Gianni Georgiades, CEO, FitFlop, and Nissan Joseph, CEO – of Metro Brands Ltd. on bringing the popular wellbeing footwear brand to India
By Anurima Das
FitFlop, the Canada-based wellbeing footwear brand chose to partner with Metro Brands Ltd. to step into the lucrative Indian market. Recently, the brand unveiled its first offline store in India at Chennai’s Express Avenue Mall (Read more about it here). Gianni Georgiades, CEO, FitFlop, and Nissan Joseph, CEO – of Metro Brands Ltd. spoke to Indiaretailing about the market, its potential and the brand’s plans for India. Excerpts…
Tell us about your focus on India
Gianni Georgiades: As a company, we are in a strategic phase. We have a brand new global strategy in place, of which India is a critical pillar. For us, it is one of the biggest markets. Local production is also one of India’s strengths that is in interest. We felt it was about time we found the right partner and entered the market with our footwear. Both from a wholesale and retail point of view, India has been on our radar for quite some time now. Its importance is only growing, which we look to decipher with a better offline footprint.
What is the strategic importance of this collaboration for Metro Brands?
Nissan Joseph: It’s about serving our customers better. When we consider adding a brand to our portfolio, it’s all about what would the customer see as being valuable to their customer journey inside one of our stores. Our goal is to be India’s largest footwear retailer and to do that you’ve got to make sure that the customer journey becomes complete, relevant, up-to-date, and value-added. FitFlop elevates our brand image. It gives our consumers a better opportunity to expect a better customer journey at our stores.
Considering the growing popularity of online, planning an offline entry that too in an entirely new territory is a big move for a brand like FitFlop.
Gianni Georgiades: Digital has grown owing to the pandemic. The acceleration of online business is only becoming more visible in today’s time. However, as we come out of the pandemic, now the consumer wants to go and experience retail again at offline stores. Now is certainly the time to offer them an experience laced with convenience. Given our product backbone and its USP, it is useful for the customer to try and experience the products up close and personal to make the right purchase decisions. Offline retail is a big part of the storytelling we want to do to let the consumer know more about our products.
Are you tweaking your products for India?
Gianni Georgiades: FitFlop’s USP is ergonomic design. We have a strong in-house team that works in tandem with the latest trends to bring out the most comfortable, technology-backed designs. We are known to offer comfort so that the wearer can wear our products all day from morning to evening.
Our collection in India is pretty much in sync with the global range we have on offer.
We try and create our brand as a global brand and want to spread across the world with the same USP and strength. Perhaps, with time we may work closely with our experts at Metro to see if we can have an India-specific range, but for now, it is all our global collection, which is in store.
What model do you follow when you bring an international brand to the country?
Nissan Joseph: When we bring an international brand on board, we see how a particular brand is performing from digital sales to offline for a few months. Given our multichannel touchpoints, we are able to incubate a brand and see its potential. The same actually happened FlitFlop case. We observed that the brand got a good response Chennai from both genders. That was when we knew this was the right city to launch the brand in.
We will open more stores across India starting with the metros. In the meanwhile, FitFlops will available to customers across India through our 450 stores and digital touchpoints.