Swiss Military Worldwide was founded in Switzerland 30 years ago. The company made inroads into the Indian domain five years back and has since been operating in the business-to-business segment. Present across 26 countries as of now, Swiss Military has over 600 stores in Europe alone and brand registration in about 40 countries globally. The brand offers over 700 SKUs across 12 product categories in its global portfolio covering travel gear, writing instruments, leather goods, garments, cosmetics, batteries, outdoor equipment, kitchenware, sunglasses, footwear, electronics and lifestyle accessories encompassing multi-purpose tools, travel mugs, key chains, alarm clocks and torches, etc. In an exclusive conversation Anuj Sawhney, Managing Director, Swiss Military highlights how the brand is leveraging the e-commerce platform.
What was the rationale behind foraying into e-commerce venture? Is your e-commerce portal also accessible on mobiles and tablets?
Today, e-commerce has become an integral part of the entire shopping experience for Indian customers. With the changing Indian market scenario, customer’s buying behaviour and wide reach of the Internet, we decided to tap the e-commerce route to serve as a bridge between the online and offline model and be easily accessible to our customers. The brand went live with its website in October 2012. The goal of being just a click away is to boost customer engagement and create a platform for individuals and corporate houses across India to purchase genuine Swiss Military products. The products can also be accessed via mobiles and tablets.
How focused are you on e-commerce and what is your strategy in that domain?
The gap between brick-and-mortar shopping and e-shopping is getting narrower by the day. We have won the confidence of our customers by offering the best Swiss Lifestyle Accessories at affordable prices within a stipulated promised time. E-retail is growing exponentially as consumers are getting bolder with usage of plastic money and with most e-retail ventures promising quality delivered at the consumer’s doorstep.
What percentage of your revenues comes from e-commerce?
At present over 9 to 10 per cent of our sales volume is generated pan India from the online medium. This percentage is constantly on the rise and we especially notice a peak during the festive season.
How lucrative are tier-II and -III cities for your e-commerce business?
Besides metro cities, the fastest growth and demand is seen from tier-II and -III cities, as people in most of these cities do not have access to premium luxury products. There will be more consolidation in e-commerce in the future.
Swiss Military does not have its own EBOs. Any plans to open your exclusive stores?
In a bid to gain a stronger footprint in the Indian retail market, we will be opening 12 flagship Swiss Military stores and 250–300 franchisees pan India by 2016.
Swiss Military is known for its exclusive menswear line. Are you planning to offer any new category to your patrons?
Having established ourselves as forerunners in the ever-evolving and dynamic global premium lifestyle sector, we are now aiming to capture newer grounds both in terms of market penetration and newer product categories to serve as a one-stop solution for men’s global lifestyle products. We will shortly expand our product range and launch Swiss-made watches, sunglasses, electronics, footwear and cosmetics besides our existing product categories in the market.
We also plan to invest Rs. 100 crore plus into our retail operations by next year to become a one-stop destination for men’s lifestyle accessories.