Amazon has launched Bowling Master- the kit powered by sensors includes color coded devices that when rolled out alongside the cricket pitch provide instant feedback on the area of the pitch where the bowler lands the ball- in partnership with Australian cricket training product company Bowling Master for its India entry. With Brett Lee being the brand ambassador of the product, Amazon expects that it would give a lot of confidence to budding bowlers and starting out kids who aspire to be cricket stars in the future. While the sale of its sports goods is growing by 250 YOY, the company is expecting to garner good traction with the product in the long term. Thus, while talking about the strategies of conveying product nuances to the consumers and possible future expansion plans, Kaveesh Chawla, Director - Category management, Amazon India spoke to Indianretailer.com on the occasion of launching the product in India.
Launched during IPL and Brett Lee being the brand ambassador, how do you expect Bowling Master to hit the Indian market?
We are very excited, but at the same time keeping our fingers crossed. We have done what we wanted to do by introducing the product with Brett Lee being the brand ambassador. It will definitely help us as he is one of the legends in Cricket and especially in Bowling. Brett Lee’s huge fan following and his expertise in bowling will help us to create awareness about the product. He does have a huge fan following in India, people do listen to him and he is a likeable personality, so it will give a lot of confidence to the consumers. From our side we have made sure that the product is listed on Amazon. It is available and it is in stock so that we can ship it fast across the country. We are hoping that customers would like it.
What is the product nuances that you want to convey to the consumers?
I am not a cricketer, but just a spectator and according to my view it’s a great product and long overdue. It allows you to measure what you are doing. At Amazon we say if you don’t measure something, you cannot improve that, so to that extent the bowlers now have access to training aide. With the help of data the product measures, their quality and accuracy of bowling increases and allows them to improve the performance. We are very data driven as a company and we have seen the benefit of it. In other domain also everybody uses fitness tracker app to measure the activities they are doing, so why not in cricket and why not in bowling. Hence, to that extent I think this is a great innovative product which will help budding bowlers to improve their bowling performance.
According to you how accurate is the product?
It works on an app that functions on recognition and takes the picture and basis that it gives you the accurate result. If it is set up properly there should be no error what so ever. Now what batsman does with the good length bowl and how skilled he is, can be seen in the ground, but I think as far as the product is concerned I don’t have any doubts per say.
Bowling master is designed in Australia and manufactured in China and we would love to bring that selection over to Indian sport enthusiasts. Our aim is to make available pretty much everything that’s out there.
Do you think this product will assist bowlers in line with coaches?
I think so. The coaches come at a level where you have already garnered a great place. One has to get to a certain level to have a coach who is training you. This product to my mind comes in before that when you are a kid, just starting out and you want to get to that stage when somebody notices you. It’s a regular everyday practice for which one cannot have a coach 24x7.
What is the target age group you will cater to with this product?
It is for every aspirational budding player and we have a lot of them in the country. Every young boy wants to be a cricket star in the country. So I think this product will cater to children from age 8 to upwards. This is also meant for people who have already achieved a certain place and now just want to improve the accuracy.
What is your expectation of Bowling Master contributing towards the sales growth of the sports product portfolio?
From our perspective it’s not so much about revenue at this point of time. It’s more about giving customers a full range of selection. The customers who are interested in sports will also look at every sports product we have to offer. I don’t see this product as a significant revenue contributor in the short term, but a long tale category. But a great confidence posted to the consumers that if they want to do training or bowling with Bowling Master, it is available on Amazon.
How many pincodes you are planning to reach with this product?
We actually sell to 99 percent of the pin codes across the country. We observe that the demand for our English willow cricket bats comes from tier V and VI towns like Nagaon in Assam, Thrissur in Kerala and small towns in Ratnagiri districts in Maharashtra.
Out of all sports products sold on Amazon, what is the sales ratio of cricket goods?
Cricket is one of our top three fastest growing categories within sports. Badminton is very big as well given however India has done in Badminton. Fitness equipment are also sold well on Amazon as more Indians are getting into some sorts of fitness activity on a daily basis.
According to you how big is the online sports goods industry in India?
Significantly it is one of the fastest growing industries in India in triple digits YOY. Last year we grew 250 percent. So, we are very excited about this category and we don’t see the growth slowing down. We are just scratching the surface as more and more consumers are getting into sports and fitness, this category is only bound to grow and it is growing across disciplines. Many sports have become much more democratised in the sporting disciplines.
What are your future expansion plans?
We would love to provide Indian customers the best of the products that are available anywhere across the world. So we do carry all the home grown selection that’s out there from the International brands such as Nivia to SS, SG and GM among others. These products are being manufactured in Meerut or Jalandhar or any of the Indian towns and we are most likely to carry pretty much everything, may be few exceptions there.