Montblanc Expansion in India
Anita Khatri sat down with Franck Juhel, President of Montblanc Middle East, India and Africa, to talk about the brand’s plans in India.
What are your plans for India?
Each time I come to India I am amazed with the potential of the country. Any business plan comes with numbers, but to use numbers in the case of India is very difficult. The market is ready for luxury products and demand is higher than predicted every year. But the challenge is reconciling supply with that demand.
Today Montblanc has 10 boutiques in India and we as a luxury brand have the highest geographical penetration in the country. By the end of 2018 we plan to have five more boutiques, so we will have a total of 15 boutiques. But the market demand is double that, in other words 30 boutiques. Looking at potential in tier two and three cities, we have the will and means to further our investments in India.
There is a challenge with real estate, since we find it difficult to find the right locations in India that are in line with the Montblanc product categories of premium luxury. Montblanc is a pioneer in terms of its retail network in India, so it is even more difficult to find the appropriate luxury environment.
Boutiques in luxury hotels offer nice and luxurious environments that Montblanc needs, so these can solve part of the problem because within the country people travel and stay in these hotels. But we are still missing a big percentage of customers in these hotels. Our team is therefore travelling all over India to find potential locations for boutiques, such as in the Phoenix Mall in Chennai.
Montblanc Showroom in Mumbai
Could you tell us about Montblanc’s e-commerce presence in India?
India is a very well advanced as far as technology is concerned. Indian customers are more aware of the latest trends from global brands, luxury brands and lifestyle brands.
On April 1st Montblanc will go live on Tata CliQ. It will allow us to innovate in the country. The first phase will be to put our writing instruments and leather goods on sale. Then, depending on the response we will add all Montblanc product collections.
This is a very different approach in India than any other country in the world when it comes to e-commerce. In other countries before launching e-commerce we wanted to make sure that our brick and mortar network had reached a coverage that was large enough to warrant the next step that is e-commerce.
Tata CliQ team is finalizing the planner and well have social media communications of the launch on the e-commerce platform.
Launched in 2016, Tata CliQ is a one of a kind e-commerce platform in India. The experience it provides is 'Phygital', an amalgam of physical + digital, where shoppers can order, collect, return and exchange products from anywhere and at any time either online or at brand partner’s store.
The e-commerce website has two tabs - Marketplace & Luxury. Marketplace is for mass to premium product offerings, whereas Luxury is for products that range higher. Tata CliQ Luxury has exclusive deals with brands like Hugo Boss, Armani Jeans, Coach, Furla, Michael Kors and Armani Exchange, Movado, Favre-Leuba, Oris, Titoni and Seiko. The website sells watches of these brands costing up to 14,500 Swiss francs.