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