.”
And much like any other industry, there are online companies that suit every taste and budget. So for instance, for those who are not so caught up about top-end brands www.bhane(.com) offers wardrobe basics for men. The website stocks a wide variety of khaki pants, linen and checkered shirts. The site’s founder Anand Ahuja says he quit his job as a buyer in New York to come up with the idea. “There is a dearth of trustworthy online shops in India. After a career in the retail sector, I wanted to start an online portal that could help men find the wardrobe essentials at nominal prices,” he reasons.
Some websites like www.thestiffcollar(.com) offer a wide variety of linen and cotton shirts that range from Rs 599 to Rs 2100. The website offers customised monograms for a nominal charge of Rs 100. Says Abhishek Lulla, the founder of the site: “The shirt is the most basic requirement in every man’s wardrobe. It is always good if a website can offer more in this space. Customised name monograms have become very popular with buyers.”
Yet online shopping in India is still at a very nascent stage and many concerns remain – some genuine, others perceived. What if a piece of clothing arrives in damaged condition? Or a shoe comes in a wrong size?. “We offer a 100 per cent return policy. If a clothing is damaged, torn or is not of a perfect fit, we will exchange it with a fresh piece for free,” says Rawal.
Overcoming our fear of paying online will take its own time, but what is obvious is that online shopping is more of a leisurely ritual and an experience that seems to be catching on.Join the fever.
Things to keep in mind while shopping for clothes and accessories online
1. Every brand has a different size guide. Always check the size chart that comes with the website before buying a piece of clothing
2. Don’t remove any tags after trying a product. Most brands don’t accept clothes for returns if their tags are off
3. Always compare prices of a particular brand with other websites
4. In terms of shirts and trousers, check the buttons and the zippers properly.
5. The cash on delivery option is the safest bet. But if you must pay online, always ensure that it comes with terms and conditions that secure your details