Looking forward to the eTail Asia Virtual Summit on 18th November, Retail in Asia had the pleasure to interview Himanshu Dhiman, Director, APAC eCommerce, Fossil Group.
RiA: What are some new online approaches Fossil has embarked on?
Himanshu: With drastically falling footfalls, the pandemic has challenged the retail industry to look for alternative options and I must say the entrepreneurial spirit in the technology space hasn’t disappointed. A plethora of technology service providers became very active in the market as it continued to become clear that Covid was here to stay for some time.
Fossil Group has piloted Contactless Commerce where-in a consumer can explore from a wide range of shopping or experience options right from their WhatsAPP account.
Some of the services offered under this initiative are: Ability to book an appointment to visit a nearby store (avoid running into other shoppers and helps practice social distancing); Ability to do vide shopping while the store staff helps review the assortment in the store. Apart from this we have also launched ‘Ship from Store’ functionality in some of our markets such as Hong Kong, Japan, and India.
RiA: What has been the impact of COVID-19 on the Global Watch Market?
Himanshu: The impact of Covid-19 on the global retail industry has been significant and multifaceted. Almost all product categories, barring a few such as essential goods, faced a similar situation: An unprecedented fall in traffic to the offline stores, a simultaneous and sharp shift of proportion of sales to online channels, and a complete debacle of the travel retail channel.
Traditionally, watches have been a product category that is largely driven by gifting and celebratory occasions. Hence, a complete halt on domestic and international travel has had a pretty big dent for the watch market. Additionally, we have also seen the watch industry struggle with supply chain challenges leading to inventory shortages. But there also has been some positive ripple effects on the communication side: Smartwatches are a fast growing sub-segment of the watch industry and in these challenging times we saw some cool innovations such as reminders to wash hands, contactless payments etc.
As these features get more appreciated by the consumers, we are also optimistic about the impact on the smartwatch category.
RiA: How is your team producing agile, actionable insights to drive product innovation during this pandemic?
Himanshu: In my view, product innovation is not just about keeping on producing new products, but also intelligently segmenting the assortment and ensuring that the right products are available at the right place at the right time. To make this happen, we focus a lot on publicly available data.
This would constitute ratings, reviews, and popularity ranking of products in the online marketplaces. This data set tells us a lot about what attributes, price points are working best for a platform and enables us to segment tour assortment better.
Apart from this we also partner with like minded platforms such as Tmall & JD in China, Naver & GS Shop in Korea – who believe in the power of data and have robust systems in place to share information with us in an actionable manner.
A good example will be the ability to segment and target consumers based on various demographics; psychographic attributes and to show the most relevant products and messaging to these consumers.
RiA: Tell us more on what will you be contributing at eTail Asia Virtual Summit and why this is a must not miss?
Himanshu: I will be addressing the opening keynote on 17 November. The topic is focused on ways to approach the ongoing and upcoming holidays season and how to turn this crisis into an opportunity. I really love this topic due to its positivity. It has been almost a year now, that all of us have been struggling with the pandemic and this topic gives me a chance to stir away the gloominess and talk about the light at the end of the tunnel.
I will be speaking about how this holiday season is / will be different due to the new challenges – both from a demand and a supply lens – and also delving deeper into some of the tactics Fossil Group applied to address these challenges. I hope the viewers find the session to be useful and can have some actionable takeaways to be applied to their own business areas.
eTail Asia begins on 18th November at 9:00 AM SGT/HKT. Don’t miss the chance!
FREE passes for the eTail Asia Main Conference on 18th and 19th November is available here.
*Registrations closes at 17th Nov 12pm SGT/HKT