Bata wants to reinvent itself for India's youth
Think Bata, and you'll most probably remember your grandparents' comfortable sandals and shoes.
There was a time when Bata was synonymous with white canvas school shoes, but in the last seven-eight years, a lot of schools in tier II, III and metro cities have moved to sports shoes from brands like Nike and Reebok.
Now, Bata, one of the oldest and largest shoe retailer in India -- it was founded in 1894 as a footwear and fashion accessory manufacturer and retailer for men, women and children -- is looking to discard the recall and perception it has formed in the Indian market and is looking to reposition itself as a brand for the youth.
"Bata is the oldest footwear brand in the country, but despite being so, it was a victim of a perception drag that it is only a brand for the elderly," Karvy Stock Broking said, in a report dated May 11, which decreased its popularity among the youth of India.
Now, with the introduction of "stylish, young brands" under the Bata portfolio, Bata wants to reinvent its image.
"Bata has been keen on projecting itself as a youth brand through few brands under its 20-brand portfolio," the report says.
These brands include, Ambassador, Angry Birds, Bata Industrials, Bata Lite, Bata Comfit, Baby Bubbles, Bubble gummers, Marie Claire, Hush Puppies, Mocassino, Naturalizer, North Star, Power, Sandak, Scholl, Weinbrenner, Sparx, Sundrops, Sun Shine, and so on.
In the Indian market, Hush Puppies and Power, which now also have standalone stores, or Exclusive Brand Outlets (EBOs) as they are called, are the most well-known.
Bata is banking on the Indian urban middle class, especially the women whose changing lifestyles are likely "to intensify the opportunities for footwear players in the Indian market, which are responsible for the revenue contribution to Bata," the report said.
How Bata plans to go about this?
Since e-commerce has been a huge crowd-puller among the youth, Bata has rolled out a digital app on android and IOS platforms, the report said.
Apart from this, Bata footwear is already available on all the major e-commerce websites like Flipkart, Myntra, Amazon, Snapdeal, Jabong and Indiatimes Shopping. It also has its own website which has been overhauled with the latest design and user interface.
The company is also planning to launch exclusive product lines which will be made available only on the online platform.
"This initiative will help in controlling the prices better and regulating the same across the business partners and grow further," the report said.
With the sub-brands under Bata, the perception of Bata as a mass market brand has been altered to a great extent, the report said.
"The introduction of stylish, young brands such as Hush Puppies, Weinbrenner, Northstar, Power, Mocassino and Bubble gummers changed the perception and the company has been successful in attracting the youth over the few past years," it added.
The company has also launched BATA CLUB in Metro cities and there are 2.7-plus million members across 16 cities and over 600 stores "to maintain and grow the current level of revenue from the metros," the report said.
Bata's Power brand is focused on the sports segment. To go up against rivals like Nike and Adidas, "Power stores will be one-stop shops selling garments and sports accessories along with handbags and ballerinas, catering exhaustively to the customers shopping needs," the report said.