Sri Lanka-based women’s lingerie brand, Amante operating in the Indian market since 2007 has launched its first store in Thane, Mumbai while planning to have around 25 stores across the country by the end of 2017. Smita Murarka, Head- Marketing & E-Commerce, MAS Brands (that owns Amante) unveils the brand’s future expansion plans.
What inspired you to launch a store while operating in the market since 2007?
We were very clear that we want to go to the right malls where there will be international brands. There is a challenge of finding the right malls and space crunch with the multi-brand outlets (MBO). We were getting a lot of feedback from the consumers that they want to shop at Amante exclusive stores and that really strengthened our belief that we have to launch our own platform. We are committed to this channel and this channel has potential. We believe in omni-channel strategy, so, it’s not like multi-brand outlets stores or LFO stores or online stores. We think there is a kind of consumer who wants to come to the brand’s own store. When we were launching the brand in India 2007, the category was such that people were not even aware of good fitting lingerie. It was very important for us that they will not change the place of shopping for a brand and they would still continue to shop as they wanted a good product. Hence it makes sense for us to establish Amante as a brand and be present across all the channels including exclusive brand outlets (EBOs) to get the people familiarize with the brand.
What are your expansion plans ahead?
We are launching one store every month in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Pune, Bangalore, Chandigarh among others. We will be launching one store this year in Mumbai, 12 to 14 stores by the end of 2016 and around 25 stores by 2017 end. All these stores will be opened through franchisees. Primarily the focus will be on metros and mini-metros and then we will move to the tier- II markets. After opening five stores we will come to know whether we have to go aggressive with the store expansion. We are expecting at least 15 percent growth from these stores every year. Presently, we are supplying to 1000 MBOs and we are aiming to increase that number by 50 per cent next year. And we will be targeting premium outlets only. Our price point starts from Rs 350- Rs 400 to Rs 25000 and we won’t go below that.
What are the marketing and promotion plans?
We have 360 degree marketing plans. We will advertise in newspapers, radio, in mall, editorial coverage and we will have Bollywood actress Isha Gupta coming to launch our first store.
What is your online presence?
We as a brand have omni-channel strategy. We are present on all the online platforms like Zivame, Myntra, Jabong among others and our online sales growth is only five percent since a year and a half. Unlike apparel- where people are willing buy and experiment with unbranded online products for design- lingerie is very technical product so repeat purchase will not happen when the quality is not perfect. Online players also need brands like us so they are just fuelling our growth in remote villages where we couldn’t reach easily. Online will be a big focus for us where we will develop more content similar to the EBO where we are going to talk to the customers with consultation.
What is the reach of your own e-commerce operations and what are the plans of widening those?
We have launched our own e-commerce portal six months back with which we are supplying to around 10,000 pincodes. Our idea is to reach out to more integral consumers who know about Amante and are sure about our fit but can’t reach the stores. May be in the near future we will be launching our own app.
What is your ratio of online sale?
Online contributes 10-12 percent of our entire sale. Overall online sales growth has been 5X in one and half year which is exponential and it’s more than overall lingerie e-commerce growth. Overall as a brand since last two year we have grown by 55-60 per cent and we are targeting the same growth rate for the coming year too.
What are your overseas expansion plans?
Amante wants to become the Asian leader in lingerie. We are going to launch in Bangladesh and Pakistan this year and targeting Malaysia and Indonesia early next year. We are already there in Sri Lanka and India and going to be the regional leader in Asian market.
What is your current turnover and what is the target?
Last fiscal we had clocked Rs 100 cr of turnover. While growing by 60 percent Y-O-Y we are targeting Rs 160 cr turnover by the end of this fiscal.