Digital or retail store, customer’s seamless journey is our main focus: Jiten Mahendra, VP Marketing, Max Lifestyle
Mahendra also gives a sneak peek of a major digital move that the brand plans to make in a month or two
With a lot of players in the fashion lifestyle space being only digital, Jiten Mahendra, Vice President, Marketing at Max Lifestyle speaks about his focus point being the seamless journey of customers during their shopping experience, regardless of the medium (online or offline). He also talks about some other differentiating points of the brand.
You are in a crowded space. How do you differentiate yourself?
Overall, our industry has evolved. If you see that in the form of a pyramid then you’ll have a Zara and H&M on top. Then you have your departmental stores like Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop and Central. When you come down, you will see a lot of these value segment players. Within this value segment, there are discounted players also like a Brand Factory and Mega Mart. Then if you go further down, there are these supermarket selling garments like an Easy Day and Big Bazaar. This was the classical structure at that point of time. Over a period, this has evolved. When we started our brand, we realized that we need to have a unique space. And that comes from two things in which one is the value aspect and the other is the segmentation. We planned on being the first ones to target the contemporary family which most of the national and international brands weren’t doing. Family was somehow not considered as a fashionable unit. We aren’t talking about a joint family but a small nuclear family. That is our core TG and that’s where our whole effort went in. This made a very strong differentiating point because nobody wanted to speak about a family.
Many players in this market who are present physically do a lot of in-store marketing. Do they limit themselves to just that and few others in the marketing mix?
We are dedicated to our TG. At Max, we don’t have offers. You won’t find a “Buy one get one free” at Max. Seventy per cent of our stocks are in the range of Rs 599. It has been that way from quite some time. Earlier, Rs 599 was quite an expensive fare but we have maintained that and it remains the same even now. Our offers are more thematic. For example, right now we have tied up with Sanjeev Kapoor. We give away a signature gift to a customer who purchases more than Rs 3999. Our previous offer was with Disney where we gave away Cars merchandise. We also have a major online presence and have done TVCs. The recent one was out last year.
We also have a major presence on digital through MaxFashion.in. Our marketing activities are divided into two types – family and youth. Our events in the youth segment like Max Design Awards and another one which is a model hunt have created IPs in this space. For each of these youth-related events, we have tied up with some very prestigious names in the industry such as Elle magazine and Elite.
Max is present online as well as offline. What do you think is an advantage of players who are only present online? Does it work well for them if they work in online silos?
I think we are fortunate. It’s not that digital is growing. The customer is becoming more digital. The need to invest in digital is not an industry initiative. It is more a customer initiative. Since the customer has become omni-channel, the brands have to become omni-channel. Investing in digital is not futuristic, it is a realistic requirement. We have observed internationally that pure online sales would not grow more than 6-7% of the fashion industry. This is the case even in places like the US where internet is fast and people are digitally aware. It would go to a maximum of 12%. The rest of 88% is going to come through B&M (Brick & Mortar). The purchase funnel will change. Customers will become more aware with digital playing a major role. Instead of coming into a store and checking out the apparels there, customers would prepare and know what they want prior to coming to the store.
We will be launching “Click and Collect” in a month or two wherein you can shop online and return it at the store. Customers never wanted digital or brick & mortar separately. They want a seamless journey. They want the service to be good and standard regardless of whether it’s digital or at the store.
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