Proline Fitness is part of the company, Cravatex Ltd. which was incorporated in 1951. It is one of the leaders in the Fitness industry. Mr. Rajiv Wallia, Executive director, Proline Fitness highlights the ever evolving conscious health-centric mindset of the youth.
Aadeetya Sriram (AS): What is Proline all about? How long has your journey been?
Rajiv Wallia (RW): Proline Fitness is the leading brand in the supply of fitness equipments in the Indian market. The brand was started in 1996 as a multi brand fitness and sports equipment retail concept and has evolved into a purely fitness exclusive retail store.
AS: What are your products? Do you source your products internationally, which brands do you handle? Who are you catering to?
RW: The products stocked in Proline Fitness stores are fitness equipment such as treadmills, cross trainers, elliptical, bikes, strength machines, benches, dumbbells and fitness accessories for both home as well as commercial use. Proline Fitness caters to both the individuals who want to work out in their own home as well as gyms, health clubs, hotels, building societies and corporates looking to set up gyms for their employees. Proline offers these commercial set ups turnkey solutions when setting up their gyms. Proline Fitness is the exclusive distributor for a company called Johnson Health Tech (Taiwan). Johnson is the 3rd largest fitness equipment manufacturers in the world and the number one in Asia. Proline Fitness has a long term distribution agreement for India with Johnson and they sell the Johnson brands; Matrix, Johnson, Horizon, Treo and Tempo
AS: How many stores do you have? How much did you invest in them?
RW: Proline Fitness is currently numbering at 51 showrooms. Investment varies according to location and size of the store.
AS: How according to you has the outlook of health lifestyle evolved in the country over the years?
RW: India is becoming more and more health conscious over the last decade or so. With the influx of information through the media, health specific articles, internet etc. the average Indian is extremely adept when analyzing and embracing a healthy lifestyle. Add to this is the huge investment in gyms and health clubs in the country, a number of foreign gym chains like Snap Fitness and Golds Gym making their entrance in to the Indian market has only added to the awareness about fitness. The spillover of this fitness revolution has been seen even in the food market with Quaker Oats, Saffola, Kellogg’s etc. approaching their marketing from a health perspective, forcing the consumer to think about his cholesterol and heart.
AS: What benefits have you attained with the retail model? What kind of role can retailing play in the health sector?
RW: Benefits are 51 stores across India giving us a presence and exposure for display and sale of our products across the country, more than any other competitor. Also assists in having an infrastructure in over 25 towns for sales and service of our products. Besides, sale of our home-use equipments from the stores, we also get enquiries from health clubs and gym owners and other commercial customers for purchase of our commercial equipments on turnkey project basis.
Role of retailing in Fitness/Health Sector: Displayed products, customer can demo and use the product prior to purchase, other related products like Health Supplements, Accessories, can be made available to customers, educate the customer on the right kind of product and use of the same.
AS: You are involved in a lot of health-centric campaigns in the country; can you enlighten us with some of them?
RW: In previous years, the thrust of Proline Fitness’ marketing was to educate the consumer on how even 30 minutes of exercise in a day can reduce your chances of heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Doctors have always stressed that light to moderate exercise thrice to four times a week drastically reduces the risk of these debilitating diseases. The current marketing focus is on the “Fit India Movement”, a tongue in cheek campaign which encourages India to be fit. It aims to change the way fitness is looked at. The campaign is web driven and aims to provide users with all the weaponry they would need to fight the Fit India movement including machines, fitness tips, diet plans and expert advice. Once a user registers for the Fit India movement on the website, they are connected to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter so that ideas and tips can be exchanged between friends and the movement can be turned into a mass revolution.
AS: Your marketing strategy for Proline fitness?
RW: Proline Fitness aims to educate and serve as a partner for their consumers in the health sphere through the Fit India movement, providing them with the tools they would need to maximise their work out. Proline Fitness also aims to reach their consumers through retail stores which are very well located, website, marketing communication, presence in main trade shows/exhibitions and product exposure in main health clubs.
AS: Do you have any training for your staff in place? Elaborate?
RW: Staffs are trained on basic customer engagement skills. Above that, they are briefed on various requirements and specifics relating to home use versus commercial consumers coupled with product knowledge.
AS: Your annual turnover and future expansion plans? How do you envisage the role of Tier II & Tier III cities for your brand?
RW: Our objective is to grow faster than the fitness industry and this we plan to do by; Opening new stores and build our retail network further every year, expand our sales of commercial equipments to new up-coming health clubs, gyms, complexes, corporate, etc, add on new related products in the fitness and health sector in our retail stores to increase walk-ins. Demand in tier II and tier III towns is steadily increasing. Also there are more new health clubs opening up in these towns than in main cities due to the high Real Estate costs/rentals. Hence fitness awareness in these towns is also spreading quickly.