The world's fourth largest sports-goods maker that is present in more than 150 countries, ASICS entered India in 2010 and now the company intends to establish independent presence through mono-brand stores. ASICS stores will be operated and managed by fra
Franchise India spoke to Director for ASICS India, Rajat Khurana and got more insights on the brand's future endeavours for the Indian market.
Via which route ASICS entered India?
Japanese sportswear brand, ASICS entered India in 2010. We had a five-year agreement with Reliance Retail, and we did not want to renew the alliance. The market has matured, and we have a much better understanding about the Indian sports shoes market, which is worth about $1 billion.
Being a Japanese brand, were there any challenges getting the brand to India?
We are world's fouth largest sports-goods maker. We knew the market well and so, getting into Indian market was not challenging for us.
You opened the first store in Delhi, then Mumbai. Are you not targeting tier II, III where demand is more?
Yes, we will enter there too but, firstly we want to focus on Metros. We would have our exclusive outlets across top 10 Indian cities, with one or two outlets in each city.
What was the thought behind not having a Master Franchisee in India? Don't you think it could have made the job easier?
India as a place is a huge demographic market. Instead of appointing a Master Franchisee, we thought working with different franchisees is sensible and more suitable for our brand.
Any competition in India? Who are your tough competitors?
Running is our strength. We don't have any lifestyle element attached with our brand. I feel our competitors are Nike and adidas.
I am sure in Japan the technology used by your brand is much higher and advanced. What all technologies are you using at your stores in India to be a step ahead from the competition?
In terms of technology, we are definitely far ahead from others. We have our Asics institute of sports science which embodies the corporate vision to “Create Quality Lives through Intelligent Sport Technology.” Maintaining “human-centric science”, the institute focuses on the analysis of natural movements and actions. Developing and working with unique materials, it continues to lead innovation within the industry. Also, our comprehensive ASICS Foot ID system is the best way to know exactly what shoe type you need. We have a treadmill inside the Mumbai store. A customer is asked to run on the treadmill where a camera is also attached. After the whole process and exercise, a personal ID is generated for the customer. Thus a right shoe is suggested to the customer.
Expansion plans in 2015-16.
By next year January, we plan to open at least 4-5 stores with latest coming up in Chennai.
How do you select your franchise partners?
The most vital thing for us is passion for performance. A franchisee must possess this besides the required investment. We provide all the necessary support to all our franchisees. He must also have a long term vision.