What is brand Fastrack’s positioning in the marketplace?
Simeran Bhasin (SB): We’re an affordable fashion brand and have positioned ourselves as an effortless brand that doesn’t need to try too hard. To define our brand in one word, it is irreverence. We try to be irreverent in everything that we do and we make light of situations around us without creating a fuss. It’s a brand that is constantly teasing and playing around with ideas. It’s not a brand that is too serious; it’s a brand that speaks the language of the youth and relates to them at their level. In a sense we behave like a personality and are just one of the youth we target.
Does this positioning keep away the slightly older audience with higher spending power? Is that a disadvantage?
SB: No, it’s not a disadvantage. In fact, I see it as an advantage. We’re a very sharply focused brand. We’ve grown with this strategy of being sharply focused (on the youth). We don’t believe that being an inclusive brand helps us. The youth, our primary target audience, does not like things that are too kiddish or too old.
We keep just one target audience in mind while defining or creating communication. And that’s been the strength of the brand.
How big is each category’s contribution to sales: Watches, sunglasses, bags etc? How big are these categories and what’s the kind of growth you’re seeing in these categories?
SB: Watches contribute to more than 50 per cent of our sales. All the other categories combine to make the balance. While watches are the largest selling category right now, we see the largest potential in bags. The bags market is much larger than the watch category in India. The entire watch category is valued at Rs 4,000 crore. Bags and other categories such as belts, wallets etc are about 10 times larger, at Rs 40,000 crore. So there’s a huge opportunity in these segments. To add to that, it’s a large unorganised market. This gives us a very large opportunity to convert consumers from unbranded to branded products. Going forward, we see bags becoming a larger contributor to our sales than watches and sunglasses.
What is the split of sales between young men and women that Fastrack as a brand targets?
SB: Roughly, the ratio is 55-45 between male and female consumers.
How would you define the target consumer?
SB: Our target consumer is the urban college going kid. The core target audience is 18-21 coming from a SEC A or B family. We look at the very urban, fashion conscious, highly experimental consumer who wants to stand out, but yet pretend otherwise.
Are we seeing a decline in TV spends for the brand given that digital media is catching up?
SB: No, not at all. We have always been active on TV. Every year we have two to three campaigns running on TV and we will continue with that this year too.
Fastrack has been very active in the digital space. How has the impact of digital media been on the brand?
SB: For Fastrack, digital media is now a standard part of our campaigns. We’re fairly active in social media. It has had a huge impact on the brand. We reach out to over five million consumers through our Facebook brand page. Through our website, we reach out to a lot of consumers who log in to the site on a daily basis to check out our products. A lot of consumers in this day and age are seeking information and they are very quick to check for information on our website, which is readily provided by our brand.
What percentage of your total marketing budget goes towards digital?
SB: About 10 per cent of our advertising spends is allocated towards digital. And this is growing year-on-year.
What is the average ticket size for a store visitor? And what is the average ticket size for online shoppers?
SB: It’s not about buying online as of now. The e-commerce market has just opened for us. We’re available on Flipkart and Myntras of the world. The base is very small right now, so we can’t really judge that as of now. But it’s got a high trajectory and we’re seeing a 100 per cent growth month after month.
Fastrack is seen as one of the earliest brands to embrace social media: How is this growing?
SB: There have been a lot of learnings from social media for our brand. The audience itself has changed. It was a far more niche, affluent and discerning audience earlier. But now the audience is very mass and is more reflective of the population.
What’s the breakdown of the sales? From which medium does Fastrack churn maximum sales?
SB: Currently, retail exclusive stores contribute to about 15 per cent of our sales. This comes from a very small base and we’re looking at growing this rapidly over the next couple of years. The largest sector for us is the multi brand stores. 50 per cent of our total sales come from these stores. Another 15 to 20 per cent of our sales come from large format stores and the balance 20 per cent comes from our World of Titan chains.
How is Fastrack’s retail presence expanding? You touched the 100-store mark last year...
SB: We currently have 135 retail stores across the country and we’re looking to grow to about 250 stores by the end of next year (2014)
Have there been any significant changes in your plan for retail stores?
SB: The Fastrack store chain is new. Our first store was up in February 2009, but we’re looking at overhauling the phase for our retail stores and we will be talking about that very soon.
Fastrack had a bold campaign running with Virat Kohli and Genelia D’Souza in 2010 and 2011. Another bold campaign was launched which did not feature the duo. What was the response to both the campaigns? Did you notice remarkable difference in terms of response generated from the two campaigns?
SB: The campaigns featuring Kohli and D’Souza worked very well for us. The campaign lines were very strong. The two were our brand ambassadors then. We don’t have a difference in terms of brand ambassador campaigns versus a campaign that does not feature them. Our strong campaigns did well irrespective of whether they featured a brand ambassador or not.
The last big campaign the brand launched was ‘Make Hell Cool’. How did this campaign do?
SB: We received an excellent response to that campaign for the end of the world. I only wish we had started the campaign earlier than we did in the build up to the date. For the week or ten days that it was on air, it did immensely well for the brand.
There were talks of a follow up campaign...
SB: No, that was the end of the world for that campaign. We’re now in a new world. We have all our campaign ideas for the year, which are currently under wraps. The only information I can share about the campaign is that it will go on air in April.
Fastrack was in the news for the brand looking to run through a hub and spoke model. How’s that worked for the brand?
SB: We’re not working on a hub and spoke model currently. At the moment, we don’t have any spoke stores up but are going to launch one soon. We’re looking at smaller stores which will be spokes; ones that will be in the traditional market, carrying one or two product categories.
'Blame Fastrack' - The brand's thought in 2012
Genelia D'Souza and Virat Kohli in Fastrack Bag's TVC from 2010