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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with PUMA

In partnership with eTail Asia 2022, Retail in Asia had the pleasure to interview Sanjay Roy, General Manager, SEA PUMA. Together we discussed PUMA’s growth in the region, the surge of e-commerce sales, brand experience as well as the upcoming opening of the brand’s flagship store in Singapore.

SEE ALSO: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Carousell

Source: PUMA

Sanjay will be part of a C-level panel on devising your playbook for future disruptions during eTail Asia 2022. He will be sharing strategies on how to capitalise on the Southeast Asian post-pandemic digital boom, the ‘Six Rs’ for brand success, uniting stakeholders to deliver outstanding results and more. As told by Sanjay, eTail Asia is a great opportunity to engage with seasoned professionals, gain valuable insights, network and get plenty of conversations going. 

RiA: The pandemic accelerated the adoption of e-commerce by consumers and businesses. The numbers of new internet users and digital consumers are soaring in Southeast Asia. According to Google’s e-Conomy SEA 2021, 20 million new digital consumers joined the internet economy in SEA in H1 2021 alone. What’s PUMA’s current online and brick-and-mortar stores footprint in SEA and how are they doing respectively?

Sanjay: PUMA currently has more than 100 physical stores spread across Southeast Asia. And as you have shared on the significant uptake of digital consumers and e-commerce users, exacerbated by this pandemic, PUMA has continuously put in effort to upkeep and expand its online presence through both the number of e-commerce platforms and other channels. PUMA has three official e-commerce platforms – PUMA.com in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines. Apart from the official sites, we have fortified PUMA’s digital presence to encompass other channels in online marketplaces in Southeast Asia like Shopee, Lazada and Zalora to name a few. Performance wise, PUMA has had exponential growth, both for our brick-and-mortar stores and online sites. Physical sales have picked up, as we approach the easing of restrictions, with consumers and shoppers visiting physical stores. On the digital side of things, we have seen a three-digit growth since 2020 when we first branched out to the online marketplaces. 

RiA: PUMA sales in APAC rose ten percent in 2021, which SEA markets and channels are the main growth drivers?

Sanjay: Our three key markets, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia are countries with cultures that are similar yet unique. Each market plays an equally integral role in driving growth for the brand. But one commonality across the board is the upsurge of our e-commerce platforms due to the pandemic. With the surge of digital consumers taking to online shopping, PUMA has since ramped up efforts towards the digital realm, tripling the size of, and advancing our e-commerce resources through adopting best-of-breed solutions in Southeast Asia.

Source: PUMA

RiA: Customer experience has become table stakes. What’s your take on that? How do you create an innovating yet uniform brand experience both online and offline? 

Sanjay: It is crucial for us to ensure and maintain a high-quality brand experience for our customers. The team has always placed great emphasis on the belief that shopping at our store is more than a mere transaction and instead, opportunities for our customer to be engaged and connect with us, be it online or offline. To expound on this, we reach out to our consumers during every stage of their digital journey with us. From awareness, to consideration, to conversion and lastly loyalty, via our PUMA Advocate programme. Even when creating brand concepts, regarding products or marketing stories, we focus on a digital lead approach, through our marketing campaigns. In 2021, we introduced Maya, Southeast Asia’s first virtual influencer, which is an amalgamation of millions of faces in Southeast Asia from multiple online platforms – a true reflection of what it means to be Southeast Asian. Tapping on avant-garde technology, PUMA initiated an Instagram campaign #PUMANSOFSG, to transform its users into “PUMAN” through the platform’s Augmented Reality face filter feature. We touched base with six influencers in Singapore to raise awareness and encourage fans to post Instagram stories with their PUMAN faces to enjoy discounts at ten retail stores in Singapore. 

RiA: PUMA changed its name on Twitter from PUMA to PUMA.eth. Can you elaborate on Puma’s increasing interest in not only the emerging NFT market, but also the vast possibilities of the Web3 world? 

Sanjay: We have observed how NFTs and the Metaverse have shaken up the traditional ways of looking at commerce and consumer relationships. There’s this saying “NFTs are the new black,” but as of now this world is still new to us; we are still observing the trends and learning before fully committing.

RiA: 313@somerset will welcome Southeast Asia’s first-ever PUMA flagship store. Can you tell us more about this new store? Do you plan any other store openings in the region in 2022?

Sanjay: The flagship store at 313@somerset is our first duplex and biggest in Southeast Asia, and we are definitely excited for this launch. The duplex covers a total floor area 614.7 s.m and will house every business unit; Sportstyle, Running and Training, Motorsport, Teamsport, Basketball, Kids and Select. Aligned with PUMA’s strong belief in a sense of community, we have designed the store to include digital screens that showcase user-generated content and influencers in PUMA, and a designated customisation booth.

SEE ALSO: Singapore’s 313@somerset expands and welcomes Southeast Asia’s first PUMA flagship store

RiA: What’s next for PUMA in the region and worldwide?

Sanjay: We have just launched PUMA.com in the Philippines in February 2022. We are amid planning the launch of PUMA’s largest flagship store in Southeast Asia and of course, our latest global launch of PUMA x Ami, with Romeo Beckham and Mia Regan fronting the campaign.

Register for eTail Asia 2022 here.