RE­TAIL IS NO LONGER A STORE-COUNT GAME

To­day, e-com­merce rep­re­sents a chan­nel that is grow­ing much faster than the brick-and-mor­tar busi­ness. So, it’s not about store count but about the ex­tent of the con­sumer’s wal­let share that a brand has in a coun­try that mat­ters…

Images Retail - - CONTENTS - – By Charu Lamba

adi­das to op­er­ate fully owned sin­gle bran­dretail stores as well as cash-and-carry whole­sale busi­ness un­der a sin­gle en­tity in In­dia

With the Cen­tre per­mit­ting Ger­man sports goods maker adi­das to op­er­ate ful­ly­owned sin­gle-brand re­tail stores as well as cash-and-carry whole­sale busi­ness un­der a sin­gle en­tity in In­dia, the brand – one of the world’s most fa­mous shoe­mak­ers – plans to open large stores in the coun­try, much like it has in other ma­jor mar­kets across the world.

Elab­o­rat­ing, Brand Ac­ti­va­tion Di­rec­tor, adi­das, Am­rith Gopinath said on the side­lines of the In­dia Re­tail Fo­rum 2017, “We re­cently got the ‘own re­tail’ li­cense from the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia. So, we are now in the process of open­ing our own re­tail stores di­rectly for the con­sumer. But we are mov­ing ahead cau­tiously. There is no blue­print of open­ing 100 stores in a year. We want to go slow. We al­ready have a good foot­print of 450-odd stores in the coun­try and there­fore ex­pan­sion is cer­tainly hap­pen­ing, but it is go­ing to be a cal­i­brated ex­pan­sion.”

He fur­ther said: “It is not a store count game any­more. It used to be 10 years ago. To­day, e-com­merce rep­re­sents a chan­nel that is grow­ing much faster than the brick-and­mor­tar busi­ness. So, it’s not about store count but about the ex­tent of the con­sumer’s wal­let share that a brand has within the sports in­dus­try in a coun­try that mat­ters.”

Five years from now, I see In­dia go­ing big in sports – not just cricket but also foot­ball, hockey and the Olympics and adi­das will be at the top of the list of every In­dian sport­ing goods con­sumer. The coun­try is on a sport­ing jour­ney and adi­das as a brand is go­ing to go move along with In­dia.”

Om­nichan­nel: The Way For­ward

Om­nichan­nel trends have be­come the ‘burn­ing plat­form’ for the re­tail in­dus­try. The medium pro­vides con­sumers with con­ve­nience as far as ease of pur­chase is con­cerned. adi­das (to­gether with Reebok), which has a 40 per­cent mar­ket share

in the sports­wear cat­e­gory in the coun­try, had in­tro­duced their Om­nichan­nel strat­egy in In­dia ap­prox­i­mately two years ago.

“Two years ago, we were the first brand to pi­o­neer the con­cept of end­less aisle. A tablet within our stores al­lowed cus­tomers to iden­tify the avail­abil­ity of sizes and styles which were not avail­able in-store and let con­sumers or­der their prod­uct on­line. The cus­tomer was given the choice to get the prod­uct de­liv­ered at the store or at his home. Phys­i­cal in­ven­tory is dif­fi­cult to main­tain in store some­times and the brand does not want to lose con­sumers – the main rea­son why this Om­nichan­nel scheme was in­tro­duced,” ex­plained Gopinath.

This fa­cil­ity has been rolled out in over 200+ stores so far and any­where be­tween 5-10 per­cent store turnover comes from ‘tablet or­der­ing.’ “Blend­ing of all on­line and off­line chan­nels through an Om­nichan­nel ap­proach is some­thing we are very se­ri­ous about,” Gopinath stated.

Buzz­word Ath­leisure

Till about a decade ago, re­tail­ers did not feel the need to reg­is­ter the size or the growth per­cent­ages of ath­leisure wear. But to­day, af­ter in­tense ac­tiv­ity in the past seven years, the cat­e­gory has carved out a sep­a­rate niche for it­self.

Talk­ing about how the brand is cash­ing upon the op­por­tu­nity, Gopinath said, “Ath­leisure has al­ways been a part of brand adi­das and it is grow­ing as a cat­e­gory. We have ob­served an in­crease in de­mand and in keep­ing with the same, we are in­creas­ing our port­fo­lio as sea­sons go by.”

Go­ing Tech-savvy

Tech­nol­ogy cou­pled with con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence is an in­te­gral part of re­tail to­day. The idea is to give such good con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence – us­ing new-age tech­nol­ogy – that con­sumers keep com­ing back to a brand. adi­das is im­ple­ment­ing in-store tech­nol­ogy in a big way.

“Glob­ally and in In­dia, we in­tend to in­tro­duce tech-en­abled ex­pe­ri­ences for tech-savvy con­sumers. For ex­am­ple, there is some­thing called Run Ge­nie that we are go­ing to bring to In­dia soon. It is a pod that you put on to your shoe and when you jog, it analy­ses the way you run. It tells what kind of foot strike you have and there­fore what sort of shoe will be apt for you,” re­vealed Gopinath.

“For con­sumers in­ter­ested in foot­ball shoes, there are de­vices that can help you see how fast you can strike the ball, what is the curve and spin on the ball that you have with a par­tic­u­lar shoe. There are also foot­balls which have chips imbed­ded in them which analy­ses the way a per­son kicks and then rec­om­mends the best kind of foot­ball shoes for him/her. So, yes, tech­nol­ogy is go­ing to be a big part of our sell­ing process. We need to con­sider how many stores we will in­tro­duce these ideas in to start with,” he added.

FOR CON­SUMERS IN­TER­ESTED IN FOOT­BALL SHOES, THERE ARE DE­VICES THAT CAN HELP YOU SEE HOW FAST YOU CAN STRIKE THE BALL, WHAT IS THE CURVE AND SPIN ON THE BALL THAT YOU HAVE WITH A PAR­TIC­U­LAR SHOE. – Am­rith Gopinath, adi­das Brand Ac­ti­va­tion Di­rec­tor

Fu­ture Goals

At adi­das, the strat­egy is to try and cre­ate a sport­ing cul­ture in In­dia. As a brand – which is the Num­ber One sports brand in the world – adi­das wants to cre­ate a legacy of sports in In­dia, spread the con­cept that sports are also a vi­able liveli­hood op­tion, a way of life. The brand’s long-term strat­egy is to get more and more In­di­ans to take to sports, to cre­ate sport­ing cul­ture in this coun­try.

Un­der­lin­ing the im­por­tance of sports go­ing ahead, Gopinath said: “We are do­ing re­ally well in In­dia as of now and have no plans of shut­ting down any stores in the coun­try. We are one of the most prof­itable sports brand in In­dia, hav­ing crossed ₹1,000 crore rev­enue mile­stone very re­cently.”

As a cat­e­gory, the brand is very bullish on foot­ball in In­dia. “We see a bright fu­ture of foot­ball and adi­das Orig­i­nals in

In­dia. It is the sec­ond sport af­ter cricket which is emerg­ing in the coun­try. In­dian young­sters fol­low the sport and both in­ter­na­tional and home­grown foot­ball he­roes re­li­giously. As a re­sult, our adi­das Orig­i­nals cat­e­gory is grow­ing. At present it con­trib­utes a small share to the rev­enue, but we be­lieve it is go­ing to be a big part of the busi­ness in the years to come,” as­serted Gopinath.

The brand has opened 16 adi­das Orig­i­nals stores in In­dia, which are do­ing phe­nom­e­nally well.

Cyrus Sahukar, Ran­veer Singh, Deepika Dipti and Sean Van Wyk at adi­das Orig­i­nals OFDD store launch

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