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
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