Though franchise route has really uplifted the existence of various shoe companies, but still there are certain challenges which have risen over the time.
For the shoe brands in India, the market is much more competitive now as compared to earlier days. With the launch of numerous international and even local brands, the challenges for shoe brands have risen. The only way out is to keep evolving and experimenting for giving the best to the patrons. Via franchise route shoe brands have spread their wings faster but challenges have risen too. Let’s know what challenges are faced by shoe brands in India and its way out.
With GST coming in, there will be a streamlining of systems and processes across the industry. While this will affect players in the unorganized market, it will also decrease the barriers to entry for any new brand entering the market (national or international). So, we may see increased competitive intensity going forward says Farah Malik, Managing Director and CEO, Metro Shoes Ltd. She further adds: ‘Increasingly impatient fashion consciousness requires any brand in this industry to become very responsive to changing fashion trends. This requires a very efficient supply chain system because as fast as new trends emerge, old ones die. So, decreasing lead time from suppliers and quicker inventory turns is an exciting new challenge. There will be increasing scarcity of premium retail space available in strategic areas. Brands will need to balance the profitability of stores vis a vis the visibility and footfalls gained from being in a prime retail location.’
Acceptance is another factor
India is the second largest footwear producer in the world, with footwear production accounting for approximately 9 % of the global annual production: 22 billion pairs as compared to China, which produces over 60 per cent of the global production. Raman Kumar, VP Retail- Red chief comments: ‘There are certain challenges for Indian shoes and leather brands like acceptance as per the current fashion and market trends, the seasonal challenges at rainy season. We are working on this to get the availability as per the market and customers likes. On the other hand, these challenges always come with opportunities. In Indian market we have a lot of scope to work with the imagery of a leather brand.’
Ecommerce another challenge
As per market reports, India annually produces 2.1 billion pairs of which 90 per cent are consumed internally while remaining are exported primarily to European nations. Footwear is a category where due to different sizes and designs, physically keeping it stocked inside the store every time gets very difficult. This is where ecommerce comes in. A footwear store requires a larger inventory space. In a market which is largely dominated by fashion brands, footwear industry has gone a step ahead with ecommerce route. But then there are challenges too. Ecommerce continues to wreak havoc with premium brands with their heavily discount led sales strategies. Farah Malik tells us: ‘Given that brands need to be present at all touchpoints in this omnichannel world, deriving profitability from the ecommerce vertical is something strategic that the brands will be adapting to going forward. In addition, upgrading the current store infrastructure and staff to adapt to a changing consumer mindset is also required. Also, given the quantum of customer information available in today’s data-driven world, personalizing and streamlining a 360degree brand communication strategy is vital for any brand that hopes to stay relevant with the young population in this country. Given that most of India’s population is currently under 30 years of age, this will be an important aspect of a brand’s experience.’
Most international brands have either entered Indian shores or are on the way to soon open its stores here. With bigger brands like Hush Puppies, ID, Lee Cooper, Pavers England, Red Tape, Levis, Adidas, Nike, Sketchers, Fila, Dr Scholl etc Indian brands surely have a long way to keep innovating and win hearts of its patrons. Indian shoe market may still be a growing one with lot of small and unorganised players but it is loaded with tremendous business opportunities and with the demand of lot of branded shoes, the shoe industry in India is bound to swell faster. Indian Footwear Industry has brilliant designers and upcoming talent that is waiting to get hold of these lucrative opportunities offered by the shoe brands.