Fashions may change with seasons, consumers may react to new trends and products but when it comes down to footwear, the axiom that men and women find comfort in old friends and shoes is a proven fact.
But in a market that experiences fierce competition, retaining customers is harder than earning them.
Batra Shoes, located at 180 Great South Road in Papatoetoe, has been a personification of customer satisfaction since its opened on July 23, 2005.
Its owners Tejinder Singh Batra and Kamal Kaur Batra were confident that the experience of running their family business back home in India would find ready customers in New Zealand, because ‘quality always transcends other barriers.’
But how does a footwear dealer cope with economic downturn, in addition to fierce competition in the market?
Mr Batra said while market conditions are tough, quality is always an important factor in sustaining demand.
“The footwear industry is not only competitive but also complicated. The wearer alone knows where the shoe pinches. The size of New Zealand’s market and increasing competition challenge retailers. Therefore, unless quality and price are well matched, survival would be at stake,” he said.
“People who shop at Batra shoes are becoming aware that good shoes, well-crafted using the right material, help to maintain healthy feet, which are important for the overall health of the body. You may be able to buy a pair of shoes at a much lower cost in some outlets but after a while, they begin to cause problems. Batra Shoes are famous for the quality leather and other materials and are never known to cause problems to the wearer,” he said.
Mr Batra acknowledges with pride the contributions of his wife Kamal to the progress of the Company. “We work together to source the best products possible and make them available to the public at reasonable prices. We are passionate about our business,” he said.
The success of the footwear business – leather shoes imported from India for men, women and children– encouraged the Company to introduce a number of other products and accessories.
Today, the Papatoetoe showroom retails a wide range of leather products including handbags, belts, wallets and other items.
Jewellery items are another range of items that find ready customers at Batra.
Mr Batra said that apart from selling a variety of jewellery articles, he also makes available Lehenga and Bridal jewellery on rental basis.
“We are happy that our lay buy scheme is also popular. Our customers find our wedding costumes exquisite and extensive. Fresh stocks arrive every fortnight to meet customer demand,” he said.
Mr Batra said customer comfort is central to success, admitting that it is neither an accident nor a secret. Leather will continue to retain its fit in footwear, notwithstanding the inroads made by other products.