Byline: Crank Exclusive
With international racing and technological accolades under its belt, SCOTT Sports S. A is one of the fastest growing cycling and sporting goods company in the world. During his recent visit to India, we caught up with Mr. Beat Zaugg, CEO, SCOTT Sports S.A for an exclusive interview where he delves into the unique business strategy, making riders, the Made for India series bicycles, growth in India and of course his riding habits. Excerpts below.
Scott has established itself as the leading international Cycling brand in India. Your view about the Indian market and SCOTT’s plans for the future.
I visited India 5 years ago in 2011 and since then I feel that the Indian market has grown by leaps and bounds. The Bike shops have upgraded themselves in terms of knowledge and the quality of products and services offered to the Indian cyclist have gone up quite a few notches. We at SCOTT follow the Indian market very keenly and are committed to the India for the long term. We have established the infrastructure required to launch our other divisions such as Running and Motorsports in addition to the Cycling Division which is progressing as per plan.
Your strategy of a direct entry rather than through distributors. What was the thought behind this decision? Part of the “No Shortcuts” culture?
No Shortcuts is the SCOTT way of doing things. A Direct Entry was the only way ahead for us as we wanted to be in control of our own future. This was largely made possible by the team in India led by Jaymin executing our plans to the tee. We want to engage with the Indian consumer in a more meaningful manner and the only way to do so is to have our own operations in an important country like India.
Two India specific products have been launched recently and well received. The Aspect 655i and the Metrix 20. Is it a global strategy to think local or is it very specific to India?
We understand that the needs and demand for every market are very unique. For e.g. in Europe almost 50% of bikes sold today are E Bikes. That might not be the case in emerging markets like India where we need to focus on 1st bike experience for our consumers. Hence Products like Aspect 655i and the Metrix 20 are targeted to the 1st time buyers who want to get introduced to the SCOTT brand without breaking their bank.
A very successful future stars program run by Scott in India. What is the key to nurturing more World Champion cyclists like Nino?
Yes we believe that if provided the right kind of support Indian cyclists can perform at the top most level of World Cycling. Hence it is important to nurture talent at a very young age. Nino today has a fantastic support team and that helps him to perform at the highest level consistently. Our endeavour through our Future Stars Program is to provide that kind of support that enables an athlete to perform and give it his best without worrying about equipment and financial resources required to follow his passion.
Any manufacturing plans out of India in future? Our Prime Minister is pushing the “Make in India” program aggressively.
We are exploring our friendships with a couple of Indian manufacturers to explore the possibility of manufacturing in India for the local market as well as for exports to other countries through such a manufacturing tie up. The Indian government is creating a platform and opportunities that Global companies like ours must surely take advantage of.
What is a key trend to watch out for that indicates that the market is maturing?
I think the Indian market has progressed on the right path. Each market is unique in that sense and each market has different milestones that it can achieve towards being a mature market. Hence there is no one master indicator that the market has matured.
Lastly, we know you are a busy man, but when you get the time, what do you ride and what are your favourite destinations?
I like riding on weekends but I always like going cycling on uphill routes. I like suffering on the bike as then doing business in multiple markets feels easy. My favourite routes are in the Swiss Alps near my residence and the Italian countryside by the beautiful lakes.
Any plans of riding in Indian traffic?
I was actually keen to do so this time around but with all the travelling that I have had to do in India in my 3 days here have left me with no time. But I have promised the team at SCOTT India that we will go cycling the next time I am here in India.
We wish Mr. Beat Zaugg and the dedicated team at SCOTT Sports a very good luck in their endeavours and hope to see more of him and his team in India.