Ananya Pathak
Marketing

Royal Enfield’s Shubhranshu Singh on bike personalisation...

Royal Enfield is putting its tech might behind personalising two-wheelers through an app-based, 3D configurator – Make it Yours.

Let’s say you’re planning to buy a bike. You visit a brand’s offline store, scan through the options and make a choice. Will you now buy the bike in its current format and go home with the sense of ‘I belong to the (brand) club’? Or, will you look at it as an extension of your personality and customise it to suit you better?

Most customers of leading Indian motorcycle manufacturing brand Royal Enfield prefer to personalise their bikes. This personalisation could be as simple as putting a sticker on the fuel tank, picking an engine guard, adding a foot peg kit, changing the silencer and/or the rider seat, or even asking for the mirrors to be removed, added or changed.

In the offline market, a customer may not be able to visualise all these customisations at one go. The ready to deliver product may turn out to be exactly like it was imagined much to the rider’s delight, or not.

To deal with this, Royal Enfield launched Make it Yours (MiY) initiative, a motorcycle personalisation tool, in October last year (2020). Rolled out on the newly launched Royal Enfield app, the company’s website and through more than 320 brand stores, the service lets the users personalise and accessorise their motorcycles at the time of purchase.

Enabled via an all-new app-based 3D configurator, MiY allows the customers to access many personalisation options. They can choose colourways, trims and graphics, as well as genuine motorcycle accessories at the time of motorcycle booking. Once they make the booking via the app, they will also get to know the delivery timeline.

Royal Enfield’s Shubhranshu Singh on bike personalisation...
Royal Enfield’s Shubhranshu Singh on bike personalisation...

Shubhranshu Singh, global head of marketing of the now 120-year-old Royal Enfield, tells afaqs! that earlier, most customisations were done later, and not necessarily at the brand’s showroom.

He shares, “Motorcycle customers operate at various levels. There is that core group of highly evolved riders who customise their own bikes. Then there are the customers who opt for company-made accessories. There is also a large brand accessory market as well as a grey market for customers who may choose to customise outside of the brand.”

Singh adds, “Many times, the need to accessorise may arise after the motorcycle has been used for a while. What we have managed to do with the MiY initiative is to bring all those millions of permutations from the disaggregated offline market to one single platform. The customers are able to frame by frame go over accessories, see the cost, and decide whether they want it or not.”

Shubhranshu Singh
Shubhranshu Singh

Talking about the idea behind the initiative, he says, “We are not a motorcycle brand. We are a motorcycling brand. Other than our mid-segment bikes, we are also about how to maintain them, their upkeep, the apparel, motorcycling content, and the whole surround sound around it. We, as a brand, are creating a whole avenue around motorcycling.”

One important part of this job, Singh says, is accessibility. Over the past 5-7 years particularly, the brand has been rapidly expanding its network, he mentions. Royal Enfield is currently present in 1,000-plus stores across India and 600-750 studio stores.

“To serve our customers better, we had to understand what they are looking for. And also see how they engage with us both in the online and offline world. The MiY initiative builds on this insight,” he tells us.

Most users of the service so far are new users/upgraders between 25 and 34 years. As per the company’s records, there is a clear cut emergence of digital natives, who are engaging with the brand through the app.

Royal Enfield’s Shubhranshu Singh on bike personalisation...

More than 90 per cent of the users, who have made bookings since October, are indulging in customisations, with the average time spent on the app exceeding seven minutes.

Singh points out that the brand has seen a jump in the average time spent on the Royal Enfield app and the website since the introduction of the configurator, particularly towards the launch of Meteor 350. Royal Enfield launched Meteor 350 in the first week of November.

Speaking about the challenges that the brand had to overcome, he mentions, “We had to do a thorough research to understand what the consumers want, what their preferred customisations were and, of course, to make an easy to use, intuitive, refined and engaging platform.”

“We believe the (MiY) initiative re-energises the brand and also help us strategies how the customers interact with the brand. It is, in a way, reshaping accessibility and democratising personalisation,” he adds.

Singh explains that selecting the personalisation options online is just the front end of the task. At the back end, it travels all the way to the assembly line.

“Each personalised bike is uniquely configured because the set of permutations may be unique. So naturally, it goes back to the production facility,” he says.

Royal Enfield’s Shubhranshu Singh on bike personalisation...

MiY was initially introduced to personalise helmets on the basis of shapes (shell), colour palettes, internal fabric options, adding text, decals (graphics), visors, etc. It was a relatively small activity, but was a runaway success, Singh tells us.

He shares, “One seed of the idea to extend the service was sown at that time. We thought if the users are getting so excited about personalising their helmets, what will happen if the motorcycle itself became their canvas.”

Last month (January), the MiY initiative was launched for the brand’s range of apparel and gear as well. With MiY for apparel, the customers can now personalise their riding and lifestyle essentials, like T-shirts and accessories. Currently, there are more than 7,000 distinctive options to personalise one’s helmet, and over 15,000 options to personalise T-shirts using text, decals, graphics, colours, etc.

Royal Enfield’s Shubhranshu Singh on bike personalisation...

“The important, or rather the most useful, insight post the launch of Royal Enfield app and MiY service is that it is furthering our position as a lifestyle brand, instead of being a mere automotive brand,” Singh signs off.