Bata India, the undisputed market leader in the footwear category in India, is aiming to open 100 more stores in the country during the current year. The new stores will be opened in both metros and smaller towns, divulged Rajeev Gopalakrishnan, Group MD, South Asia, Bata. The brand, which has approximately 1300 stores spread across 500 cities with an employee count of more than 8,000 in India, is constantly striving to maintain its numero uno position.
“While the focus will continue to be on opening more stores, a lot of investment will be made on creating a delightful shopping experience for walk-ins by enhancing customer service, improving store layouts and creating an emphasis on key products within the store,” Gopalakrishnan explained.
Talking about the growing importance of e-commerce and its impact on the brand, Gopalakrishnan said, “There is a whole new opportunity for expansion of business via the e-commerce platform. Our e-commerce business has reached approximately 1400 cities across India with its shipments.”
“As a part of our endeavour to make transactions on the web easier for consumers and to boost sales, we’ve launched an M-wallet (mode of payment) service.”
Bata has also launched a mobile application for user-friendly experience via an interactive user interface. Gopalakrishnan informed. “It offers easy, convenient navigation through the largest Bata catalogue on consumers’ fingertips without the necessity of a laptop or PC,” he added. “In order to attract more online customers, new partnerships have been created over the course of last year with leading online marketplaces, including Amazon, Myntra, Flipkart and Jabong, among others.”
Average Bata store size in India is between 1500-2000 sq.ft, while the brands retails through multiple store formats: Family Concept stores, which target the lower and middle class consumers, while Flagship, City and Zeus Concept stores targets the upper-income segment of consumers.
Offering his outlook on the Indian footwear market, Gopalakrishnan noted, “Factors such as low production cost, abundant availability of raw material, ever-evolving retail ecosystem, buying patterns and a huge consumption market set the Indian footwear industry apart. The Indian footwear industry has changed dramatically in the past few years, and the country has become a business destination for many brands from across the globe. As a consequence, consumer demands have widened with the variety of choices available in the category.”
The footwear market in India, which has been influenced and impacted by an increasing presence of foreign companies, is predicted to record close to 15% annual growth year on year, according to industry reports.