Shreya Lavsi, The Raymond Shop
Celebration bells ring at The Raymond Shop on C.G Road, Ahmedabad, one of the most successful stores in the wide network of brand Raymond across the country. The relationship journey of the Lavsi family with The Raymond Shop that started in 1989 crosses the silver jubilee mark. The 25-year journey saw this relationship get stronger, the business grow more prosperous, the brand equity gaining and the store building a wider loyal customer base.
How did the journey begin?
We have been the Gujarat region agents for the brand since the 1950s. So, our relationship with Raymond dates way back. We started the store in 1989 with a 2,800 sq. ft space. The array of collection at Raymond back then was not as wide as it is today. We retailed fabric, blankets and shawls. The readymade section only comprised of Park Avenue. Bespoke is at the heart of the brand and custom tailoring has always been a part of the store; true to the brand legacy.
Tell us about your relationship with the brand
25 years is a long time of association with the brand and we have grown hand-in-hand with the brand. At every point and in every aspect we have adhered to brand values and respected its legacy. When a customer walks into the store, he goes through a seamless brand experience which has been crafted over the years.
Who is your target customer? Has it changed over the years?
When we started the store, considering our product range the target customer class comprised of males over 30 years of age and we catered to their formal wear needs. This segment was tweaked with new collections and brands being added to the Raymond portfolio. Today, based on our collection
range, we have found loyal customers among the young male as well. Parx and Park Avenue casuals are quite a hit with the younger generation. Also, we have a customer base for our ethnic collection. The Park Avenue Woman section which we started a few years back brings many women customers to the store.
How has the store evolved? What were the milestones toward success?
Being an active part of the retail industry, change is inevitable. To mark a continuing progress, the store has undergone major renovation thrice in these 25 years; first in 1993 when it expanded to 4000 sq. ft, followed by an expansion to 5,000 sq. ft in 1997 and the store you see today was renovated in 2007 and boasts of 11,000 sq. ft of Raymond experience spread across three levels. These major changes mark as our milestones. Of course, minor changes happen all the time to keep the store fresh. Over the years, Raymond has proudly started a few new sub-brands and consciously shut down a few. These changes accommodate the changes made by the brand.
What factors vouch for your success? How are these 25 years significant?
We have always stressed on keeping the store contemporary. Staying in sync with current times assures progress. All changes the store went through were done keeping this in mind. I would personally like to credit our sales service for the customer loyalty. Raymond is a brand known for its quality and customers connect emotionally to the brand. The same feeling has to be expressed at the store level as well. Our store offers personalised service to all customers. We have a huge database of regular customers which is owed to a friendly association. Customers and the sales staff are quite acquainted with each other and the bonding developed over the years keeps them loyal to our store. 25 years play a huge role here as relationships are not formed overnight. We give a lot of importance to maintaining relationships with the customer. It helps that our staff members too have worked with us for at least 7-8 years on an average. Customers share personalised greetings with the staff members when they come to the store. I can say from experience that such a scenario is very rare in retail. There have been times that I have encountered store recognition on my travels as well. People relate to a store because of the people at the store.
What is it about your business model which ensures forward growth?
We believe in keeping up with the current methods. All footfalls and purchases are tracked. Before placing a new booking with the brand, we do in-depth research based on our data to understand the styles, brands and products preferred by our customers and place the order accordingly. This research on our own track record helps us fulfill customer demands.
What is your take on store design?
We have always considered store design as a crucial factor leading to progress and business growth. Throughout these 25 years, we have strived to keep the store design in sync with times. The design at the store today is conceptualised by design firm Blocher and Blocher, which was done at a pan-India level and executed by architect Deepak Kalra for our store. Zoning is an important part of design and all our departments are strategically incorporated in the design. For example: The ground floor has been designated for impulse buying and along with accessories and our bed and bath collection, casuals also occupy space on the ground floor itself. This zoning works well for store business.
Lastly, would you like to credit anyone for the success of the store on this occasion?
Ours is a family-run business and everybody has their contribution in what we are today. We have reached here and have been able to have this cordial journey with Raymond under the guidance of Mr Snehal Lavsi who is the seniormost in the family and the business
Shreya Lavsi, Owner The Raymond Shop, C.G Road, Ahmedabad