Marking The Hours With Rajesh Chheda, MD & Ronak Shah, Director of Just In Time

Marking The Hours With Rajesh Chheda, MD & Ronak Shah, Director of Just In Time

THM Desk
24 Jun 2024 |
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In a world where time is of the essence, the pursuit of the perfect timepiece has become a passion for many. From the bustling streets of Mumbai to the cosmopolitan hubs across India, one name stands out as a beacon for watch enthusiasts and fashionistas alike: Just In Time. Founded in 2006 by the visionary Rajesh Chheda, this multi-brand retail empire has carved its niche by offering an unparalleled selection of watches, catering to every taste and budget.

L-R Nitesh Dedhia, Executive Director, Rajesh Chheda, Managing Director, Palak Jain, Content & Media Manager, The Hour Markers, Ronak Shah, Director Of Just In Time
L-R Nitesh Dedhia, Executive Director, Rajesh Chheda, Managing Director, Palak Jain, Content & Media Manager, The Hour Markers, Ronak Shah, Director Of Just In Time

Now run by the second generation with Ronak & Rashi Shah, Directors at Just In Time at the helm, and Nitesh Dedhia, Executive Director and Hemant Chhabria, General Manager offering their expertise, Just In Time has reached greater heights. We caught up with Mr Rajesh Chheda, Managing Director & Ronak Shah, Director of Just In Time to discuss their journey, changing landscapes and more. 

THM: You’ve been in the business since the age of 15 and paved the way for multi-brand retail stores. Tell us a little bit about your journey and Just In Time.

Rajesh Chheda: Back in the day, the watch industry was dominated by Titan watches. But we introduced Just In Time in 2006 to tap into the entry-level watch segment. Our first store was in Mumbai and later we expanded to Pune, Bangalore, Indore, Chhattisgarh and soon opening a store in Delhi.

Just In Time Store

THM: What were the challenges you faced in your journey in this industry?

Rajesh Chheda: There were several challenges when I started off as the presence of multi-brand stores was missing. Brands with a market share prevailed at the different standalone stores that were there. Seeing an opportunity and a chance to offer something different to the audience, we started Just In Time. We built our customer base on the values of affordability and quality products. With continued efforts on marketing, branding and offering quality service to our customers, we soon attracted the desired footfall.

Mr Rajesh Chheda, MD & CEO of Just In Time
Mr Rajesh Chheda, MD & CEO of Just In Time

THM: Talking about India, people here rely on heritage and gifting culture. Do you see a lot of audience coming into the store from that mindset or from a collector’s point-of-view?

Rajesh Chheda: We attract all types of audiences and have something for everyone. We’ve seen the trends change in India where earlier housewives did not spend on watches but today even they come into the store looking to buy a watch. Another noticeable trend has been that of smartwatches amongst the younger generation. We’ve also noticed a shift from smartwatches to entry-level watches once people started learning towards the gifting culture and that’s always been the top-most category, no matter what budget they come in with. Almost 35-40% of our sales are via the gifting category.

THM: What brands perform the best in your portfolio at Just In Time?

Ronak Shah: The brands that we host at Just In Time are well established and all of the 30 brands perform well. Whether it’s Ferragamo, Tissot, Longines, , RADO, Fossil, Citizen or Seiko, it comes down to how well you present these watches to the target audience.

Just In Time, Colaba
Just In Time, Colaba

THM: The Tissot PRX was quite hyped but often retailers face the problem of scarcity. How does Just In Time balance exclusivity and scarcity with the risk of stockouts in the watch market for hyped watches?

Ronak Shah: By the virtue of our breadth, depth, distribution and scale we are present across 15+ cities and 5 different states. This gives us the edge to procure the products quickly and meet the demands of the audience. Given our presence of 60+ stores, brand also witness success with us and then provide us with the product quantities.

THM: Given your presence across different states, is there a particular region or brand that performs exceptionally well?

Ronak Shah: Maharashtra and Gujarat are our key regions given the fact that we started from here. Pre-pandemic the Indian watch ecosystem knew us as the west of India brand given our strong presence there. But post pandemic, we’ve sailed through and doubled down on our strength and omin-channel network. We are now known Pan-India and hope that the Delhi market will accept us with open arms.

Just In Time Inside Store

THM: What is the distribution between e-commerce and offline sales?

Ronak Shah: Given the category we are in, e-commerce as well as offline sales are important. People in India have always been price-sensitive as well as trust-sensitive. Just In Time with close to 2 decade long presence has built a reputation and ranks among the top  3 sites online for watches In India. Our aim is to give a world-class omnichannel shopping experience to the Indian watch enthusiasts. 

THM: How is Just In Time keeping up with technology as audience today seeks experiential buying?

Ronak Shah: The brands that we host at Just In Time are presented with a premium atmosphere to offer the audience an experience. Additionally, we leverage an AI-driven smart replenishment tool which helps us analyse which brand should be hosted in which store as per its performance and demand. We always have an eye for being an early adapter in this industry with newer technologies. 

Just In Time Inside Store 2

THM: A new generation is carrying forward the business of Just In Time. How has this journey been?

Rajesh Chheda: I feel proud and know that if you have to grow you have to adapt to the changing times. The new generation brings a sense of freshness to the brand.

THM: What has the biggest change you have noticed in the last decade?

Rajesh Chheda: India has become the destination for watch brands and is catching the eye for all. Today there is a market for all brands that come to India.

Ronak Shah: Given the fact that we are catering to the fashion segment and are the bridge to premium watches, our average age group is between 20 years to 55 years. The younger generation is starting off with smart watches and then gradually progress to other brands. Today, even women are weaning watches considering they are accessories. Brands like Casio, Fossil and Timex are great to start with. If you are a new watch collector, you could look at automatic watches and mechanical watches as it becomes a status symbol.

Customer is key for Just In Time and only time will tell the growth it achieves in this fast-moving landscape. Whether you’re looking for a watch worth Rs. 5,000 or Rs. 500,000, Just In Time is the destination for you!