World Footwear


Thomas G Bata: You have to get the priorities right

Jun 24, 2019 Switzerland
Watch the interview to learn a bit more about the current trends of the footwear industry according to the views of Thomas G Bata, from the Bata Group

The had a converstion with Thomas G Bata from the Bata Group. Bata Limited is a Canadian owned multinational footwear and fashion accessory manufacturer and retailer based in Lausanne, Switzerland. We took the opportunity to discuss the main trends of the footwear industry with Thomas and bring you the highlights of that converstion today

The role of social media
Many years ago we operated in many countries. Our advantage was that we would come with new ideas to a market quicker than our competition. Now everybody has access to that information at the same time. So for me that is one of the biggest impacts of social media.
If you are happy about something you tell me you had a good experience buying from someone. Or you tell that you had a bad experience. The social media has just accelerated that situation. It always happened, but now it happens so much quickly and instantaneously.

What the consumer wants
Consumers are still looking for great products. What’s happening is that it is easier for new brands and new products to be introduced in the marketplace. Because it is relatively easy to build your own website. And what I have noticed is that certain brands are finding different ways of getting that word of mouth to the consumer rather than through the traditional ways, such as Google or through influencers.

The future of the industry
The shoe manufacturing itself is still very traditional and it tends to go to where the costs are much lower and people are available. I believe that with this trend into casual there is much more into the industry than the traditional way of doing business. There will be a need and a search for new materials, new technologies and ways of manufacturing shoes.

The role of customisation
We tried customisation and I think that at the moment is a very expensive niche. I think there is a certain degree of irritation if you try to customise too much the service to an individual. But I also get irritated when I can’t make my own choice. So, you will have to find the right balance, as consumers are clearly interested in deciding some of the things but they don’t want to be 100% dictated to what they see and I think this is going to be one of the challenges for social media. There is too much advertising, too many products and it is too confusing.

What is the key for success?
You have to get the priorities right. If you don’t get the product right, you are not going to last very long, no matter what. For example, us as a group we are putting a lot of energy on products and what the product means and being very credible for those types of products.

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