Skechers, the American sports lifestyle brand, has rolled out the newest edition of their popular GOrun range in India. After the success of the variants GOrun 4, 5 and 6, the brand has launched the latest upgrade – Skechers GOrun 7. The GOrun 7 is the newest edition in the GOrun family which is built with the ‘Hyper Burst Cushioning’ foam.
This new Hyper Burst technology process creates foam with a unique cellular structure that is more durable and buoyant than the stuff found in many running shoes, making it one of the lightest and most resilient Skechers Performance shoes and is completely different than any foam Skechers Performance has ever created.
IMAGES Business of Fashion talks to Rahul Vira, CEO, Skechers, South Asia Pvt. Ltd. to discuss the growing prospects for the brand and how it is taking on a combination of innovation, style and technology.
Edited excerpts from the interview…
Tell us about the new GOrun 7?
This is the 7th franchisee in the GOrun category. This shoe comes with a new foam that we have launched globally called the Hyper Burst which is a completely new technology for the outer sole. This makes the shoes very lightweight. The upper part of the shoe is also amazing as it uses a new compression knit technology, which makes the shoe breathable. This new locking mechanism for lacing gives a snug fit to the wearer since it holds the foot perfectly. It’s a perfect product for India and is extremely comfortable.
What are the other innovations that the brand is working on over the coming years?
We are working on a lot of innovations in the footwear and apparels category, some of which we have already launched. For example, we do a 360 degree stretch in our t-shirts and a two-way stretch in shorts. This innovation is called stretch knit, which provides more comfort when one is running or working out in the gym or playing a sport.
In footwear there are a lot of innovations too – there is a new line of walking shoes coming up in just a few months from now. Meanwhile, in the fashion segment consumers will see the trends from the 90s and the 80s coming back. More such innovative launches will be seen during Fall-Winter ‘19 and Spring- Summer ‘20.
Tell us about your Omnichannel strategy?
If you look at today’s retail consumers, it’s clear that they are not the same as they were five years ago. As a company you need to adapt yourself to changing times and evolving market dynamics. Keeping this in mind, we are working on an Omnichannel strategy. However, we are still understanding what an Omnichannel strategy would mean for us in the shoes category – will this help consumers who can’t find a productionstore to order online via a touchscreen in the store and get it delivered home? Or will this help send more consumers from the physical store to the online store? We are still trying to work out the multiple facets of going Omnichannel.
Tell us about your present retail mapping?
Skechers currently operates close to 230 stores. We are practically opening a store every fourth day in India. By the end of 2019, we are looking at close to 300+ stores in India across metros and mini-metros. Our stores are largely franchisee operated and the average size is around 1,500 sq. ft., with the biggest one being approximately 8,000 sq. ft. We are also available online through our own website.
What are the technologies being used in-store at Skechers?
Aside from helping the consumer find the right product or size, we use technology which can reduce the transaction time both offline and online. The other technology that we are using is new age lighting which impacts the consumer buying cycle in a store.
Giving reference to our products, a lot of kid’s shoes are Bluetooth enabled. Here you can just download our app and choose the colour of the lights which you want for the shoe. If your phone is connected to music, then the beats can actually be synchronized to the lights on this shoe.
How is Skechers adopting the sustainability quotient?
I think as a brand at a larger level we are very conscious about this. At the global level there are lot of initiatives that we have taken to ensure that we are doing things that kind of help us re-generate and re-build the planet again in the right manner.
Sustainability starts with our products and its materials. If you look at the upper part of our shoes, we are choosing natural materials that are recyclable. We have launched a program where we are using ethically sourced merino-wool for our shoes. In the apparel range too, we are continuously on the move how to get more natural fabric and its usage in our collection.
What are the growth aspirations for the brand?
Skechers in India has been registering a very healthy double digit growth.