Zippo has been in the Indian market in one form or another for several years. The brand used different distribution patterns, and a couple of years back, it assessed its brand opportunity in India. After that research, it realized that it needed a different strategy, and it needed to ‘go all in’ in India.
So, the brand created a subsidiary company, Zippo Lighters India Private Limited, at the beginning of this year. The future roadmap includes expanding in-market staff and working more closely with key retail partners in both the e-commerce and brick-and-mortar channels.
Over the last 12 months, the brand has doubled its business in India and plans to more than double it in the coming 12 months.
“There is a huge market in India. If you look at the socio-economic landscape globally, India is undoubtedly one of those markets that is a shining star. Also, our initial research shows that many consumers match our profile who we believe are the enthusiasts of our brand. Zippo is a premium but aspirational product that is achievable by the masses because of overall price parity. So, we see a lot of potential demand in the Indian market,” asserts Lucas Johnson, Associate Vice President Zippo Global Marketing.
There is a heavy thrust on key e-commerce players and major retailers for Zippo in India that include Amazon.in, Myntra, and Tata Cliq Luxury, while the brand continues to expand its own e-commerce shop.
“With the global pandemic, we have seen a shift on the worldwide basis to more rapid e-commerce. So, partnering with the key e-commerce platforms will be advantageous to Zippo. Second, on a global basis, and particularly in India, we have issues with counterfeit products. Third, we strongly believe that strong brands have a solid brick-and-motor presence, so partnering with the key brick-and-mortar distributors that fit our consumers' profile is important. We are pushing those relationships,” Johnson states.
“Apart from this, we believe having our website in the market is important because it has become a definite source of truth to the consumers, especially in the market where counterfeit products are prolific. The other thing is that our website is one place where all the products are available,” he further adds.
Primarily, the brand is targeting Tier-I and metro cities, however, will be expanding the presence going ahead. The brand also plans to open exclusive flagship stores in the next 2-3 years.
“We have started opening those in the global base notably in China right now with some in works mostly shop-in-shops and not independent retail stores. Apart from this, we have started working on those in Europe,” he explains.
Zippo is positioning itself on a global basis as ‘live with confidence’, and in the Indian marketplace, it plans to vocalize that to encourage action. The brand will be positioned as a premium brand, an aspirational product line, and it is working to educate consumers and retailers on some of its intellectual property and counterfeit products.
“The digital marketing strategy will need to work with overall marketing strategies. We are working with a media agency. Coming to the festive season, there will be a lot of connections that some consumers may not immediately make, but once they hear it, it will make more sense; for instance, a Zippo lighter can be used as a gift. So, the digital strategy and media bites will certainly align with our overall marketing strategies. It will have an added layer of working with some key e-commerce platforms like Tata Cliq Luxury, Amazon, Flipkart to do onsite marketing promotions as well,” he concludes.