Dec 10, 2008

Business - TAG Heuer to retail products online

Suvi Dogra

Bullish on the potential of the internet as an economical selling and distribution model besides a potent marketing one, Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer — part of French luxury goods group Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) — is planning to retail its products online.

The move also follows on the back of the worldwide slowdown and the company's plans to go slow on establishing new Tag Heuer exclusive boutiques. “We don't have enough boutiques across the globe to retail these exclusive products. And we don't want to sell them through the watch and jewellery stores as they are more mass channels,” said Jean-Christophe Babin, president and CEO, TAG Heuer.

The company wants to develop high-end luxury accessories for exclusive retailing though the internet. “We are exploring the opportunity to sell not only our mobile phones but also exclusive luxury items and techno-design accessories developed especially for retailing through the internet,” said Babin.

TAG Heuer has already designed memory sticks, external hardware and other techno-accessories for men. “These accessories are made with advanced technology from the TAG Heuer stables and we are currently testing these products,” he added. The company also hopes that given the small size of these new products, the shipping charges will be less and not act as a deterrent to online selling.

Globally, TAG Heuer has already forayed into the e-commerce arena by tying up with select online retailers to sell its watches — an initiative that made it the first brand to offer an entire line of luxury watches for secure purchase online. The company plans to capitalise on internet advertising in a more focused manner. While traditional channels are still growing, internet advertising has witnessed around 40 per cent growth, according to industry estimates.

“An average person spends two hours on the internet and 10 minutes reading newspapers. Therefore, in terms of advertising, it is natural to divert some of your money to internet channels,” Babin said.

TAG Heuer recently launched its online campaign in the country wherein one can see the TAG logo displayed on select web portals. The company has also displayed an analog clock with its logo telling corporate executives to ‘tag’ with TAG Heuer time on websites such as Google, MSN Lifestyle and others.

Despite the economic slowdown, Tag Heuer registered a double-digit growth in the country, becoming the third-largest brand in the country. “Our average purchase value has gone up from Rs 45,000 to above Rs 100,000, an indication of what our growth prospects are in the country,” said Babin.

The company retails in 24 cities, through 74 outlets in the country and sold around 11,000 watches last year.

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