Swiss Military Lifestyle, a brand that has been always known for its watches, recently forayed into the digital space. It has come up with an e-commerce website shifting its focus from B2B to a B2C category. From travel gear to travel accessories, golf sets to corporate gift sets, the website brings forth a wide range of products.
Explaining the reason behind the move, Vishal Malik, Country Head, Swiss Military Lifestyle, says that Swiss Military Lifestyle is trying to bridge the gap between quality products and affordability. â€œPrice sensitive consumers have to compromise on quality and a brand conscious consumer who looks for good quality finds a product which tends to become expensive,â€ he adds.
Swiss Military Lifestyle has always been following B2B model and Malik claims that many of the people have been passionate about the products even though it is coming from a B2B end and are willing to use the products individually. With the e-commerce website, the brand has been able to get to the consumersâ€™ doorstep.
But is this B2B brand pegging it right? Or is trying to create a space for itself by following the usual B2C model? Malik says that the offerings that the brand has is different. He claims that it is the only brand that serves a platter of travel accessories, travel gear, writing instruments, golf sets, gift sets and tailor made items. â€œIn India we donâ€™t have too many products per se as per SKUs are concerned, but the broadest range of products in this line. We have competition specific categories but not anyone who has the entire range,â€ he adds.
Claiming to have a wide TG from 18 to 48 age bracket, Malik explains that these people who buy things online are in any case looking to buy something, firstly for their personal use and secondly for their personal or corporate giveaways. However, Shushmul Maheswari, Chief Executive, RNCOS, has a different story to tell. He believes that the audience profile is different online than those who buy offline. The consumers are hard pressed with time and are typical middle class consumers. On the other hand he feels that the touch and feel factor is not present as it is in the retail stores.
B2B to B2C
Swiss Military Lifestyleâ€™s mainstay has always been B2B, Malik says that since the corporate travel a lot they are aware of the brand. And this is what has helped the brand gain recognition amongst the lifestyle conscious consumer. What the brand wants to do is to make these products a part of their corporate gifting and develop a chain for market retail and brand associates. He affirms that the brand is more corporate oriented but he calls it a strategy for testing the market. â€œIt is comparatively easier for us but over time we are going to B2C also, right now we have some SKUs in terms of product offerings but with our experience we are bringing in more products in the market, which will cater to a wider audience,â€ he says.
Pitching a price that the customers feel is â€˜value for moneyâ€™ Swiss Military Lifestyle after the advent of its website feels that the basic challenge is that many people are still not aware what the brand is all about. â€œThere is a certain segment that is still not aware that we are in India,â€ Malik adds. He feels that even though the website has allowed the brand to get directly to a customer, reaching out to them individually has been a challenge. â€œWe never entertained individual consumers earlier. Hence, we are gradually going towards advertising as this is a recent foray,â€ he adds.
No COD a bump?
With Swiss Military Lifestyle looking at a 100 per cent YoY growth on demand, it has correspondingly tied up with various other websites also making the products available on platforms like Flipkart, Fashion and you, Future bazaar etc. Maybe the only disadvantage of the website is the absence of COD (cash on delivery). Malik says that cash on delivery is not an option as of now, but over a period of time Swiss Military Lifestyle will be moving into it. He explains that most of the buyers are weary of the kind of products that is being displayed and delivered. But Swiss Military Lifestyle does not have that issue since the products assure quality. Hence there is no need of COD as of now.
Harish Bijoor, CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults, disagrees with this and says that COD is a very important mode of payment. People are still suspicious about credit card usage. Hence, he says that the website will only be a window for the product but not for actual buys.
Will COD be a drawback or will the brand use this as a stepping stone for obtaining a 100 per cent ROI? Malik feels that the aim is to approach a stage where it becomes the number one corporate gifting website. With the advent of so many more e-commerce websites becoming windows and doors for buys, Swiss Military Lifestyle still has a long way to go.