The love for sports in India is moving beyond single-sport towards diverse sports, resulting in the growth of viewership, participation, and sports-related industries tremendously.
Sports Retail is one such industry which has benefitted hugely from this. Be it any athlete, equipment, clothes, accessories are requisite for them. Moreover, with people putting huge emphasis on fitness, this sector falls in a vertical that is in demand.
We here present perspective of two bright minds, on their understanding of Sports Retail and experience gained whilst working at stores or with a brand. One of them being- Mr. Abishek Jain, an Alumni who is making a mark of his own in the industry and the other being- Ms. Garima Singh Rajpurohit, our current student and the future of the industry.
For any Sports Retail business to grow, sales growth is very important. Sales at retail stores largely depend on a few factors: quality and presentation of products, durability of products, prices of products and people endorsing these products.
I, personally, had the opportunity to witness first-hand the way the retail sports industry functions. Thanks to IISM, I was able to intern with Zeven, a sports brand with retail stores in Bangalore.
Zeven is an Indian Sports Goods Company based out of Bangalore focused on bringing affordable and high-quality Footwear, Apparel and Accessories to Indian consumers. Manufacturing of most of the goods takes place in India at Punjab, UP, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu etc., and these are endorsed by renowned celebrities like Mahesh Bhupati, Rohan Boppana, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja to name a few. They have also been associated with Royal Challengers Bangalore for a few seasons.
A business in this line could get a boost with celebrity or renowned athletes endorsing their goods. However, it is quite difficult for a new brand to establish itself in the market without having a face to endorse it.
Zeven being a recently incubated company with an experienced team having a history of making the likes of Nike and Adidas popular in India have taken the challenge upon themselves to bring in fresh designs and high-quality products at affordable prices to the masses in India.
Brands also try to attract the customers by introducing a lot of AR/VR techniques in order to better experience a product before making a buying decision. With Decathlon entering the market the game has completely changed as they currently lead the market with their unique set-up.
Retail stores usually operate from 10 am to 10 pm so the teams work in shifts in order to cater to walk-ins at any given time. The camaraderie of the teams is very good which makes it a good experience for anyone working in such a set-up. The retail stores are backed up by backend teams who help in designing, supplying and stocking of goods to meet the demand at any time.
The conversion rate of walk-ins at any retail store lies somewhere between 15-20%. Hence, to drive more traffic into the retail stores it is very important to have either popular brand ambassadors or compete on pricing and quality. Very little chance in left in the hands of the team at the store to convert a potential walk-in.
A lot of inputs are taken from the retail teams in order to get the right customer feedback so that the management can take decisions for the future accordingly.
There is a lot to learn by being at a retail store if you can read in between the lines. It is filled with a lot of knowledge and information which is of great help for anyone in the sports industry.
Written by Abishek Jain
IISM Alumni (PGDM 2016-17)
Here’s a piece from our student- Ms. Garima Singh Rajpurohit:
Once you’re associated with a brand as eminent as Puma, you know exactly why its success speaks for itself. From the copious amount of opportunities from IISM, Puma beamed straight into my pockets as an intern for best in class customer service strategies post Covid-19.
All the anxiousness lasted till the first digital meeting conducted with the mentors and the HR of Puma. Interning with Puma is placing myself on this great position that only believes in “Best in quality” at all times.
I went to the Puma stores in Goa and studied the various ways the stores were indulging themselves with current world conditions of safety comprising of use of sanitizers, masks, physical distancing and so on. Working with the team in Mumbai and experiencing quality in Goa was like sailing on two sides of the same boat. The Standard Operating Procedure of Puma stands constant across all its stores in India.
Saying that, the USP Puma stores will leave one amazed with is while following the same set of procedures, each store has something to speak about itself. Be it one of the smallest stores in the country in Phoenix mall Kurla to one of the largest factory outlet stores of Dahisar, you will leave with a sense of delight. Reasons why today Puma stands on top of the podium in most of its competing segments.
The methodology followed at Puma is inseparable from the entire workforce as there is always a sheer dedication and efforts put in by Puma, it’s people and most importantly it’s consumers.
Involving around Puma has given me nicer understanding as to how one should overcome challenges ranging from first copy legal problems to those arriving due to human errors at the store. I’ve learnt first-hand knowledge of retail store management and various technical and non-technical responsibilities that come along with it, customer service and its strong importance in current market situations, implementation of strategies to enhance the experience of each person walking into the store, etc.
Written by Garima Singh Rajpurohit,
Master’s Degree in Sports Management batch 2019-21