VOI Jeans: Crafting a niche
VOI Jeans, United Kingdom based jeans wear retailer known for its engineered crafting, has recently launched its first store in Bangalore with plans to introduce its flagship store in Hyderabad. Ampar Pramod, Executive Director, VOI Jeans Retails India Pvt Ltd, shares with VM&RD, the brand’s strategy behind targeting the South first, and also talks about the brand’s approach to retail.
What is the brand and business objective for this new store design concept?
We did a lot of research to get the look and feel of what a jeans wear brand should be and as the concept of VOI says engineered for you, it reflects a lot of industrial constructed look. So, in order to create a good ambience for people who walk in we started forming entire areas where we maintained a lot of individual elements, which also reflects our core philosophy. You can see a lot of wood and metal installations in our store reflecting a blend of industrial element and modern styling.
What was the creative interpretation behind the store design?
Our team believes in the modern design aspect and we follow people like LeCorbusier and Marc Newson. These are our benchmarks; we drive our inspirations from them. All of them had a single common element that created simplistic design and style, but with a powerful impact. So, taking motivation from them we tried to create a signature style of our own in which I think we have achieved quite a lot in the store. The store reflects simplicity which also makes a very powerful statement.
How does the brand connect and be in sync with its target audience?
There are a lot of marketing activities we do to reach our target audience, but we believe that marketing doesn’t have to necessarily involve a TVC or something on which we have to spend a huge amount of money. Our marketing plan is based on a few things; we have a target age group that we cater to. If for example, this group falls under the 18 to 30 years category, we start brainstorming accordingly and look at different aspects like where they hang out, what kind of clothes they prefer, the kind of music they listen to etc. So, this way we actually started classifying our music which further helped us in doing activations like VOI Nights. We have also sponsored rallies in Abu Dhabi, and we go to college fests, use the social media, host contests on Facebook and additionally, we also do a lot of activations in the malls. If you ask me, yes there is a lot of difference in terms of the store because stores in UK were done a few years back and as the retail scenario is very dynamic and keeps evolving, the format is not something which can be replicated here. We just wanted an eye catchy format which drives people in. So, now our India format is getting rolled back into UK and Amsterdam for the upcoming stores. We have just started working on this store format in Amsterdam. It’s a franchise store of VOI and we are very excited about taking this format to a global stage.
How do you budget for the various aspects of the store design and how do they relate sales and conversion to the store design?
Today, if we start relating a store cost to the conversion, it is very difficult because today most of the retail companies in India have a fixed budget within which we need to execute the store. But definitely one aspect that helps us a lot is the square feet that we choose. We spend a good amount of money on the store, but if we reduce the amount of space which we are doing, it helps quite a lot for sure because we turn around the PDS much more in a smaller store when compared to a bigger store.
What do you think are the advantages and challenges in the Indian retail scenario?
There are more of disadvantages than advantages in the Indian market especially if a European brand is entering the market. Europeans work with a very set formula of wholesale, they don’t have stock correction, they don’t have to take any goods back but when we go to the wholesale markets over here, there are a lot of drawbacks. First, you have to keep your stock and then have to manage your stock and finally have to pay them hefty margins. So, it’s an outright purchase here, but then there is nothing called an outright purchase, everything is on sale and return. Of course, there are also advantages. The scope for point of sale is growing and