Swarovski is making strong presence across the country today. In between robust MBO scaling plans, entering into non-metro markets and on the verge of rolling out their latest global design concept in India, VM&RD catches up with Jochen Schmidt, VP Retail Architecture CGB, Omnichannel & Commercial Operation, Swarovski and Sukanya Duttaroy, Managing Director, CGB General Management, Swarovski India.
Tell us about your retail presence scenario in India and how do you plan to scale it up? Jochen : In total we will have around 12 projects in India this year. Eleven are new openings and 4 of them will be MBOs. We will proceed with this pace over the next years as we strongly believe in the further development of the retail landscape in India. We target for the right mix between EBO and MBO. In an ideal mix both channels support each other. Whereas the EBO is a strong tool for a premium brand to drive brand awareness, provide an outstanding consumer experience and the full offer. The MBO’s will help to reach out to the consumer in under-penetrated retail locations and provide accessibility to the consumer. Also here we want to further grow and this is reflected in our midterm distribution plan.
Sukanya : Swarovski has been in India since 2000, and we would like to think that we are one of the few mature brands in India. We are very well distributed in malls across the country as well multi-brand outlets. We started off with an online presence on e-commerce shopping website, Myntra last year and expanded to Jabong this year. We plan to have a presence on most of the leading e-commerce websites of the country.
What scope do you see in Indian nonmetros? Sukanya : Keeping in mind the country’s inclination towards the brand, we will continue our investments in the India market by becoming more accessible to customers as the retail markets evolve and Tier 2 market are definitely an area of interest for us, which we will attempt to leverage in the coming years.
How do you plan to further build on your omni-channel strategy?
Jochen : Currently, we are rolling out the “Click and collect” concept in 7 countries in parallel. The pilot in UK is very successful and both channels take advantage of this connected experience. We think about further connection of online / offline with same payment methods and also the integration of social media in the overall consumer journey.
Are you planning to open any large format store/specialty retail format?
Jochen : We have an incredible heritage of 120 years and we want to surprise our consumer again and again through innovation and outstanding craftsmanship. Currently, we are working on a complete new experience for the consumer, which will be launched during Christmas 2017. We want to surprise our customer with a fully digital experience in a brick and mortar environment - from finding the right style and product to virtual try, sharing the experience on social media and doing a digital check out.
Larger store formats like our Flagship store in Ginza, Japan or Crystal World in Austria are not in the pipeline for India at the moment. However, we know those large stores can provide an elevated brand experience and are important for any international brand out there.
Many brick-and-mortar formats are going through major makeovers. What is Swarovski’s plan of action here?
Sukanya : We are actually done with the last leg of refurbishing our India stores as India is one of the first countries that has completely moved to Swarovski’s International ‘Crystal Forest’ Concept. Kolkata was the last store that was refurbished and transformed into the Crystal Forest concept. We aim to continue this architecture for all the stores of India. The reason for moving to this concept for all the store was, that with the rise of the globalized customer, we expect to provide the same experience to the Indian customer as they would at any Swarovski store in Europe, UK or USA and we are proud to proclaim that India is one of the few countries to make this complete transformation. The Crystal Forest Concept focuses on a more accessible product display for high sensory appeal, through a balance of easy navigation as well as the Swarovski Circle of Excellence for a consistent, global Swarovski experience.
Jochen : Since 2016 we have been using more screens in the concept than static visuals. We can communicate in a more flexible manner, tell a better story and show more about brand history, heritage, mastery and craftsmanship, which makes our products so unique.
Jochen Schmidt, VP Retail Architecture CGB, Omnichannel & Commercial Operation, Swarovski
Sukanya Duttaroy, Managing Director, CGB General Management, Swarovski India