In India, people are really devoted to cricket and the cricket fever reaches a high pitch when India plays Pakistan. We wanted to be a part of this fever and one of the ways to do that was to play on the green versus the blue. We changed our Green Card loyalty programme to ‘The Blue Card’ programme for around 15 million of our loyalty members on the day of the India-Pakistan match, during the World Cup. We mapped out consumer purchases and gave them an indication of what percentage of their purchases were blue in colour across the different categories they generally buy. The recommendations to each consumer are specifically tailored, based not only on the kind of clothing items that they bought, but also on the attributes to go with it. This campaign was big for us for two reasons – firstly, we had opened our end of season sale, which tends to draw a lot of consumers in. Secondly, we wanted to drive a positive response from consumers on social media towards the campaign by adding a personal touch. On both fronts, we did extremely well.
Q] While your ‘Holiday in Style’ campaign has largely been TV-led, what was the media mix you used for the campaign? And what kind of consumer response have you seen?
‘Holiday in Style’ was built on the insight that holiday experiences are important and very relevant. It was about reaching out to consumers who are trying to shop for holidays, as the kind of experiences they have during that time is different from everyday life experiences. We received fantastic feedback on this campaign. When people see our ad, it takes them back to our clothing range and styles, which they can use while on holiday. This was predominantly led by Television and Digital – we used TV to showcase the story and the full length film went on Digital and Cinema. We also did a bit of Outdoor, mall branding and in-store branding.
Q] Is e-commerce going to be a big focus area for you? How much of your sales comes from e-commerce?
Albeit less than 5% of our sales is driven through e-commerce, it’s a very high growth channel for us and is growing considerably faster than the rest of the business. We are building up the presence of our website, which we also use for e-commerce. We also regularly run social media campaigns, which have received reasonably good feedback. Most of our e-commerce sales are driven through partners like Myntra, Flipkart and Amazon and we are looking at a couple of other partners as well. We also see sales through the Pantaloons website, which is relatively new since we launched only in September last year. Besides making our products available there, we also run digital campaigns to drive traffic to our site. We do this largely through social media campaigns and tie-ups with influencers.
Q] Which platforms will you be investing in the most going forward?
TV will continue to be quite big for us. Additionally, Outdoor will also be important at select points in time. In terms of growth platforms, we will make significant investments in Digital. Engaging with our loyalty base is going to be quite important for us. We also had a tie-up with Radio City, where we ran events across ten cities, encouraging people to come in, try on their clothes and have a look at how they would look like in a holiday setting. We also do on-ground activities during regional festivals, and at the time we usually run a 360-degree campaign. You will see a lot of action from Pantaloons, as we are innovating and trying out new things.
Q] You’re currently present in more than 150 towns and cities. Do you have plans to expand further? Which markets are you looking at specifically?
Expanding at a much faster rate than we did last year is a big item on our agenda. There is a large opportunity in Tier II markets and we will be looking at establishing new stores there. At the same time, some of the bigger cities have pockets that we believe have not been well served by our current footprint. We are in a city like Mumbai where there are opportunity areas that you can still go after. While our focus is predominantly Tier II towns, we will seize opportunities wherever we see them.
Q] What percentage of your sales comes from the Green Card membership programme, and what is the brand doing to enhance the customer experience for members?
The repeat purchases coming from our Green Card members is about 65%, which is a very large percentage of our sales. Most people who buy from us tend to register as Green Card members because of the certain intangibles we provide. We have a facility, where we provide our loyalty consumers with special previews, where they can come and see sale merchandise before it is publicly announced. They also have a preferential return policy, unlike the non-registered customers. There are a lot of benefits and it doesn’t cost anything to be part of the customer membership programme.
Q] The Indian Fashion Retail segment is very competitive today especially with the presence of e-commerce brands and heavy discounts. What are the challenges you face in this scenario? And how are you meeting competition from e-commerce players?
This is a growing segment and we have been doing quite well. It’s great to be part of a growing category overall. We are working towards differentiating ourselves from our competition by providing our consumers with fresh fashion at affordable prices. That is part of the Pantaloons promise, but it’s also about bringing freshness, new designs and new clothing styles at a quicker pace to the consumer. Most of our stores are quite comfortable and easy to shop at, though we would want to make them a bit more exciting. The loyalty base of consumers is very important to us and we will continue to invest in that and make sure we stand out versus competition.