Soles Shoes to Ex­pand Re­tail Foot­print in In­dia

The brand is all set to es­tab­lish it­self as an iconic life­style brand, with a tar­get to be­come a fast fash­ion brand to reckon with in­ter­na­tional mar­ket in the com­ing years…

Images Retail - - CONTENTS - – By IM­AGES Re­tail Bureau

The footwear mar­ket has changed ex­po­nen­tially over the past few years, grow­ing rapidly as shoes are be­com­ing more than just a ne­ces­sity – they’re be­com­ing a very im­por­tant fash­ion ac­ces­sory. The in­creas­ing de­mand for trendy, yet com­fort­able, footwear among all age groups is a key fac­tor in the rapid growth of this mar­ket. Malls covet good in­ter­na­tional and na­tional footwear brand due to the grow­ing de­mand from con­sumers. One such brand which started with a sin­gle store and has now grown into a chain ca­ter­ing to al­most all of South In­dia is SOLES.

“We started our jour­ney in 2007 as a women’s footwear brand. That time, SOLES was a sin­gle store. Today, we are ca­ter­ing to al­most all of South In­dia with our stores. Our tar­get au­di­ence is aged be­tween 18-50 and in­cludes women who stand by fash­ion, who wear fash­ion on their feet and who seek com­fort and trend all rolled into one. We have all com­pany-owned re­tail stores to reach the end-cus­tomer. Our fo­cus is now ex­pan­sion for we want to spread our re­tail foot­print to the rest of the coun­try soon,” says Ayaz Mah­mood, Founder and MD, SOLES Fash­ion Pri­vate Lim­ited.

Oper­at­ing Model

The brand has a ro­bust Om­nichan­nel strat­egy in place, with a strong on­line pres­ence. SOLES reaches the con­sumer through their stores as well as their e-com­merce web­site­ With an aver­age store size is be­tween 600 sq. ft. to 1,000 sq. ft., the brand has al­ways been in line with some most of the com­pet­i­tive, pre­mium brands in In­dia.

“We have our own pro­duc­tion units which are com­fort­able for the dis­tri­bu­tion of off­line sales which di­rectly reach our com­pany-owned re­tail stores. Apart from this, we have an on­line sales chan­nel both

in B2C and B2B on Ama­zon and In­dia­mart re­spec­tively. We also sell our prod­ucts on ma­jor e-com­merce web­sites,” says Ayaz Mah­mood.

The brand uses Cus­tomer Square to sup­port them in their cus­tomer re­la­tion­ship man­age­ment. How­ever, the team is ma­jor pro­po­nents of great cus­tomer ser­vice, rather than play­ing around with new-fan­gled tech­nol­ogy.

“In the 10 years that we have been in ex­is­tence, we have suc­cess­fully main­tained good re­la­tions with our cus­tomers. They are like fam­ily to the SOLES Group. Our en­deavor is to serve con­sumers bet­ter ev­ery step of the way,” says Ayaz Mah­mood.

The brand has al­ways used a pre­mium pric­ing strat­egy and has been flex­i­ble in giv­ing dis­counts to loyal cus­tomers, apart from the reg­u­lar of­fers it keeps rolling out. A Fo­cus on Visual Mer­chan­dis­ing Visual mer­chan­dis­ing is a time-tested re­tail con­cept that fo­cuses on en­hanc­ing the aes­thetic ap­peal of a prod­uct or store to at­tract cus­tomers and in­crease sales. SOLES from the very be­gin­ning has played with vi­su­als.

“We fol­low a life­style dis­play set­ting which en­cour­ages cus­tomers to come in­side and check out our prod­uct and makes the cus­tomer re­late deeply with the footwear. One key ele­ment ac­cord­ing to us is the light which acts as cat­a­lyst for prod­uct en­hance­ment,” says Ayaz Mah­mood.

Ex­pan­sion Plans

SOLES is pri­mar­ily fo­cused on ex­pand­ing in the na­tional mar­ket, spread­ing to other parts of the coun­try after firm­ing their foot­print in the South. The brand is eyeing metro cities and is open to set­ting up shop in both malls or high streets.

“In­dia is a mix of both Western and Eastern cul­tures. With glob­al­i­sa­tion, more and more malls are open­ing to ac­com­mo­date in­ter­na­tion­ally aware au­di­ences, and brands are pen­e­trat­ing ev­ery part of the coun­try, be they Tier I, II or III cities / towns. SOLES, be­ing a pre­mium brand, has al­ways had foot­prints in Tier I cities. We now plan to move into Tier II and III as well in or­der to cre­ate a com­plete life­style brand,” Ayaz Mah­mood adds.

The long-term goal, of course, is to ex­pand in­ter­na­tion­ally.

“Since we are plan­ning to tar­get other parts of In­dia, we will also have to ex­pand cat­e­gory-wise. We plan on in­clud­ing closed shoes in our cat­e­gory and also in dif­fer­ent price ranges,” he fur­ther states.

The Fu­ture

The brand is all set to es­tab­lish it­self as an iconic life­style brand, with a tar­get to be­come a fast fash­ion brand to reckon with in­ter­na­tional mar­ket in the com­ing years.

We plan to tar­get ev­ery sec­tor as a sep­a­rate group, reach­ing out to them, un­der­stand­ing their tastes and choices and serv­ing them ac­cord­ingly.

Cur­rently, the brand is achiev­ing ₹12 crore per an­num. The tar­get is to hike this by at least 50 per­cent in the com­ing fis­cal.


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