Japanese sportswear brand ASICS, one of the recent entrants to the segment in the country as compared to Puma and Nike which have been in the Indian market since the early 2000s, is making inroads into small towns of the country and launching stores.
“About 30-35 percent of sales on our website comes from small towns; this indicates a strong demand for our products in these cities and hence we have opened several stores in the small towns over the last two years,” Rajat Khurana, Managing Director ASICS India and South Asia.
ASICS currently has 75 stores in the country out of which 20 are located in tier-II and beyond towns. Going ahead, the company plans to take its total store count to 100 in the country, and of the 25 new stores about half will be opened in smaller towns.
The small-town stores, however, contribute only 15 percent to its overall turnover. According to Khurana, the low contribution to the revenue from these towns is because the average price points being sold in these towns are lower than that of metros.
“Our average selling price in Delhi or Mumbai is Rs 9,000 but in tier-II and beyond cities it is Rs 6,000-6,500,” said Khurana.
To cater to the consumers in these towns, the company has tweaked its inventory strategy, and while its entry price point in metros stands at Rs 5,499-6,000, in small towns the entry-level products are priced at Rs 3,499. The company also does not stock products at higher price points (such as those priced at Rs 22,000) at these stores.
ASICS’ marketing strategy is also different for these towns and while it taps mediums like digital advertising and partners with marathons in larger cities, in small towns, it ties up with running clubs and relies on outdoor advertising to target consumers.
ASICS India has also seen an uptick in sales from e-commerce in India and is targeting 50 percent sales from the channel going ahead. According to Khurana, the company’s online sales picked up significantly during the pandemic and now contribute about 35-40 percent of its sales.
It also aims to draw about 50 percent of its sales from online channels such as e-commerce marketplaces and its website.
The company used to draw about 25 percent of its sales from the channel in the pre-pandemic period. However, movement curbs during the pandemic led to a rise in the sales from e-commerce and the channel now contributes 35-40 percent of its sales, said Khurana.
“Our journey during these months changed and we started exploring how we can attract young customers to the digital channels,” he added.
To offer the consumers a similar experience as its stores, ASICS also categorises shoes on its platform and e-commerce marketplaces based on the pronation type.
In its latest initiative, ASICS has started revamping its stores to make them more sustainable and digitised. The company on June 22 reopened its refurbished store in Gurugram.
“Globally ASICS has revamped its stores to make them more digitised and sustainable and we want to offer a similar experience to the Indian consumers too,” said Khurana.
The company will be next refurbishing its store in Select City Walk in Mumbai and then two other stores in Mumbai. The rest of its old stores will follow suit soon. The news stores by the company will also be in this format.
ASICS’ new store format has digital touch points throughout the stores and includes screens above the footwear walls, screens within running services, and screens behind the cash desk, as well as a digital POS. The store also uses sustainable items such as FSC-certified timbers, recycled and recyclable materials, and energy-efficient lighting (such as LED) to reduce carbon emissions related to its operations.According to Khurana, the company plans to invest about Rs 40-60 lakh in the revamping of each store.