Our new flagship stores have big focus on experiential: Sundeep Chugh, CEO & MD, Benetton India
Sundeep Chugh, Chief Executive and MD Benetton India speaks about leveraging the big potential that Indian retail offers and how experiential is playing a big role in customer acquisition.
In over two decades since it began its operations in India, Benetton has witnessed consistent growth despite facing competition from local and foreign players. According to Sundeep Chugh, CEO& MD, Benetton India, this consistent growth in numbers reflects the trust Indian customers have put in this brand. In turn, India has become a big focus for Benetton globally with the country influencing fashion trends and drawing big investments even in tier 3 and tier 4 cities.
In an exclusive interview with Everything Experiential, Sundeep Chugh speaks about leveraging the big potential that Indian retail offers and how experiential is playing a big role in customer acquisition.
How significant has India become as a market for Benetton globally?
India is our number one subsidiary outside Italy and there is a lot of focus on Indian market. We have just opened a store in London, which is our latest flagship store. Soon, you might see a store on the similar flagship format in Delhi too. This is the kind of importance India has for Benetton. Also, it’s a country with huge potential and we have been growing consistently with a 15-18% growth in the last 7 to 8 years. So from a performance point too Indian market is giving consistent performance year after year and it is difficult to seek these kinds of numbers outside India. I would say India is top of mind not just for us but for all global brands.
With online retail market growing at 30 per cent YoY in India, how is Benetton planning to leverage the big promise that it could deliver for the brand?
We were the first ones to realize the importance of online because it is a very important channel to connect with the youth. In a country which is has over 60 per cent of the population below 35 years, and in a country where we have almost 400 million smart phone users, which will become 700 million by 2020, online makes a lot of sense for us. In fact we started in 2011 and since then the performance has been encouraging. We also know that online is a marketplace where offline can get cannibalized, so we strategically created a business vertical like footwear online. In the few years we have nurtured this channel very well for our brand and we will be selling close to a million pairs of footwear by next year. So we are looking at ecommerce as a channel where we can develop new business, but at the same time it is important to be in this channel in the right way.
How would you describe your marketing strategy in India? How significant is experiential in that mix?
From an experiential perspective it is around 8 to 10 per cent so far. It is an important element because you have to give customers the best experience in the stores. Currently there is lot of focus on digital. We will be allocating more than 50 per cent spends on digital as we feel it is the long term medium and where we find our target audience. Moreover it is easy to measure and allows quick feedback which in turn helps to change direction or deploy a more effective strategy. TV we have used very rarely. Spend wise, mostly it is print and outdoors after digital.
How are you planning to leverage the scope that experiential offers, what kind of new initiatives are you planning from the experiential standpoint?
We are launching new flagship stores which will have a big focus on experiential. I think it is important for customers to have access to experience zones where they can understand and experience the key pillars of the brand and find better connect with the brand. Currently our experiential campaigns focus on socially relevant issues and we plan to integrate them further with our brand philosophy.
Technology in many ways is redefining consumer experience, how are you using tech enabled experiential initiatives to redefine customer engagement?
We are looking at it. Though we haven’t done it fully yet, but this offers a great opportunity to take customer experience to a new level. In our industry what works best is the touch-and- feel factor, so currently we are in the process of evaluating what can be done from the technology perspective at the stores which can make customer experience a lot more impactful.
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