Swiss Military is a global lifestyle brand known for its corporate gifting solutions and premium lifestyle accessories. With a strong global presence the company has been working on trying to consolidate its dominance outside of key European markets.
Swiss Military entered in India in 2007 but recently decided to go off shelves and go online to grow its business. Thirty eight year old Anuj Sawhney, the young managing director of the India operations, believes the brand’s future lies in making it more affordable and accessible hence the move away from traditional retail to e-commerce. In this edition of CNBC-TV18's Young Turks, know how Sawhney plans for his company and his passion for films.
It's unusual for a management student with an MBA degree to risk running up the corporate ladder to chase his celluloid dream. But that’s exactly what Anuj Sawhney decided to do.
Not satisfied with his 72mm break, Sawhney decided to slip into a new role and joined Swiss Military India as the Managing Director in 2008. A premium lifestyle accessories brand, Swiss Military entered the Indian market in 2007 with an aim to offer quality products at affordable prices. With a starting price of Rs 290 the brand focuses on corporate gifting solutions with a variety of products like travel gear, lifestyle accessories, writing instruments, wrist watches, key chains, torches and much more.
Anuj believes the brand's wide product range is what gives Swiss Military an edge. A serial entrepreneur he says his first venture taught him about customer engagement.
Anuj Sawhney, managing director, Swiss Military India says, “What we have as an international brand or what we have as a bouquet of Swiss Military worldwide cannot be adopted for the Indian customer. We(Indians) have our own taste, our own culture, our own requirements, our own demand vacuums. So everything from the international bouquet have to customise according to what the requirement was of over here and then the market research wing became so overpowering and became such an integral part of the entire process that we started designing as per the requirements of the Indian audience.
The changing India market scenario with high real estate cost and rentals have prompted a change in strategy with Swiss Military deciding to tap the e-commerce route. The brand went live with its website swissmilitaryindia.com in October this year. Anuj says the goal of being just a click away is to boost customer engagement and create a platform for individuals and corporate houses across India to purchase genuine Swiss Military products. The brand has already partnered with major e-commerce portals like flipkart and other leading portals last year to offer products to customers pan India. Apart from online sales the brand has also entered the in-flight sales market with international and domestic airline partners including Indigo and Jet Airways.
Sawhney adds, "Our customers come to us with any requirement and there are more chances than not that he would find it all under the same roof because the entire gambit of products that we have under the same brand umbrella where we have writing instruments, travel gears, accessories and leather equipment, garments and cosmetics. So essentially when you talk about men lifestyle or gifting or corporate gifting or B2B marketing or internet marketing or in-flight sales, we are talking about a whole range of products being given to a customer."
Swiss Military India is confident of growing the market for its premium lifestyle accessories and gifting solutions. The company has now decided to provide customised corporate gifting ideas. Anuj claims these changes have been the lever to double turnover for the past two years. For now the team is focused on creating alternative distribution strategies including traditional retail format and stretching out plans for the future.
"In the long run we are envisioning ourselves as being the corporate leaders in the gifting, in the retail sector by 2020 and which is what the entire organisation is gearing itself into. The kind of goals that we have set for ourselves in the initial four years, have been over exceeded by almost twice; we had envisioned about 50 percent growth. We have almost attained 110 percent growth in the last three years," he adds.
Riding on a road to success Anuj is now geared up to design more India specific products and breakaway from being just a lifestyle accessories brand.
Swiss Military India will be introducing a men garment line by next year and forcing the pace with an exclusive line of women accessories and cosmetics Anuj is racing towards targeting new segments of the lifestyle market.
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