Timex Group has announced its partnership with the retail entity Timehut as an authorised online retailer for its leading brands today. Through this partnership, Timehut will be authorised to sell all the brands under Timex Group across various e-commerce portals such as Flipkart, Amazon, Myntra, Ajio, Tata Cliq as well as brand’s owned channels. This will help Timex India to have control and grow marketplace across channels.
In an interaction, Sharmila Sahai, MD, Timex shares more about the deal, future strategies and a lot more.
Excerpts from the interview:
Can you give us a brief about Timex’s legacy and the company’s future roadmap in India?
Timex brings with itself a historic legacy of 165 years in watch-making that roots back to 1854 in Waterbury, Connecticut. For over a century, Timex as one of the oldest watch companies in the world has been delivering quality timepieces at extremely affordable prices.
Recently, Timex Group which is synonymous with quality and innovation announced its growth recapitalization globally, as it has entered into an agreement pursuant to which an affiliate of The Baupost Group, LLC, (Boston-based investment firm) will acquire majority ownership of the company. This investment is a testament to Timex’s transformation into a highly consumer-focused company synonymous with quality and innovation. It will provide Timex with a competitive advantage and enable it to pursue many opportunities, strengthen market position and drive efficiencies.
Right from increasing the Indian market share for the brand Timex, to growing our fashion portfolio for our fashion-conscious customers, we have some of best global brands in our fashion portfolio like Versus Versace, Ted Baker, Nautica and we are also adding a new brand Furla for our customers.We also want to ensure that we bring new collections for our Tier 2 and 3 customers with quality offerings under the brand TMX.
We aim to achieve this by leveraging our distribution channel and growing the e- commerce channel in partnership with Timehut to offer our consumers trendy, innovative timepieces and the best of global selections in India at the comfort of their home.
What does the recent strategic partnership between Timex Group and Timehut means to you as a brand?
With the Indian retail industry already at the cusp of transformation during pre-covid times, the pandemic and its restrictions around has accelerated the emergence of E-retail and its growing influence on Indian shoppers. To capitalize on the growth in e –retail and to offer its consumers, a ‘worry free shopping experience’ TGIL has partnered with the retail entity Timehut.
The vision is to enable a seamless integration of online and offline for all Timex Group Brands with the help of Timehut. This development will not only support revenue growth but also increase the profitability of Timex group while modernizing its retail experience, as through Timehut we will be able to control offers & discounts, elevate brand experience and present the entire range of watches under the bouquet of brands to our consumers.
The partnership in the first phase will focus on maximizing profitability by cutting the middleman, enhancing the consumer experience by offeringthe best selection of 100% authentic watches. In the second phase, we will on-board other brands and set up offline stores under Timehut in addition tobuilding a strong digital footprint through investments on e-com enabled website, strong digital marketing initiatives and software to support backend operations.
In our initial months, we have been able to servemore than 15,000 customers till date and have seen a consistent month-on-month growth in customer orders. In fact we were able to double our orders last month and look forward to steady growth in the upcoming year.
Share the importance of digitisation in today’s dynamic economy and how is Timex Group keeping up with ever-evolving consumer expectations?
The onset of the pandemic has vastly impacted consumer behaviour and brand communication. As social distancing and digitalisation continues to become the new normal, we have planned to focus our communication through social media and are rigorously communicating with consumers on quality, durability and authenticity.
We have also partnered with Viniculum, a global software company that enables omnichannel retailing and aggregator for marketplace ecommerce.We are hopeful that Vinculum partnership will help Timehut strengthen its presence across the Indian ecommerce market through its robust infrastructure, advanced technology and strong marketing acumen.It will further enable modernisation of warehouse, linking offline retailers in Tier2/3 cities,thereby gaining market share and a new consumer base to grow sales.
Tell us your future plans for 2021.
Covid 19 gave us several challenges but also presented us with new opportunities. Understanding consumer needs and staying abreast of consumer trends and insights has been at the centre of our innovation strategy. Considering the rise in the number of fitness enthusiasts across India, we had launched the fitness band- Helix Gusto 2.0, Timex fitness band and our most recent smartwatch launch - Timex iConnect Premium Active in the health and fitness category.Timex Fitness band also awarded as the ‘Editor’s Choice Award – Lifestyle Fitness Band of the Year’ at the Jagran HiTech Awards 2020. These fitness wearables areone of the latest examples where we are pushing the boundaries of innovation and providing Indian consumers the opportunity to own high-quality smart wearable products which they can wear anytime- whether it is a formal get-together, a business meeting, or any outdoor activity.
“We are rethinking our strategies with the evolving market dynamics, in order to reach out to our consumer with an improved experience. Through our strategic partnership with Timehut, Timex Group aims to strengthen its consumer focus and offer the best assortment of global fashion brands with faster delivery and better service quality. Timehut is further open for strategic partnership with brands looking to amplify their online presence with their expertise to generate more sales, get new consumers, and expandthe brand’s online presence,” says MD Sharmila Sahai
While the initial Covid scenario was very tough & challenging, we instantly shifted to cash preservation but at the same time we were served with an additional opportunity to develop our OEM business and for that we partnered with Flipkart to offer our manufacturing, designing & after sales capabilities for some of customers most-loved fashion brands on Flipkart.
We will continue to expand and improve our footprint in modern trade and e-commerce continuously as these segments help us not only in sales and driving brand preference but also further help us in serving our customers better, offering trendy innovative timepieces and the best of global watch assortment. We aim to achieve this by leveraging our distribution channel and growing business in e-commerce channel throughour partnership with Timehut.
Are there any upcoming launches you have in mind during the upcoming season?
With the onset of pandemic, since our consumers have been spending most of the time working from home, we also decided to introduce a WFH collection from Timex, encouraging our consumers to style up by giving them an opportunity to feel good and stay motivated even while working from home.
Further, keeping in line with the seasonal trends, Timex Group is also launching theFurlabrand watches in India offering a range of classic timepieces that come with strong Italian design combined with timeless precision and craftsmanship.
Additionally, we are also working on several new products across brands for Valentine’s Day which is a prime time for gifting and shopping by style conscious consumers.