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We are constantly developing faster product designs
Abhishek Ganguly, MD of Puma India, talks about online shopping for sportswear products and strategies planned for the brand in India. This is an exclusive interview with Fibre2Fashion.com.
Sportswear products are becoming big in the lifestyle category of online shopping. Will the market buy products online in a category where fit and comfort need thorough checking?
There is a huge increase in interest levels around sports and fitness. Overall, consumption of products in these categories is growing. E-commerce provides convenient shopping to modern consumers. Online platforms offer easy returns and exchange to acquire new consumers today. Hence, the barrier to online shopping has definitely gone down for sportswear as well. But sportswear is a high-involvement purchase, where touch-and-feel is an important element in consumer's buying decision. Trying products and choosing the right technology and fit is critical, especially for higher-end products. Hence, we feel a lot of consumers will continue to visit exclusive stores of brands to buy sportswear.
Is online shopping more viable than brick-and-mortar shopping for sportswear?
Both online and offline shopping offer different experiences to consumers. To say that one medium is more viable than the other will not be right. Online shopping has picked up across categories, and will continue to grow. We see this as an opportunity to reach out to a larger set of prospective customers.
How is your company rising in India, and how do you plan to position the brand? What are the strategies to push your brand more aggressively in the market?
We entered the Indian market in 2006, later than the other global sports brands. However, Puma captured the minds of Indian consumers soon. Through innovative and aspiring products, compelling marketing campaigns and high standards in retail, Puma quickly emerged as a leading brand in the country. Our focus has always been our consumers. This has helped in a steady and high growth of the brand over these years. Puma's journey has covered different levels of accomplishments with its sports achievements, revolutionary technologies, setting new trends in the industry and delivering quality performance products. Now, as the fastest growing sports brand in the world, we are constantly developing faster product designs for the fastest athletes on the planet.
Why does Puma want to establish itself as a running and fitness brand?
Puma has a heritage in sports since 1948. Some of the top athletes in the world have used Puma products to attain their best performance, including the fastest man on this planet, Usain Bolt. Running and fitness are a key category for us, not just in India but across the globe. There is a huge increase in interest in the running and fitness categories in India. We are sitting on the cusp of a fitness revolution, which is gripping the country. Puma as a brand wants to contribute to this change, and be a part of this trend. Our stores in India carry the best running and fitness gear launched by Puma globally. To name some, our Faas range of running products and Ignite XT on the training front have been a runaway success in the market. We are very bullish about these categories.
Our local success includes getting Jacqueline Fernandez and Lisa Haydon as a part of the Puma family to promote our fitness and running products. Jacqueline is one of the fittest youth icons today. Lisa is one of the best women marathoners in the country. Our marquee running event, the Puma Urban Stampede, is one of its kind in 5K races held in seven cities in the country. From this year, we are cementing our dominance in the running space by associating with two of the largest races in India --- Airtel Delhi Half Marathon and Tata Steel Kolkata 25k.
What are your plans for future growth? What products are you focusing on to increase awareness among consumers about sportswear?
We will continue to invest in India, and bring about the latest range of Puma products. We will look closely at women's fitness. Also, we will use the Indian Super League to increase our engagement with football in the country. We are the official ball and boot supplier of the league and the kitting partner of 3 out of 8 teams - Kerala, Mumbai and Delhi. We will like to engage with our consumers through the brand across retail and marketing channels.
Published on: 16/12/2015
DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.
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