Leading handbag and accessories manufacturer Hidesign has seen a 30 per cent growth over the last year and is expecting to achieve a 30 per cent growth rate this year as well. The brand has also opened approximately nine stores so far this financial year, and is planning to open another 10 stores this fiscal.
Vikas Kapur, Director, Hidesign, elaborated, “Most of the development this financial year will be in the Mumbai and Bangalore area. Next year, we will see more new stores in Chennai. We have expanded our footprint to Tier II and III cities as well. At present, we have 70 exclusive stores and 150 department store points across India, with a presence in almost all the Shoppers’ Stop stores, 90 per cent in the Lifestyle chain, and in some showrooms of Central and Westside.” The most recent stores have been launched at Infiniti Mall in Mumbai, Phoenix Marketcity and Kamanahalli in Bangalore, Mall of Mysore in Mysore, Republic Mall in Lucknow and Alpha One in Ahmedabad, among others.
They have also recently launched a new ad campaign with mainly in-mall advertising, ads in periodicals and in some dailies. The brand is looking to decrease advertising in print media and to increase advertising in malls, airports, online, and in BTL activities. On why they were turning away from print, Kapur explained. “Print advertising works well to build a brand and awareness of the brand. However, it doesn’t really translate into footfalls as in the case of the other forms of advertising and BTL activities. Secondly, we look to advertise where our customers are and they are in Shoppers’ Stop, Lifestyle, Westside, or Landmark. Lastly, the influence of print advertising is decreasing.”
The brand produces its ads in-house. They are also very active on their Facebook page, where they ran a two-month long contest in association with Femina, launched around July 2011 called ‘Art of Reuse’. Participants could sign up, get leather scrap, and create their own products which were displayed on the website. The winner was decided based on votes received on the page.
Gift Card and Loyalty Card programmes.
Tie-up with QwikCilver Solutions
Meanwhile, for the first time, Hidesign is also preparing to launch gift cards for their customers in a tie-up with Bangalore-based QwikCilver Solutions, a pioneer in providing end-to-end stored-value card solutions in India. Within three years of its inception, QwikCilver has successfully partnered and launched Gift card and Stored Value Programs for a wide set of flagship brands such as Trent-Landmark, Titan, Fastrack, PVR, Van Heusen, Peter England, Planet Fashion, Helios, Titan Eye, Microsoft, Yahoo, PUMA, TTK, and Satya Paul, among others.
TP Pratap, Chief Marketing Officer, QwikCilver Solutions, stated, “Hidesign is a premium fashion brand for us to partner. It has established its presence across India and overseas markets too. Gift and Prepaid Cards is a rapidly growing category in India. Seeing immense benefits for its customers, Hidesign handpicked QwikCilver to foray into this new gift card segment. According to Consumer Market Research, 75 per cent believe that gifting with gift cards is a smarter way of gifting.”
The gift cards will be out in stores in a week’s time. The alliance was formed four months ago with QwikCilver, which has developed and set up systems and processes and also come up with the design and marketing collaterals, visual merchandising, and gift packaging. The cards, which have a six-month validity period, can be used in any of the 70 exclusive stores and also their 150 department store points across India. Kapur shared, “The Hidesign Gift Card Program is a new strategic initiative from the Hidesign brand. Our customers will be able to experience this innovation at all our outlets in India with the launch timed in such a way as to tap into the gifting occasions for the festive season.”
QwikCilver will set up the program on a technology platform based on certain criteria – the minimum and maximum value of the gift cards, across which stores the cards will be valid, the period of validity, etc. The QwikCilver software will be installed on the billing system of the store. The gift card can be swiped either on the computer or scanned with the barcode scanner. The records will be updated real-time.
Pratap explained, “The advantage of a gift card is that while giving the recipient the freedom of choice, it can also be reloaded, spent in parts, and transferred to any individual in any part of the country. The gift card cannot be used unless it is activated on the QwikCilver system. No such controls exist for a gift voucher which cannot be topped up and has to be spent in one go. Also, the advantage for a brand is that it triggers impulse purchases with uplifts of more than 100-200 per cent.”
Getting the card power
Customers will also be able to use this card in place of a debit or credit card to make purchases on Hidesign’s e-commerce portal. The cards, once launched, will also be available on India’s first integrated e-commerce portal by QwikCilver www.giftbig.com, launched last week. Over the next two months, QwikCilver will come out with four different card programs for Hidesign, including the Gift Card and Loyalty Card programs.
According to Kapur, “Our loyalty program is more important and we expect to launch it approximately a month after the launch of the gift card program. We want to give incentives to our loyal customers with hard benefits of points earned for money spent. Soft benefits will include extended warranty and significant discounts on occasions such as birthdays. Hidesign has never come out with discounts earlier. So, for the first time, our loyalty program customers will be able to avail this benefit. In the first batch, we will come out with 10,000 Gold (8,000) and Platinum (2,000) cards. For our Platinum cardholders, points per spend as well as soft benefits will be increased.”