How This International Footwear Brand Growing At 20-25 pc in India Is Planning To Expand Offline

Growing at 20-25 percent in India, the brand, which recently opened a store in Palladium, Mumbai has been working to go on an all-out offline expansion going forward.
How This International Footwear Brand Growing At 20-25 pc in India Is Planning To Expand Offline 
Ruchi Sally, Managing Director, Melissa India. 

International footwear brands have long shown a strong interest in the Indian market given it is one of the largest footwear markets in the world. India’s consumption is at ~2.1 billion pairs and is the third-largest globally after China and USA. Given the scale of the demand, the international brands have been experimenting a lot to hold a big pie in the market. 

Melissa is one such Brazil-based footwear brand that has been doing reasonably well in the Indian market owing to its unique designs and colors. Growing at 20-25 percent in India, the brand, which recently opened a store in Palladium, Mumbai has been working to go on an all-out offline expansion going forward. 

Positioning: Comfort + Design

Starting in 2018 in India (based out of Brazil), Melissa Shoes aims to bring the best of comfort and quality to the Indian market. Secondly, the brand uses recyclable material to build its products which are also completely vegan.   

“The element of fashion and the element of the experiment is more in Melissa. So the way we have pop-up and stylish colors and various styles, we don’t see often in the Indian market,” stated Ruchi Sally, Managing Director, Melissa India. 

Melissa is a reasonably popular brand with over 4,000 stores across the globe. The company’s largest international markets are US and UK. The company had haltered growth and business expansion during the Covid times but now it is in offline expansion mode. 

“During Covid, we did not do any store expansion but we have signed Bangalore, Chennai, and Bombay. In Bombay, we are operational now. Now it is back on track and we don’t see any Covid effect anymore,” Sally further stated. In fact, because the brand is into comfort, the category of flip-flops and slides were performing well for the brand during the Covid period. 

The company has around 10 POS including online and offline. The split between offline v/s online is 70:30. But the competition during Covid was 50:50. 

"I think it is very important for a country like India to have both offline and online stores. We will have both offline and online – omnichannel presence," Sally said. 

360-degree Marketing Strategy 

The brand has been focusing on 360-degree marketing across social and at all points of sale. Recently, it has been focusing a lot on digital marketing as the brand realizes that it is very important for brand building. 

Secondly, the brand has been working to improve its efficiencies to make sure that it has better customer management. To do that, it is integrating systems and logistics at the front end and back end. 

Understanding The Domestic Market

In India, fashion has always been a competitive sector. However, earlier international brands seemed to have an edge when there were not many Indian counterparts to fulfill the demand for international-styled products. With Indian fashion brands making products with as good quality, if not better, the competition has just increased tremendously, which requires a lot of newer understanding and analysis to make the best of the market. 

Sally stated, "India has its own strength. Strength is the volume which is a very big strength for India. But at the same time, if I have to say challenges per se on the operational difficulties, I think that would be mainly the time which is taken, so there are a lot of delays and the dependencies on the overall business ecosystem."

"We still have to test the market and we will have exclusive stores and have wholesale channels. So I think we as a brand in all the international markets and also in the home market, follow 360-degree marketing and retail strategy," Sally added. 

Future Plans

From a product standpoint, the company’s core collection always stays in the market along with launching a new collection. 

“On overall expansion part, by the end of this year, we will be opening in Palladium, Bangalore. We have plans to open up in Chennai and we have the POS which is not our exclusive store in Hyderabad. Now I see more expansion towards offline business and online we are present on Nykaa Fashion. We are going to open up in JIO and TATA Cliq now,” Sally further added.

Ruchi Sally, Managing Director, Melissa India. 
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