Brand loyalty is very hard to find specially in the case of womens footwear: Danish Bajaj

The Indian customer focuses more on the look of the shoe and its fit. Sports and casual shoes is definitely a very fast growing segment in women's category.
Brand loyalty is very hard to find specially in the case of women’s footwear: Danish Bajaj
La Briza is a retail venture of the parent company R.N. Bajaj Overseas under its subsidiary RNB Global Impex.  The company is formally set up in Agra with its massive manufacturing unit which exports shoes to various international brands. What makes the RN Bajaj Group one of the key exporters of shoes is its effective marketing strategy and optimal utilization of resources. Investment in the R&D activities has enabled the company to soar high on its revenue.In an exclusive conversation with Danish Bajaj, Co-Founder, La Briza highlights the growing trends in women's footwear category. 
How the industry is evolving? What are the current trends?
Footwear industry is projected to reach millions and millions by 2020. Since we can see the introduction of new fashion trends in footwear components. It is the key factor for the global footwear industry growth. Fashion Trends in footwear industry changing rapidly with changing consumer preferences and if we talk about current trends there are multifunctional shoes, Eco- Friendly Footwear, Stacy Sandals, Slippers, flats, Ballerina, Pumps and wedges which are in great demand.
    Give us a brief understanding of the journey of the brand. Kindly also mention your current footprint?
La Briza was established in September 2012 but we started our active operation only in the first half of 2013. Our initial approach was to use the distribution format across India but for some reason that did not work well for us and we were forced to restructure the brand in the initial stage itself. This slowed our entry into the market but it was a decision that has helped us in the long run. The following year we focused on more on our online sales and shop in shop format which went well. The boots collection was very well appreciated by the customer and we soon found a niche for our boots and closed shoes.
Today the brand is present in about a 100 counters (online and offline) and we hope to keep growing at a steady rate.
     Kindly share the brand USP, TG, Market share?
I would say that our USP lies in the expertise and technology that we use in each of our shoes which results in good quality and comfort. With our experience in footwear manufacturing exceeding 50 years we are able to identify the correct design and structure for our customer and try to deliver the products in sync with the trends.
Our target market comprises of a very wide audience ranging for the college student to the middle aged working professional to the stay at home grand moth hence the tagline: “For Today’s Woman.” We have products for everybody but our core line focuses on working individuals who are constantly inspired by the latest international fashion trends.
As a new player I think our market share is not significant at all currently but we are hoping to form a segment for ourselves wherein we will be able to form a niche for our brand and move away from the unorganized sector.
Which is the best selling product? 
India is a very diverse market and to label any particular type of footwear a favourite is not justified. But with that being said, sandals and slippers across men’s and women are strongly preferred due to the climatic conditions. Sports and casual shoes is definitely a very fast growing segment.
What are the most popular categories of your brand?
       Boots and Loafers.
What are the major challenges in the industry, your strategy of overcoming those?
Stiff competition from the unorganized sector and South East Asian imports is one of the biggest competitions that we face for women’s footwear. After much research and trials we have come to a conclusion that it is impossible for us to compete with their price points so as a strategy we have decided to price and position our products in premium stores while maintaining a steady product width. We have tried to cap our SKU width to 250 which is less for a woman’s footwear brand in India but we make sure that we are able to put in our best efforts in terms of quality and pricing to achieve the perfect product.
Are Indians brand-conscious in case of buying footwear? What price point is the most favourite of the consumers?
The working professional is becoming more brand conscious by the day but they are still very sensitive to price. The Indian customer focuses more on the look of the shoe and its fit. Brand loyalty is very hard to find specially in the case of women’s footwear. Products priced under the MRP of Rs 500 sell the fastest but unfortunately we do not fit into the category. The fastest selling price point for Labriza is between Rs1300- Rs 1600.
Entry of international players, is it a threat?
I don’t see it as a large threat because the market is too big and there is enough room for every brand to make its presence in the market. International brands have a greater advantage in terms of positioning and marketing due to their international presence and strong tie ups with partners in India which impacts us more than the direct customer sales. Definitely there will be a slight cannibalization of sales due to international brands but that’s common and taken into account.
Kinfdly highlight your growth plans for the future?
To increase our footprint across the country by adding more multi brand outlets large format retail stores. Looking at enhancing our own e-commerce sales through our portal and finally to streamline our current online and offline sales to maximise full price sales.
Danish Bajaj