This may be an interesting chapter in the classic positioning story, in the Indian context, I thought as I drove back from Green Park just now (where I clicked this picture).
I had just finished grilling the sales person at this branded chemist chain outlet, on why I should believe the health benefits on the super expensive pair of Crocs that on first look just seem like designer rubber sandals, and nothing more (actually is proprietary closed cell-resin).
He rattled off a few points and I picked a couple of their brochures that talk about the various models and benefits that range from mere versatility, hygiene to special value for diabetics. I guess am as convinced as anyone can ever be without actually wearing a pair, but that credit goes to their literature and Crocs will need to invest MUCH more in training the sales staff, for the differentiated offering to be conveyed effectively.
Coming back …other than Dr. Scholl’s which is clearly positioned on the foot-care promise and is perhaps the best footwear brand that I have encountered until now, none of the other big brands are talking anything other than looks, and maybe, comfort. On the health promise, yes we have the modern versions of the Khadao (wood slippers worn (mostly) by sages since ancient times), and even the acupressure slippers, but none of them are mainstream or manufactured by big brands.
And then, here is a brand that’s going beyond ‘foot-care’ and positioning the product on an overall ‘health and wellness platform’. The distribution strategy too is multi-pronged – I have seen the range at high-end branded chemist stores and also at shoe stores.
That the health & wellness ‘niche’ is that mainstream that a big brand could launch completely around it is quite interesting.
Will customers pay such high prices for the promise? No easy answers, on one hand high-price point can be a deterrent, but on another may actually make people see ‘value’ in the offering. Sometimes pricing it low means you are part of the crowd, people don’t take you seriously ;).
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