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Our India website will be largest globally in 5 yrs: J. Michael Prince, Global President & CEO, U.S. Polo Assn.

U.S. Polo Assn., the official brand of the United States Polo Association (USPA), a nonprofit governing body for the sport of polo in the United States launched its new e-commerce website in India last week. The brand has a multi-billion-dollar global footprint and is distributed worldwide through over 1,000 retail stores – including mono-branded stores, sporting goods channels, independent retailers, and e-commerce websites.

The brand was named one of the top global sports licensors in 2023.

In an exclusive conversation with Surabhi Khosla of IMAGES Business of Fashion, J. Michael Prince, Global President & CEO, U.S. Polo Assn. talks about the brand’s decision to launch a website in India and why the country is an extremely important market for the brand.

Why have you launched a website in India?

In 2022, U.S. Polo Assn. hit $2.3 billion globally and India was a very important part of that growth. India is one of the top 3 markets for U.S. Polo Assn. in the world and it represents 15% of our global sales. It’s also our fastest growing market, and so we understood that it was absolutely critical to do this beautiful activation around the Legends campaign for our new website. Our team has been working round the clock for many months to make this launch perfect and the website is going to offer the Indian consumer a full collection from across all our product offerings, and it’s going to be spectacular.

So is U.S. Polo Assn. going online first?

We’re going to stay Omnichannel. Going shopping together is one of the things we human beings do together and one of our strategic advantages that we have in this space is that we have over a 1,000 stores in 190 countries around the world. We plan to take this to 2,000 by 2030 and India is going to be a very important part of that number.

Launching this website will give us the advantage of giving the consumer a new kind of experience where offline and online go hand in hand. You might see something in store that you want to pick up online or vice versa. This will just help our brand grow.

It’s just the first month, but how much revenue do you expect www.uspoloassn.in to generate in the first year?

Globally, e-commerce represents 10% of our footprint around the world. Wherever we have launched our U.S. Polo Assn. websites, we have seen those grow by 100% – 300% within a couple of years, so the opportunity is tremendous and it’s going to lift the brand throughout the marketplace. I can’t speculate as to specific numbers in India, but the timing is perfect, and with the brand momentum in the marketplace, the legends campaign, the growth in our own stores and other stores we do business with, www.uspoloassn.in has the potential to be our largest website in the world in the next 5 years.

What are your top 3 technologies for the fashion retail space in general and www.uspoloassn.in in particular?

  • For me, having an e-commerce site is absolutely critical.
  • The loyalty program in my opinion is a consumer-facing technology – which is not a technology per se, but a great way to bring in consumers into your funnel and be able to geo-target them with promotions and campaigns.
  • Finally a brand’s social media footprint is essential because one can learn a lot about your consumers from here.

How much will the new Legends campaign help in building brand loyalty for U.S. Polo Assn.?

Well, our partners in India said we are a sports-inspired brand so let’s do a campaign around sports and fashion. So, they brought in sports legends and fashion legends for the campaign and so, whether you’re a sports person, a fashion person or a lifestyle person, everyone will connect back to U.S. Polo Assn. with this campaign.

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