Retail Aug, 10 2016

Watch out opportunities in franchising!

Today wearable watch market has a huge opportunity for distribution and retail. India’s watch market is estimated at INR 5,000 crores with the high-end and luxuary time pieces accounting 20 per cent of sales. Premium international brands are now trying to....

By Joyshree Saha
Watch out opportunities in franchising!

SSubsequent to smart phones, next important market in India is wearable accessory aka watches.Even though this segment is at a nascent stage, but various watch makers namely Apple Watch,Titan JUXT, Samsung, Sony, Motorola and Alcatel OneTouch are geared up to build a vibrant ecosystem in the country. Urban Indian consumers perceive watches as a fashion statement and are now willing to own more than one. This trend has gathered momentum among both men and women consumers. The rising importance of watches as a fashion accessory among urban youth helped watches register retail value growth. 

Another trend Ankit Madan, Managing Director Johnson Watch Company said, “We have seen a change in mind-set of the Indian customer from classical to modern. They like bigger and oversized watches as compared to smaller dials. Generally there is a preference for 40 mm plus watches amongst males and 34mm for females. But this is a region specific thing and also depends on the taste of the customer.”

Franchising prospects

These smart watches are paired with Internet, Bluetooth, NFC, et al. It can be used for running mobile applications, making calls, messaging, accessing weather updates, using GPS coordinate, and much more. Other usages are replying to texts by voice, vibrate with an incoming message, can access Google in hands-free mode, sleep tracking, variety of the hardware, control music and weather and traffic updates. Thus with many possible usages, the devices become that much more essential for a modern strained life.

Titan, The Golden Time, Prime Watches, The Rose group, Citizen Watches and Gitanjali are some of the key franchise players, who have realised the opportunity that the smart watch segment offers. These premium brands are looking for expansion, therefore many aspiring franchisees venture. Franchising helps them to succeed in this business with proven business models, training, promotions as well as support. “To get into retail segment, investor should see at few things such as scale of business, retail gain, and customer orientation and operation efficiency. At the same time, we offer our franchisee with multiple businesses, expansion route and growth opportunity. We also provide basic training to our franchisees with good retail practices before they hit the sales bracket. Periodic inputs are given to teach them about the products”, stated Saumen Bhaumik, Chief Sales Retail officer, Titan Company Limited Watches Division.

Arun D’Silva, India Head, Frédérique Constant shared, “The primary requirement for an investor is to demonstrate the capability of building credibility, honoring commitments, demonstrating the ability to understand customers who want to be treated differently. Most importantly the investor needs to understand that starting price wars through discounting do not lead to success. We visit each retailer once in a month and train the staff on product attributes as well as on selling skills. We also do a complete cleaning and re-organising of the display windows to make them attractive and contemporary.”

“Franchisee should look after our brand properly. They just need to involve with the watches and rest everything we provide such as decoration, training in opening of the store, retailing and customer service et al. We provide full marketing support, who can take this to another level. We also look forward for regional franchisee, so that they can open ware house, and distribute it easily”, pointed Supal Doshi, MD, The Golden Time.

Distribution Prospects

Most of the watches are sold online as vendors prefer go for online through eCommerce portals. It added that a shift towards offline channels is increasing as more customers are looking to touch and feel and test the product before purchase. As investors are looking for new retail formats to increase their presence, footfalls and profits, they choose exclusive stores, multi-brand outlets, shopin- shop concept and even kiosks.

Titan Industries, with 500 retail stores has over 290 exclusive ‘World of Titan’, Helios and Fastrack showrooms and 745 after-sales service centres across India. The brand also has distribution channel, which handles 50 per cent of the watch business of the company.

Currently, they have 65 distributors handling well over 11,000 dealers across the country. Titan distributor distribute through an exclusive distributor in each country, who is responsible for indenting, distributing, servicing, assisting and providing marketing support for the brand. “We work on long established distribution model, which has its own exclusive outlet (some outlets are franchised), multi brand outlets (distributors reach to dealers), E-com and marketers of E-com”,shared Bhaumik.

“We have a strong presence online and are planning to stand out on digital retail space combining with physical stores. Furthermore, I emphatically feel that retailing in shopping centers will turn out to be more lucrative in Tier II & III urban areas. This was essentially in view of lower rentals and higher footfalls. A spotless winwin exists on grounds of appeals and less supply”, said Sandeep Kapoor, Director, KWC.

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