We at YourStory.in caught up recently with the young go-getter Rajiv Mehta, Managing Director, PUMAIndia. In this candid conversation with YourStory.in, Rajiv talks about his plans for PUMAIndia.Rajiv, thanks a lot for giving us this opportunity. Please tell us how important is the newly launched ecommerce store for PUMA India?
Right now, the budget to set up an ecommerce store is much cheaper than setting up any physical store. The ecommerce store is very important for us, and we expect this to grow to atleast 10% of our yearly revenue, which means that the ecommerce store would be the single largest store in terms of revenue.
So, as we expand to tier 2 and tier 3 cities, and as internet penetration increases and mobile commerce becomes more accessible, we want to be able to cash in on that opportunity. The idea is, people in tier 2 and tier 3 cities who do not have access to physical PUMA store yet; can buy through pumashop.in
However, there are many people in India who do not like to buy using their credit card online, but at the same time, there are a lot of people who do not mind swiping their credit card for everything and at any place. We want to be right on the curve when it comes to both ecommerce and mobile commerce.
Does PUMA sell its products through any of the deal sites?
We do not sell our products through any of the deal sites, whether it is Snapdeal or Groupon or SoSasta. However, we do sell through some of the ecommerce sites like Yebhi.com and Myntra.com. We do not want to be perceived as a brand that is available at the deal sites, because then that impacts our ecommerce site as well.
We see the emerging trend of non branded retail stores. Do you see that as a competition?
According to me, the way India is moving is that, people are earning more and more disposable income, and people are also becoming conscious of what is available in the west. Today, people in India want Apple products because they have seen them in the west. People want PUMA because it is a respected brand. Unless you are a Woodland, a brand from India for India that has been in the market for 15 to 20 years now, you can not have an Indian brand trying to overtake an imported brand, because as disposable income increases, people would prefer to buy a PUMA shoe for Rs 3,000 over a Rs 1000 Lakhani chappal. Similarly, people who are already in the middle to upper middle segment would not want to buy a hidedesign bag, they would rather save Rs 50,000 and buy a Louis Vuitton, because that gives them acceptance in a particular societal class. People now see that it is cool to own a branded product, whether it is Levis or Reebok or Adidas or Nike.
Most of the sports brands have their offices in Delhi, why did you choose to set up Puma’s India office in Bangalore? We decided based on two criteria. Bangalore is way convenient for employees. In Bangalore, the quality of life is better. Also, the time we decided to set up PUMA India store was the time when Air Deccan and Jet Airways were booming, we knew that travel was going to get cheaper. So, when we were thinking of growing a team in India, we chose Bangalore. We also wanted to start manufacturing in India. The Tirupur belt has a lot of manufacturing units. We not only manufacture for domestic purposes, but also export from here. These were the two reasons to choose Bangalore.
Now back to the ecommerce store, how do you plan to market pumashop.in?
We went live last week. We are doing an online campaign to promote the store and some bit of money was involved in the campaign to make the e-store more visible for people. Right now, when you search for PUMA on Google, you see myntra or yebhi on the top, which is not what we want, we want it to be Pumashop.in. Basis the results of the online campaign, we will decide whether we should pump in a little more money into marketing.
With over six years at the helm of PUMA India, how do you see sports brands and ecommerce sector evolve in India?
I think the ecommerce sector, atleast in sports space will double or triple in terms of YOY sales. India is now much faster in accepting new technology. Earlier, it was Moore’s law which says that technology renews itself in every 18th months, whereas now 18 months is shrinking to 9 months. With 50% of its population below the age of 25, India will catch up much faster than the US when it comes to accepting new technology, and hence ecommerce is growing at such a fast pace here in india.
We at YourStory.in wish Rajiv and his team at PUMA India all the very best with all their endeavors! Share your thoughts on this story by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org