The company last month said it will strengthen its presence by adding 500 stores in next five years, focusing mainly on small markets as it has identified tier II, III and IV cities where it has plans to broaden its sales network through the franchise model.
Footwear maker Bata will continue its growth journey in India with the multi-retail channel approach along with e-commerce platform to reach out to as many customers as it can, said a top company official. The company, which has a retail network in 450 towns, is further expanding by adding new stores in smaller towns through franchise route. “Now we are using all three engines – our own stores, franchise partner store, which is a big drive for us in tier III & IV, and multibrand outlets.
On the top it would be our e-commerce channels, whether through bata.in or other marketplaces to get as many consumers as we can,” Bata India CEO Sandeep Kataria told PTI. The company last month said it will strengthen its presence by adding 500 stores in next five years, focusing mainly on small markets as it has identified tier II, III and IV cities where it has plans to broaden its sales network through the franchise model. “What has happened over time, that the brand image and the brand name was much bigger than our reach, as we were selling through our retail stores only in 450 towns,” he said. “India is much bigger and the brand image is also bigger. So we decided to expand our reach to as many Indians and take advantage of our equities.”
According to Kataria, online channels are providing opportunities in multiple ways to reach consumers. “We can actually use the digital channels to increase the productivity of our stores and enhance the satisfaction to our consumers,” said Kataria on the sidelines of an event organised by the Retailers Association of India. Besides, Bata is working hard to reconnect with the country’s millennials. “We have a whole battery of brands in Bata as North Star, Bata Red Label, Marie Claire and Footin which talk to millenials. We do not have to mainly rely on Bata, the main brand,” he said. “We are seeing the average age of the customers in Bata store going down. We have now more millennials than the past,” he said.
When asked whether Bata has any plans to introduce new brands from its global fold, he said the company is not very keen to do that. “There is a huge opportunity for us to play with the brands which we have here. So we are not very keen to bring a new brand,” he said adding that the company has licence for manufacture and sale of several global brands as Hush Puppies, Naturalizer. Besides, the company has introduced outdoor brand shoes from Caterpillar in its top selected outlets this season.