Pakistan’s fashion brands prepare for digital future

In this file photo, models parade at the end of “Madhubala” collection by Reema Ahsan during the Pantene Hum Bridal Couture Week in Lahore on Dec. 8, 2019. (AFP)

Most of these businesses are trying to expand their digital footprint amid the coronavirus pandemic
Some of the top brands admit that their revenues have suffered due to the outbreak of the respiratory disease
RAWALPINDI: High-street and high-end fashion brands in Pakistan are trying to re-imagine the future of business, and it seems that many of them are less likely to rely on traditional brick-and-mortar retail services and more on creating online demand for their products.
Most of these businesses have already maintained a robust presence in the cyberspace, using the Internet for marketing and sales purposes. Yet, the coronavirus pandemic, which has kept shoppers out of stores, has compelled these brands to use their presence in the digital sphere more innovatively.
“Whenever there’s a crisis, it pushes us to be more dynamic, adapt our strategy to match the situation, and evolve as a company or individuals,” Umair Tabbani, CEO and co-founder of Sania Maskatiya, told Arab News in a recent interview.
He added that the brand had “undoubtedly” suffered due to the lockdown situation in the country, adding that the management of his company had moved its “core sales focus on digital by making its already existing online shopping portal more accessible to customers.”
In addition to selling online, brands like Sania Maskatiya have tried to amplify their relationship with the online space.
“Living in the Internet age, we were already reaping the benefits of digital advertising. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has given us an opportunity to get closer to our customers and stakeholders through a lot of organic digital content,” Tabbani said.
Sania Maskatiya had influencers, fellow designers, and notable personalities participate in a hashtag challenge with them on social media, talking about mental health and self-care during the early days of quarantine.
The approach was also adopted by Beechtree, a high-street brand that sells ready-to-wear ensembles, as it tapped into Pakistan’s influencer market by asking women, donning its clothes, to share what life was like for them in quarantine.
“At the moment, there’s a lot of adaptation going on, as the pandemic continues to alter how we live our lives,” Nabia Saqib, the marketing lead at Beechtree, told Arab News on the phone. “Social media and our e-store are playing a critical role in sales conversations.”
Some brands like So Kamal are not only trying to augment their online presence but also doing their best to convince their customers to change their traditional buying habits.
“We are encouraging and educating our customers on how to use our portal since we know that most of them don’t like shopping online,” said Sonia Kamal, CEO of So Kamal, while talking to Arab News over the phone.
Through tutorials on web portals and social media pages, So Kamal is hoping to mold along with the customers for a welcoming online experience, as the future of business looks more firmly rooted in the digital sphere.
“This is an evolutionary process, our team is constantly coming up with ways that can make our products more accessible to our customers,” said Kamal. “As a brick and mortar company, we have tightened our belts since we have to take care of our employees and at the same time give benefit and convenience to our customers.”

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