GURGAON: Bata, the shoe brand, believes that the customer experience is central to its future success and is investing accordingly in both offline and online channels.

"We recognise that a good customer experience turns a casual customer into a loyal one," Anand Narang, VP, Marketing, Bata India, told Exchange4Media. "The consumer experience is therefore regularly measured for continuous improvement of our store-service."

Bata has doubled its advertising budget for 2017 and recently launched a new TV campaign – 'Me. And Comfortable With It' – aimed at modern Indian women, but "our lead medium of communication is our store experience", Narang stated.

The brand operates 1,200 outlets across India and has focused greater attention on lower tier cities, where it reports that consumers are seeking the same retail experiences as their metro counterparts.

Recently, for example, it opened a 3,000 square foot store in Thodupuzha, a town in Kerala with a population of 52,000. Narang described the outlet as being "unique with its clutter-free aesthetics and visual impact creating a truly international shopping experience".

"We are investing in creating breathtaking store windows where we are showcasing our latest flagship collections," he added, as well as "introducing trained stylists to recommend collections [and] enhancing in-store music."

But no brand in modern India can rely solely on what takes place in bricks-and-mortar locations. Online channels also have to be addressed and, accordingly, Bata has started offering an omnichannel experience, as more and more consumers research purchases online before buying .

Consumers are able to buy online and pick up shoes in store or even reserve online for subsequent store trial, Narang explained.

And as it looks to reach younger consumers with new sub-brands, Bata is looking to engage this demographic via social media, with a range of content from wardrobe curation posts to competitions.

"We are also tying up with popular youth portals like PopXO to create engaging store activities where fashion influencers create some of the best looks for modern Indian consumers using our new designs," said Narang.

Data sourced from Exchange4Media; additional content by WARC staff