US sports goods manufacturer Nike has started online retail operations in India via its portal Nike.com.
India-based users can now order from the global portal and have it home delivered.
Earlier, only certain markets such as Australia, Hong Kong and Indonesia were being served by the online division of the company, arguably the world’s biggest maker of sports clothing and accessories.
As of now, Nike.com is offering free deliveries to India on orders worth Rs 14,000 or more. For other orders, one has to pay Rs 750 in delivery charges.
Delivery times promised range from 5-7 days, indicating that the deliveries are being made from within the country. At Rs 2,000, you can also have it ‘express delivered’ in just two or three days.
The online portal also has a rule that if you are using the website from within India, you can only have it delivered within the country.
India permits foreign companies to retail their wares in the country, but only if those are all ‘single brand’. In other words, they cannot sell other companies’ brands.
Nike already has a large offline distribution network in the country, and competes with Reebok and Adidas.
It also competes with France-based Deacthlon, which has rolled out a number of ultra-large warehouse-like shops across the country to sell its in-house sports brands such as Artengo.
Online sales of sports apparel and shoes is dominated by Flipkart and Amazon. However, Nike and other brands who operate their own showrooms and have exclusive franchisees have been loathe to go aggressively on the discount-oriented online platform.
Aggressive sales using online portals would hit the profitability of franchisees, who often bear very high location costs due to the upscale locations of these stores.