Chum­bak

Chum­bak, a much loved In­dian brand that is known for its sig­na­ture quirky style and vi­brant de­signs, started off with fridge mag­nets and key chains and evolved into a life­style brand with prod­uct cat­e­gories span­ning across fash­ion ac­ces­sories, apparel, ho

VM&RD - - Contents - Chanda P Ku­mar

Can you tell us why Chum­bak’s off­line pres­ence is lim­ited to its ex­clu­sive out­lets?

In the be­gin­ning, we were present as pop-ups and kiosks at se­lect MBOs and depart­ment stores such as Shop­pers Stop. But as we ex­panded and added on news prod­ucts, we re­alised that the 100-150 sq ft area didn’t bring out the essence of the brand.

We launched our first flag­ship store at CMH Road, Ban­ga­lore in 2014 and fol­lowed by an­other store in Delhi. By ob­serv­ing th­ese two out­lets, we re­alised that it didn’t make sense with very large stores in mar­kets like Ban­ga­lore and Delhi. So we set­tled that our stores should be 1200 sqft, how­ever if the mar­ket de­mands a big­ger space then we must take it. Our store pres­ence is a mix of high-street and malls, but this year on­wards there will be more stores com­ing up in malls. We plan to open 15-18 stores this year, with fo­cus on Ban­ga­lore, Delhi and Mum­bai mar­kets.

Which re­tail chan­nel has worked best for your brand?

Off­line is giv­ing us 70% of our busi­ness. Both mall stores and high-street stores con­trib­ute equally, but the lo­ca­tion and city mat­ters. We are also try­ing air­port re­tail, and at present we have one store in Hy­der­abad air­port, which is do­ing well. We plan to ex­tend air­port pres­ence at Ban­ga­lore, Delhi and Mum­bai, but it has to jus­tify the high rentals.

Which prod­uct cat­e­gory is gain­ing more space and promi­nence in your stores?

Fash­ion is gain­ing lot of promi­nence. We launched this a year ago, and apparel now con­trib­utes 27% of our busi­ness. A ma­jor­ity of ac­ces­sories have also turned into fash­ion ac­ces­sories such as bags, footwear, etc. So if you put ap­par­els and fash­ion ac­ces­sories, it is 60% of the busi­ness. So since the last 6-8 months, stores were de­signed in way to hold more of this cat­e­gory.

Our cus­tomers have an idea of what Chum­bak as a brand is, so the idea was to trans­late the ex­pe­ri­ence when they walk into the store. We con­stantly re­view the stores and have learnt through re­search that cus­tomers are notic­ing ev­ery­thing in a store. Sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ences such as mu­sic and aroma are vi­tal. Also what we do is look closely into the sales data, and see if the top cat­e­gories are rep­re­sented well in space, through good VM and avail­abil­ity.

We are look­ing at tech­nol­ogy in a large scale, where we are try­ing to test out if con­sumers are walk­ing around the stores them­selves, can the billing and point of sale walk around with them. So were are test­ing out tablets in most of our stores to bill or even place or­ders. We are also try­ing to map the hotspots in the store, to see where the shop­per spends more time at in the store, or which ar­eas they are not brows­ing through. So, this could be be­cause the VM here is not the best or prod­uct is not suited at that part of the store. We are very happy with th­ese early re­sults.

Vivek Prab­hakar, Co-Founder, Chum­bak

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