A regional retailer who has evolved to become a frontrunner in retailing electronic goods today, Vijay Sales has strategic expanded into a retail chain with 69 stores nationwide today and completing a benchmark of 50 years this month. VM&RD speaks with Ni
You have completed 50 yrs in this business, can you tell us a bit about the journey of Vijay Sales.
My last generation started the journey with a store as small as 50-70 sq ft at Mahim, Mumbai to sell ceiling fan, sewing machine and radios. What we focused on was the bridge between the customers and the brands and that was a unique differentiator from day one that helped us keeping our standards high. With time, product folio got bigger and one of the iconic products was black and white television set and as a debut technology, it needed a good amount of demonstration and support. We made sure that we personally deliver that. Back in those days, when no EMI facility was available, we encouraged customers to buy in installments. That was how we grew our customer base.
When did you decide to go beyond Mumbai and create a national branding for yourself?
We started our expansion in 1986 with few more stores but in Mumbai only. There are three milestones in the electronics retailing in India – when the television first came to India, then came the colour television and then lately in 90s when LG and Samsung came with their entire gamut of products. The third change catapulted our industry and thus inspiring us to look at bigger growth and expansion. Our first big store came about much later at Goregaon spanning across 5000 sq ft. when no electronic retailer thought of a large store space. Our whole idea was to display more to sell more. We came a long way before we opened our 25,000 sq ft store disbursed among two wings. 2007 was the first time when we spread our wing beyond Mumbai with our store at Surat and same year we moved to Pune. Around 2008, we started our operation in Delhi.
Tell us about your expansion plan?
Taking one step at a time, we plan to open about 7-8 stores by end of this year. Delhi, Ahmedabad and Pune will get our next few set of stores.
How did you manage to grow amidst the mushrooming competition?
In 2006, all the corporate retailers came in the same business and we had many offers to sell our stake to these giants. However, we chose to stay as independent business and that competition had actually prompted us to be better and stay ahead. That also prompted us to widen our access throughout the country.
How you are keeping ahead in terms of your store designs and customer experiences? Will there be any digital interface?
Our Goregaon and Linking Road stores are newer in terms of retail design with a generous use of wood with better space alignment, specially-designed tables for laptops etc. We are also planning to dedicated some spaces within the stores for training sessions with the consumers. This will start with our Prabhadevi outlet and if succeeded, we will incorporate this facility in other stores too. In terms of digital interfaces within the store, we have realized that even after the topnotch digitization, customers are most comfortable in interpersonal communication.
We plan to open about 7-8 stores by end of this year. Delhi, Ahmedabad and Pune will get our next few set of stores.
Nilesh Gupta, Director, Vijay Sales