In our article here we are presenting the case of Titan reputed for its watches and belong to the well known Tata group of companies.
Matching with this product positioning, Titan adopted an innovative distribution strategy. Titan had made a quick study of the 8,000 odd retail watch outlets in the country. The majority of the existing outlets were perceived by the consumers as just stores, not as show rooms of watches. Titan voted for the showroom idea and started franchising a network of trendy Titan Showrooms. They felt the need for such exclusive showrooms, where they can have control on the dÃ©cor, the ambience, the selection of staff and the level of inventories. According to Titan this will enable them to upgrade the quality of display of watches and also to expand the market for watches.
It was Titanâ€™s conviction that if the watch is positioned as fashion wear, the store image was very important and had to be in tune with the overall product positioning.
Selection of Franchisees/Showrooms:
Titan went about the task of selecting the franchisees/showrooms in a systematic manner. It released an elaborate advertisement in the national and regional press, inviting applications from prospective dealers and giving a resume of Titanâ€™s activities, its marketing strategy and the plans of the company for appointing franchisees/showrooms all over the country. Titan also briefly outlined the benefits the franchisees would get and the inputs required of them. The high standards of merchandising, display, sale and service expected of the franchisees were also specifically mentioned.
The applicant should possess a showroom of approximately 50 sq m; in a high consumer traffic area; should have excellent salesmanship; should be willing to invest in interiors as per the companyâ€™s advice; and should be able to maintain high standards in merchandising displaying, selling and servicing watches.â€™
Titan also took care to communicate the point that the watches are products of the House of Tata. The ads communicated,
â€œTata presents a promising business opportunity through the Titan franchise.â€?
Since the Titan watch was positioned as a symbol of fashion, status and contemporariness, rather than a utility, Titan insisted on â€˜attractive showroom in the best locationâ€™ as a major criterion in dealer selection. The ads carried a picture of the Titan showroom that was already functioning in Bangalore, attractively displaying more than 150 international designs of watches. Titan wanted the franchisees to perceive the Titan business as one of dealing in ornaments, rather than watches. As a result of this focus, Titan was able to recruit excellent franchisees within a short period. Three years later, when later Titan went in for another round of selection of franchisees, it organized an equally systematic selection. This time, it employed the pithy slogan in it ads:
â€œTitan is shopping for Showroomsâ€?
Titanâ€™s Dealer Network Today:
Titan watches are now sold from than 6,000 retail shops, spread throughout the country, covering 1,200 towns. They are backed by a wide service network. Titanâ€™s 140 exclusive showrooms (World of Titan) and 150 multi-brand showrooms (Titan Time Zones) have set a new trend for watch retailing in India. The â€˜showroomâ€™ has indeed the key to Titanâ€™s distribution strength and it forms an important part of the companyâ€™s marketing strategy.