The pandemic has, of course, hit everybody, but the retail sector was affected quite a bit because for almost four months all the stores were closed. And just like other brands, Woodland also felt the pinch.
Although the brand started accelerating its online presence pre-pandemic, it has further decided to strengthen its online presence.
“We sell our products through our own website and along with that we have a presence on other e-commerce portals also like Amazon and Flipkart to name a few. However, during the pandemic, we observed a surge in online sales as consumers were forced to buy online,” states Harkirat Singh, Managing Director, Aero Club (The maker of Woodland & Woods).
Pre-pandemic, online channels used to contribute 10-12 percent of the revenue of the brand, however, at present it contributes 20 percent to the overall revenue.
Apart from this, the brand will also be concentrating more on digital campaigns as they are more cost-effective.
“Along with digital campaigns, we will continue doing print, electronic and outdoor campaigns,” he says.
Retail Strategy Going Ahead
The brand has been opening 30-40 stores across India every year and focusing more on bigger cities as being an outdoor lifestyle brand, it easily finds its target audience there.
“I feel that the brick-and-mortar stores will continue to survive because still, people want to touch and feel the products. I don’t think that culture is going to change. So, our store strategy will remain the same, however, the pace will not be like before. At the same time, online business is something that we don’t want to let go of,” he states.
Currently, Woodland has 550 stores pan-India. The brand has decided to push the opening of new stores by a year.
Is Foraying into New Categories on the Cards?
Woodland is planning to foray into new categories like leather and canvas shoes.
“Looking at the Indian weather condition, canvas shoes will be a good option for summers, so we are ready with a range of summer shoes. We have also added athleisure as a category,” he shares.
“We realized that we only have outdoor shoes and garments which consumers use when they are going for extreme treks or adventure tours. During the pandemic, the travel industry was standing still, so we couldn’t tell our consumers to go out and wear our brand. So, we opted to go for more comfort-orientated products. We still do our regular outdoor and lifestyle products, but times are changing,” he further adds.
Currently, footwear contributes 60 percent of Woodland’s revenue and the rest 40 comes from apparel.
The brand has a strong presence in neighboring countries like Middle East, Russia, and South Africa.
Talking about the expanding international footprint, Singh says, “We are not going to newer countries right now. Before the pandemic, we were in discussing expanding our presence in some Eastern-European and Latin-American countries and we will go ahead with that only.