Timex is one of the leading watchmakers in the world, there are a variety of watches from luxury brands to premium and health & wellness categories. Today the watches are available in all eCommerce portals and will cater to the needs of convenience-seeking and fashion-oriented customers. Apart from the pan India outreach, this will also enable consumers in smaller cities, with limited offline stores, to shop from the vast range of watches offered by Timex Group brands
We spoke to Ajay Dhyani, Head of Marketing & eCommerce, TIMEX on how the e-commerce sector has grown in this pandemic and change the way consumers are shopping thanks to the lockdown and other restrictions, the marketing strategies, and the tie-up with Benetton…
The pandemic and the lockdown due to the second wave affected most businesses. How effectively have you used the crisis?
We have not used this crisis effectively because we are very sensitive towards our consumers. So, I would say we have adopted it during this crisis would be more appropriate.
Looking at the Covid scenario where our shops were closed for a certain period because of lockdown restrictions, we also saw that consumer sentiments are affecting as they are willing to take full precautions, not venturing out in the market to shop as freely as they would before the pandemic. Consumers have adopted digital to connect with brands more rapidly than ever before and therefore digital is becoming a primary channel to communicate and connect with consumers.
During this pandemic time, we have fine-tuned our social media communication, the way we should be communicating with our consumers, and taking full safety precautions in our showrooms during the lockdown period to serve our consumers. So, that is the time when you know the consumers were not looking at fancy brand communication, not concerned about the brand manifesto, what they were concerned about was the human approach that the brands would take during this corona time; the way brands will connect with the consumers, the way brands will be empathetic towards the consumer needs.
In the marketing world during COVID time we always used to say that from product marketing to consumer marketing now is the time when we would have human-centric marketing, where the human element and the softer approach of humanizing your content should be more touching. That is how brands will be able to create loyalty and create an enormous amount of word-of-mouth publicity which will be above all other efforts of marketing put together. This is going to be continued in the coming times where the brands will have more empathy, more warmth, and more feelings in their communication and in their touchpoints that connect them to their audience.
In 2020, you launched DeshkaGaurav and in 2021 have been busy with the Benetton partnership. How has this boosted the business for Timex?
Last year when we had a slightly longer period of lockdown time and that is the time when as a nation, we saw the pandemic hitting us severely, we had never seen this kind of intensity before. We were literally shocked and were also very down with our sentiments.
We launched this campaign called “TMX DeshkeGaurav” where we appreciated each corona warrior who was playing a very crucial role in managing the side effects of this pandemic, be it the security guard outside your building or be it teacher taking online classes or be it any healthcare worker or cleaning worker. So, we took that initiative, so that we paid very good addresses and got very good appreciation from and that’s something we really, as I mentioned earlier also, that as a brand you need not to be focused always on your manifesto, always on the brand communication.
This year, we started well, we saw markets coming and thriving and we were also growing, but because of the second wave again there was a momentary pause in the whole operations.
Regarding the Benetton partnership, yes, we were planning to do a partnership with them and that’s something we were working on as Benetton is a very fashionable, trendy, and aspirational brand in the Indian market and it really strengthens our brand portfolio. We want to reach out to the young target audience to present to them the beautiful assortment of watches, colorful watches and you know very trendy, just like the Benetton brand DNA. On that front, we are very excited to have a partnership with Benetton.
What are some of the post-business strategies that you will use to bring the business back on track and create a demand for the brand? Are people buying watches now?
Firstly, Digital transformation is an important asset. We have seen that consumers are adopting digital as fast as it was ever before, so that is something that is going to be critical from a strategy point of view. The consumer needs to be not only served through digital communication, but they also need to be engaged through different digital channels. As a brand smartphone is very challenging as well as an interesting platform to connect with the consumers and understand them.
Secondly, Timex Group has a robust portfolio of leading fashion brands and within Timex, we have launched some of our global market key products in recent pasts and those products got tremendously successful – liked by our consumers like for example Timex Pacman inspired by the Heritage of Pacman and then Timex Q Reissue, it’s a vintage collection inspired from 1970s issue of Timex watches. Similarly, there are so many other Timex watches which we are planning to launch in India in the coming times – our global collection, and we are also gearing up to launch our smartwatches in the Timex portfolio.
In all Timex being a leading watchmaker across the world, is one of the authentic watchmakers that have a great history of heritage and innovations. I’m sure that consumers will appreciate our products and they will prefer Timex as a preferred choice of watch-wear.
What are the expansion plans for Timex in India and what is the present market share for you?
I would not be able to comment on the expansion plan right now, that’s something that is out of my purview. As per the market share is concerned, I think the Indian watch market is very complex. It’s layered into different segments; one is the luxury segment which has all space brands in the higher price points. Then there is a mass segment, the market has become even more bigger and complex due to the addition of smartwatches. We see a huge import of smartwatches, so now smartwatches are again getting a part of the overall watch industry.
Now the smartwatches and fitness bands are also merging into the traditional watch market and making it even much bigger. So, it’s very difficult to estimate the market size at this moment. In case of, if we look at the traditional watch market – analog and digital watches including all smartwatches, then I would say that Timex would be in the Top 5 watch brands.
Digital is the way forward, would your communication now also be more focused on digital to reach out to your consumer or would you still look at traditional media also as a part of your marketing plans?
I would say that traditional media would also be there because India is a complex market and Timex being a mass premium brand is present across the length and breadth of India in various markets. So, every market has its own challenges, and every market has its own way of connecting with its consumers. Traditional media would be required for some of the practical execution like festival time – Diwali, Onam, Durga Pooja, but on top of that digital media will gain importance and therefore, the importance and the investment in digital media would also grow.
Any sort of innovations that have been planned for the marketing of the brand?
If you see globally, Timex is a very innovative brand. We do a lot of innovations in our products and we also try a lot of craftsmanship and heritage in our product. There’s a famous saying in Timex which says, “Each Timex watch has a soul – each Timex watch tells a story” so that shows how passionate we are about our watches and how innovative we are with our designs. In the coming times, you will see some exciting marketing campaigns from the Timex Group.
Way forward in the new normal.
The way forward would be that digital will play an important role, consumers will adopt digital. Not only consumers, but I think corporates and other associates will also adopt digital to connect and the way we connect with each other – holding conferences, work from home. People will get more tech-savvy and brands will be more empathetic towards their approach. We’ll have a more humanized approach in communication. The consumer would be more discerning and they would be more demanding so, brands will have to adapt their communication as per the changing trend only.