Indo Svelte LLC is an entrepreneurial venture driven to meet the high demand of South Asian festive attires, especially since the COVID-19 travel bans.
A multi-designer e-commerce store that allows users to discover, personalize and order high-quality apparel while maintaining a positive user experience.
This required understanding user needs, identifying designers, drop-ship logistics, and meticulous inventory management to categorize thoughtfully and find the most efficient and cost-effective way to deliver them speedily to the customers.
This project was done in partnership with a Fashion Designer, Riddhi Goenka, based in LA.
Timeline: 16 weeks
Skills/Tools Used: Secondary research, User research, Sketching, Shopify.
Role: Creative Director and Product Designer
Responsibilities: User Research, Concept ideation, User flows, Visual design, Prototyping, User Testing, Design iterations, and Quality assurance
Why do South Asians find it hard to shop for ethnic attires in US?
Lack of Options
Very few local options for consumers wishing to purchase ethnic wear which is customized and trendy
High-end designer wear is not for everybody, especially if it's for a one-time event
Long Delivery Time
Online aggregators have 4-6 weeks delivery times with "No return" policies.
Alterations and fittings can be painful and expensive in the US
What are the issues faced when shopping for ethnic attires in US ?
Target Market - South Asian women between the age of 25-45 years
Methodologies Used - Surveys, Interviews, Heuristic evaluation, and Customer Journey
Lack of Options
Majority of the respondents sighted a desire for elegant
ethnic wear for family events and festivals but didn't know where to go
Long Wait Times
A clear frustration of not having an estimated delivery time, tracking system, and poor customer service
Customers felt cheated when shopping online because of the low quality products received at exorbitant prices
Receiving outfits last minute and not having them fit was a major concern. Over that alterations were difficult and expensive.
95% Unaddressed Market
In 2021 the Indian ethnic wear market accounts for only 5% of the entire available market.
South Asian diaspora in North America grew from 5.2 million in 2010 to 9.7 million in 2020 – an 85% increase
The needs of locally celebrated events and festivals, especially due to Covid-19 travel bans, has not been met.
The biggest competitors like Kynah, Indias Pop Up and Live the Collective, have an understanding of South Asian style needs and provide personal consultation.
However, only Indias Pop Up has user-centric web platforms with well laid Home Page, thoughtful Product Categorization, and Style overview of Designers.
None of them catered to festivals and mid-range products, nor do they offer fast shipping
In order to better understand the process a customer goes through when seeking to purchase ethnic wear, we created a journey map. Also, Heuristic evaluation of the competitive websites helped us visualize the challenges faced by the user to find the product and complete the purchase.
- Customers found it hard to find reliable options to shop from online and locally
- Outfits found at local Indian stores seemed outdated
- Online shopping was tedious due to overwhelming product range with no proper categorization
- Product information and fabric quality was a guess game, given no content details were provided
Meet the "Desi Girl"
- Sunaina loves to celebrate Indian festivals with her small group of friends and family.
- However, she can not afford expensive attires every time there's an occasion.
- She doesn't trust online shopping from Indian websites due to poor experiences in past.
- Prefers a selective collection that is traditional, good quality, and potrays her personality.
A multi designer store with handpicked collections and user friendly policies
Handpicked collections that match the simplicity and modern perspective of South Asians living in North America.
Support new Talent and Target Mid Range Pricing
Collaborate with India's budding designers and artisans to fill the market gap overseas and value their talent. Curate festive collections at a reasonable price ranging from $100 - $500
Drop Ship within 2 weeks and offer return service
Tie up with local logistics aggregator to streamline fast shipping. Offer a considerable return policy and liquidate returns locally in Pop-Up shops, Marketing, gifting, etc.
Standardize sizing and flexibility to Customize
Size chart standardization as per US metrics and guidelines to measure body/outfit. In addition, provide an alterations service or offer credit if the fit is not appropriate.
Also, flexibility to customize color, size, design, etc., as per user needs
Our brand name Indo Svelte literally means "Indian Elegance", and the logo design was inspired by India's national bird "Peacock", depicted in the abstract initials of the brand name and subtle pastel colors. Our persona laid the ground for our brand's identity: a minimalist approach with a modern and elegant personality.
Usability testing surfaced a couple of issues like, music on a home page video was a distraction and a desire for a quick chat option, which was a quick fix.
KPIs from the day of launch:
Task success rate (TSR): 100%
System Usability Scale (SUS): 85%
Customer satisfaction (CSAT) score: 8 out of 10
User error rate was 5%
A Smooth User Friendly Experience
Handpicked styles catered to different needs like, Wedding events, Festive Look, Preferred Style, as well as Shop by Categories.
Collections were curated based on the user needs and past customer experience of our Fashion Designer business partner.
Thoughtful Categorization for Easy Selection
Style in Budget by Budding Designers
We reached out to the fresh talent of India, who blend our traditions into modern silhouettes.
Highlight their story and collection's uniqueness on Home Page, to make it relatable for the User to find their style.
Good product pictures are the key to online shopping, we made sure to focus on every aspect of it.
Product Description included the details of all surface techniques, fabric composition, neckline, pockets, and so on.
Focus on Product Pictures and Details
Custom Sizing and Designs
Customization in Size, styles, and colors was welcomed with a detailed note at checkout.
A link to standard size chart with instructions to measure body to make sure there's no confusion.
LEARNING AND OUTCOMES
We learned that meeting user needs in a business-friendly way is the biggest challenge of e-commerce in the Covid times; for example, Free and Fast international shipping incurred an exponentially high cost, and there were unexpected logistic delays. We had to navigate through multiple logistic companies with nominal charges and fast shipping with Shopify integrated API to make the process as fast as possible.
Also, creating an automated process of linking the Sales Channel to Logistics and the vendors via Ship Turtle to quickly communicate the order information between channels was a new experience. Still, there‘s much more I‘d like to automate and smarten up to minimize the time used in communication.
Moreover, this is a constant journey of observation, iterations, and improvements and we strive to grow with time.