How would you assess the impact of COVID-19 on overall business? By when do you think the industry will be revived?
The pandemic has put the whole industry on pause mode as businesses across sectors follow the lockdown mandated by the government. As a result of limited movement being allowed within the country, there is no doubt that the economy will take a while to recover from this slump. The current season (April-June) is generally the best period for footwear industry like us but, unfortunately due to COVID-19 it has affected us very badly.
As far as the revival is concerned, I think it will take us at least six months to scale up our production and business to full capacity. There will definitely be challenges, which we feel we can overcome with time.
How do you think fashion and lifestyle consumption trends will be changed in post-COVID era?
People have been holding on to their urge to shop for fashion and lifestyle products for a while now and are waiting for the time when they will be able to get back to it. We feel that once people are out of lockdown-mode, they will be looking for fresh products and designs that make them feel good. The pandemic will change consumer preferences drastically and companies like ours will have to stay ahead of the curve to serve this new mindset.
How have you tweaked your business strategy to curb the loss caused by COVID-19? Going forward, your focus will be on offline expansion or online?
Our business strategy for this quarter was to expand our footprint across northern India, but that will have to hold for the time being. We are using this time to internally re-strategise and find new and innovative ways to reach out to our customers and be prepared for the post-lockdown demand. We will continue to remain focused on product design, that has been traditionally driving our sales and growth numbers.
At present about 80 to 90% of our business is offline based on small & medium sized retailers across the mini and micro cities of the country and to increase the offline business we will have to increase the market penetration, visits, and order taking frequency to cover up the loss during COVID-19 but at the same time during the post COVID-19 crisis customers tendency to buy online is likely to go up and this will make them more explorative in online shopping hence, make them more familiar and comfortable which was a hindrance for online shoppers. Therefore, simultaneously we have to increase our presence in online marketplaces to offset the offline sales loss.
Have you also tweaked your growth plans? How do you plan to scale up in the post-Covid era?
It is too early to say when we will be clearly past the COVID-19 era or what the industry will look like then. There is uncertainty about the economy and how it will hold up. However, we are constantly talking to our internal teams about the best-possible case scenarios.
What is your strategy on employee management in this time of crisis?
Manpower should be rationalizing, and more focus should be given on revenue generation with performance linked remuneration to optimise the manpower.
Fortunately, our company is in initial growth face catering the masses mainly the lower- & middle-class segment, hence, the market expansion chances are immense.