It is with a lot of confidence that Bonjour’s Managing Director elucidates to Retailer media that next 5 years are going to be the most eventful year for socks industry, credits to the co-existing online space. Following a 25 per cent year-on-year growth and more than a hundred pair of socks in his wardrobe, Raj Kumar Jain, the Managing director of Bonjour reckons online space as a boon to niche category like socks.
What are your online strategies for Bonjour as socks being a niche category need special treatment?
We are going on marketplaces and we have a warehouse for online orders from where we manage and control all the orders. And we have the best results amongst all companies operating in this segment. Also open up any page; we are the number one everywhere. We are very much encouraged from the response received through online for a product like socks because online these days is a functional product.
I am hopeful that socks as a category online will grow up to 20 to 30 percent which at present counts to only 1 per cent of the total share. For instance - Wedding dress is something that one wants to touch and feel within an ambience while taking an opinion from friends and family which can be created in an offline store only. Whereas, in case of mobile, which is a model number, all that matters is comparative price.
People are not much bothered about the touch-and-feel in case of mobiles resulting in sky-rocketing sales of mobiles online. Similarly in case of socks, there are a few staple products which will mainly be sold online, because online sketch a better price. I think that in years to come 30 per cent of our business will happen online.
How do you analyse the market for socks as a category?
There is a huge market potential lying and we have not been able to penetrate the 100 per cent potential. So, at the moment it is not possible for me to draw exact demand in Tier I, Tier II and Tier III cities.
The customer is graduating as the customer who used to buy product worth Rs 50 some 3 years ago is ready to shell out 100 bucks. Plus the increasing disposal income has added to the buying behavior and aspiration leading to a significant growth in this segment.
What new product lines are you planning to launch?
These days so much is happening with respect to product. We are introducing many products for the new generation like we have introduced the loafer socks or the no-show-socks as today’s generation want to have advantage of socks without showing the socks.
Also we have created the no-slips with loafers. Then we have introduced good amount of fashion for girls and ladies. We are now developing contraction socks which are medical socks for the blood pressure patients and people with longer sitting hours.
How do you rate licensing as a retail strategy?
Licensing is a great way to market your products. Currently we have 5 licenses and are fetching larger licenses. At the moment, we primarily address licensing for kids with properties as Barbie, Hello Kitty, Doraemon, Hot Wheels and Be 10.
These are the characters licenses, but now we are looking for larger brand licenses in categories like sports and lifestyle where we can create an entire vertical of licensed products. We are a great manufacturing base coupled with experience of 3 decades.