Un­pre­dictable and play­ful, the lead­ing youth fash­ion brand has al­ways grabbed the at­ten­tion of its tar­get au­di­ence. Simeran Bhasin, Mar­ket­ing Head at Fastrack shares in­sights on how the brand has evolved with its TG and built a strong con­nect with them.


Simeran Bhasin Mar­ket­ing Head, Fastrack As told to Chanda P Kumar

With its DNA rooted in the word ‘ir­rev­er­ence’, Fastrack has al­ways man­aged to stand out from other fash­ion brands with its vi­brant prod­ucts and tongue-in-cheek com­mu­ni­ca­tion, which is in tune with the youth of to­day. VM&RD chats up with Simeran Bhasin, Mar­ket­ing Head of Fastrack, to learn how the brand strikes a chord with its con­sumers and how it plans to tap this grow­ing mar­ket.

How im­por­tant is the re­tail space for a fash­ion ac­ces­sory brand like Fastrack?

Re­tail is where the brand im­age comes alive. As for Fastrack, the brand ex­pe­ri­ence is led by the re­tail space. Our big­gest con­nect is cre­at­ing an en­vi­ron­ment that they can re­late to, which is dif­fer­ent from all other brands. Whether it was the old or the new re­tail con­cept, we have al­ways been very dif­fer­ent from other stores and very linked with our de­sign iden­tity. And most im­por­tantly, for this tar­get au­di­ence you have to have a cool place to shop at. At the re­tail front we con­stantly ex­per­i­ment with the new stuff we want to in­tro­duce. We test it out here be­fore we launch it as a main cat­e­gory. For e.g., a few months ago we in­tro­duced a whole new range of sunglass cases, lap­tops cases, scarves etc. This was done only for our ex­clu­sive stores. So de­pend­ing on how they work, we ei­ther call them sea­sonal prod­ucts or turn them into full-fledged prod­uct cat­e­gories. This is some­thing that re­tail stores al­low us to do.

You re­cently un­veiled a new store con­cept; how do you plan to roll out this new re­tail iden­tity?

The new flag­ship store iden­tity is go­ing to be ex­tended and taken for­ward to all our news stores and the ones which are com­ing up for ren­o­va­tion. This is go­ing to be the new look of Fastrack re­tail space. The de­sign flex­i­bil­ity eas­ily al­lows us to in­cor­po­rate new prod­uct cat­e­gories. Right now we have just one store in Ban­ga­lore, and soon we will be open­ing the sec­ond in Chen­nai. We will also ex­tend this to our kiosks which will be com­ing up in some malls. End of last year we had a to­tal of 141 stand­alone stores, to which we will be adding 100 stores this year. With the new re­tail con­cept, we will be in­vest­ing about Rs 50-60 lakh for each store.

How does the brand con­nect and be in sync with its tar­get au­di­ence?

Our tar­get au­di­ence falls in the age group of 18-21 years, who is con­stantly evolv­ing and that’s how the brand has to be­have if the brand has to con­tinue to con­nect with the au­di­ence. We have seen a shift in the way the tar­get group be­haves since we launched 8 years ago. Fastrack has evolved with this shift to stay con­nected. In the first three years, we were a younger, sweeter and pure fun brand. Then we de­cided to ma­ture a lit­tle bit and be­come more adult like, be­cause the same tar­get group was be­com­ing more pre­car­i­ous, which is a world­wide phe­nom­ena. Time­lines are short­en­ing and the change which used to hap­pen over a decade is hap­pen­ing in 3-4 years now. That’s how of­ten the brand has to rein­vent it­self. We’ve done one level of reinvention and an­other is in a cou­ple of years to come.

What’s the brand’s se­cret to at­tract the tar­get group and re­tain them?

Our big­gest USP is that we are an af­ford­able fash­ion brand, and have brought in in­ter­na­tional styling at In­dian prices. So we oc­cupy that sweet spot, be­tween the un­or­ga­nized and im­ported fash­ion brands. Adding to this, we con­stantly have new themes ev­ery 3-4 times a year, around which the col­lec­tion is based on. The lat­est one is the ‘Ex­plorer’ where the look and feel is ex­tended across the prod­uct cat­e­gories such as watches, sun­glasses, bags, etc. Along with th­ese themes, new com­mu­ni­ca­tion and new sto­ries evolve which keep the brand fresh and con­nected with shop­pers. We main­tain strong con­nect with our con­sumers through com­mu­ni­ca­tion. We con­stantly have some­thing new for them. In terms of col­lec­tion and themes, we are af­ford­able and al­low them to accessorize.

Fastrack is largely con­nected with the youth through its Face­book page. Can you tell us the im­por­tance of the dig­i­tal plat­form to build strong re­la­tion­ship with the con­sumer?

We have about 7.5 mil­lion fans, which is one of the largest fan bases in the coun­try to­day. Through our Face­book page, the con­sumers get sneak pre­views of prod­uct launch, cam­paign launches, dis­count sales, etc. In all, they get the brand’s point of view as we are con­stantly post­ing opin­ions. The dig­i­tal plat­form and so­cial me­dia is vi­tal for us, since our tar­get group spends max­i­mum time on­line. And even here Fastrack has main­tained a very in­for­mal re­la­tion­ship, by keep­ing the typ­i­cal ‘sales pitch’ out of the dig­i­tal medium.

With on­line shop­ping gain­ing mo­men­tum, do you see the e-com­merce plat­form in­creas­ing its con­tri­bu­tion to the over­all rev­enue?

We started our in-house e-com­merce plat­form in April this year, hence it is very early to comment. How­ever, we have been on other e-com­merce in the past. Al­though our busi­ness is pre­dom­i­nantly led by off­line sales, we have no­ticed a 100% month on month growth in on­line sales re­cently. We are con­fi­dent of high growth in on­line sales. How­ever, we be­lieve that there is enough place and de­mand for off­line and on­line to grow si­mul­ta­ne­ously in this bur­geon­ing mar­ket

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