Mini TRS Adds Im­mer­sive Ex­pe­ri­ence to Ray­mond

The Ray­mond Shop is one of the most suc­cess­ful ex­clu­sive fash­ion re­tail for­mats in the coun­try. The vi­sion since the very start was to create a re­spon­sive branded re­tail for­mat for menswear fash­ion amongst a broad spec­trum of con­sumers, spread across age

Images Retail - - FRONT PAGE - – By Gur­bir Singh Gu­lati

There are many fac­tors that have con­trib­uted to the suc­cess of Ray­mond but one of its key strengths, which has played a strong role in it be­com­ing the fash­ion pow­er­house as it is to­day, is the com­pany’s suc­cess­ful yet fastest roll out of a new re­tail busi­ness for­mat of The Ray­mond Shop (TRS) called the Mini TRS stores for the emerg­ing Tier IV & V mar­kets.

Map­ping the suc­cess from its first Mini TRS store launched in Bi­hta, near Patna, in the month of March 2017 to clock­ing a rapid count of 100 stores in the next 12 months, the com­pany has come a long way with its 200th out­let launched in Oc­to­ber 2018.

In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with IM­AGES Re­tail, Mo­hit Dhan­jal, Di­rec­tor Re­tail, Ray­mond Lim­ited shares in­sights into the suc­cess of the brand. He says, “Ray­mond has al­ways kept its cus­tomers at the heart of its strat­egy and brought it by lev­er­ag­ing the en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit of its chan­nel part­ners. This is the suc­cess for­mula be­hind our rapid growth with the Mini TRS stores.”

As Mo­hit shares, this for­mat has also cre­ated en­trepreneurs which were not from the busi­ness of fash­ion but ven­tured into the field be­cause of the strong Ray­mond brand eq­uity and proven re­tail legacy. He also talks about how this franchising part­ner­ship has been ben­e­fi­cial for the com­pany and the con­cept be­hind ad­dress­ing the growth in Tier IV and V mar­kets. Ex­cerpts from the ex­clu­sive in­ter­view… Tell us about the progress made through TRS re­tail jour­ney un­der your men­tor­ship? Ray­mond of­fers com­plete so­lu­tions to a men’s wardrobe from fab­ric to ready­made gar­ments to cus­tom tai­lor­ing. For over nine decades, the brand con­tin­ues to be one of the lead­ing pre­mium re­tail­ers in In­dia as­pired by all gen­er­a­tions. With the in­tro­duc­tion of new prod­uct cat­e­gories in the re­cent past in­clud­ing per­for­mance en­hanc­ing fab­ric such as the Techno-smart se­ries, the all-nat­u­ral Linen col­lec­tion, Shoes to fit ev­ery oc­ca­sion and feet, lev­er­ag­ing new age tech­nol­ogy such as 3D print­ing for ac­ces­sions, to the lat­est in­tro­duc­tion of Khadi by Ray­mond.

My role is to im­bibe the essence of #Cus­tomer­first, in other words ‘Keep­ing cus­tomer at heart of every­thing’ that we do at re­tail. We are build­ing the Ray­mond store on 3 pil­lars: firstly, con­nect with the cus­tomers and how cus­tomers trust the brand. We are ranked as num­ber one brand in terms of qual­ity and trust in In­dia. Se­condly, con­sis­tent de­sire to be the best in class in terms of the prod­ucts and ser­vices. Thirdly, the suc­cess of our chan­nel part­ners, which is a mainly fran­chise-led net­work.

The team took the chal­lenge of open­ing 300 stores in two year while our past an­nual av­er­age was only 25 stores. The team worked round the clock and turned that chal­lenge into the pos­i­tive op­por­tu­nity through re­lent­less pas­sion and grit. TRS has thought beyond Tier I, II and III towns for new growth op­por­tu­nity. Tell us about this dif­fer­ent re­tail strat­egy and what were the chal­lenges faced while set­ting up an or­ga­nized setup in these mar­kets? An early re­al­i­sa­tion of cre­at­ing part­ner­ships with en­trepreneurs has helped Ray­mond in the roll out of a strong fran­chise net­work across emerg­ing mar­kets and build­ing mar­quee brand pres­ence in these towns. We be­lieve that this fo­cus on po­ten­tial emerg­ing mar­kets, strong part­ner­ships, early mover ad­van­tage, strin­gent re­tail pro­cesses & qual­ity con­trol along with a cus­tomer cen­tric ap­proach will take Ray­mond to newer heights.

The key to the com­pany’s suc­cess­ful yet fastest roll out of stores is in its ag­ile busi­ness model which takes into ac­count the con­sumer nui­sances and mar­ket dy­nam­ics. As early as in 2008 the com­pany re­al­ized the im­por­tance of emerg­ing mar­kets beyond Tier I. Between 2009-14 the com­pany grad­u­ally ex­panded its re­tail pres­ence to cover all Tier II & III mar­kets. For next level of re­tail ex­pan­sion Ray­mond felt a need to evolve and de­velop new re­tail busi­ness model with right con­sumer propo­si­tion for the emerg­ing Tier IV and V towns.

Based on its 60 years of ex­pe­ri­ence re­tail and in-depth study of over

100 out­lets in Tier IV & V mar­kets; in Septem­ber 2016 Ray­mond pi­loted a new busi­ness model in­ter­nally re­ferred to as Mini TRS (The Ray­mond Shop) which was then per­fected over 6 months and com­mer­cially launched in March 2017. The first Mini TRS opened in March in Bi­hta (Bi­har). Since then, over 200 TRS stores have been rolled out in last 19 months.

From the first store in

Bi­hta, near Patna (March 2017) to 100 stores 12 months later; and now af­ter open­ing our 200th out­let in Oc­to­ber 2018, (seven months since we launched the 100th store) we are on the cusp of achiev­ing our am­bi­tious goal of launch­ing 300 stores in 2 years’ time. Our team is truly set­ting new mile­stones in the re­tail fash­ion in­dus­try.


Tell us about the busi­ness model of the Mini TRS shops. Our busi­ness model is rooted in our en­tre­pre­neur­ial fran­chise model that is proven and has evolved suc­cess­fully over the years.

The new As­set-lite model re­quires an in­vest­ment less than 1/3rd of a reg­u­lar TRS which pro­vides nec­es­sary fuel to make the busi­ness highly prof­itable in these emerg­ing mar­kets. The Ag­ile de­sign and mod­u­lar in­te­ri­ors en­sure that the stores are set up within 15 days in­stead of reg­u­lar 45 days. Tak­ing into the ac­count the chal­lenge in avail­abil­ity of re­tail in­ven­tory in these towns, the store size has been optimized to 600-1200 sq. ft. vis-à-vis the av­er­age 2,500 sq.ft. Tell us about the num­ber of towns iden­ti­fied for this in­no­va­tive re­tail con­cept? What are the key mar­kets? Ba­sis cen­sus 2011 we have iden­ti­fied over 800 po­ten­tial ur­ban towns across In­dia. How many stores have been rolled out till now? What’s the for­mula be­hind the suc­cess of this for­mat within a short span of time? With this new busi­ness model we have rolled out over 200 stores in past 19 months – a fastest re­tail store roll­out in Men’s Fash­ion & Life­style cat­e­gory. With these new ad­di­tions, Ray­mond is now present in over 500 towns – again a first for any ap­parel brand in the coun­try.

The suc­cess for­mula has been 2-fold. First, the new ag­ile & as­set-lite busi­ness model which paved the way for the brand to en­ter in to these emerg­ing towns of In­dia, which hit her to were in­ac­ces­si­ble.

Sec­ond, the new busi­ness model was then brought alive by as­so­ci­at­ing with like minded fran­chisees in these po­ten­tial towns by lev­er­ag­ing their mar­ket knowl­edge, hands on op­er­a­tions and ad­her­ence to the busi­ness frame­work. What is the growth per­cent­age and rev­enue fig­ures in the last one year and how much are you ex­pect­ing in the next fis­cal? These stores con­tinue to add in­cre­men­tal rev­enue and in­come to the com­pany since they have opened in com­pletely new mar­kets and towns. Over 90 per­cent of the stores opened have ex­ceeded our ex­pec­ta­tions in rev­enue gen­er­a­tion. Is there an Om­nichan­nel ap­proach to this model in these mi­cro mar­kets? Are these stores dig­i­tally con­nected? Mini TRS also has an in­te­grated dig­i­tal Om­nichan­nel ca­pa­bil­ity, through which the cus­tomers can ac­cess a cu­rated range of prod­ucts from our on­line web­store – Ray­mond Next. All the stores are con­nected through an in­ter­ac­tive kiosk lo­cated in the store. In case a cus­tomer wants a prod­uct that is not avail­able at the store, he can ac­cess our web­store and se­lect the prod­uct from this cu­rated range. He may then choose to get the prod­uct de­liv­ered ei­ther at the store or at his de­sired ad­dress.


Can you de­code the distri­bu­tion model and how this will be work for Mini TRS? Ray­mond al­ready has an ex­ten­sive distri­bu­tion net­work through di­rect and in­di­rect chan­nels such as agents, distrib­u­tor and whole­saler net­works that ser­vice over 15,000 out­lets across the coun­try. These di­rect and in­di­rect chan­nels of distri­bu­tion pro­vides us the plat­form to reach the emerg­ing towns with right prod­uct mix and faster turn­around time.

The only way that any or­ga­ni­za­tion can reach out to such mar­kets in a rel­e­vant and en­gag­ing man­ner is also through franchising. At Ray­mond, the essence of cre­at­ing part­ner­ships with en­trepreneurs in such mar­kets was un­der­stood very early and that has helped the brand create very strong and en­gaged chan­nel part­ners. If some­body has to opt for a fran­chise for the Mini TRS stores; what are the pa­ram­e­ters that Ray­mond would look for in a po­ten­tial fran­chisee? In ad­di­tion to the above the fran­chisee should have a suitable re­tail space rang­ing from 600 sq.ft. to 1,200 sq. ft. with a min­i­mum frontage of 15 ft and in­vest­ment of upto ₹50 lakh (in­te­ri­ors: ₹20 to

₹25 lakh and in­ven­tory: ₹20 to ₹25 lakh. How would you eval­u­ate the fran­chisee role and break-even for his in­vest­ments? The essence of the part­ner­ship is an en­tre­pre­neur­ial mind­set and pas­sion to­wards Re­tail Busi­ness. Our team works along with our Fran­chise part­ners on de­tailed prof­itabil­ity model with

Store P&LS / Busi­ness tar­gets which are mon­i­tored on a con­tin­u­ous ba­sis by our Area man­agers. The catch­ment plans are then worked out to drive foot­falls through sus­tained cal­en­dar ac­ti­va­tions for the stores. The team trains the fran­chisee and store team on re­tail­ing prin­ci­ples, emerg­ing trends, prod­uct train­ing and vis­ual mer­chan­dis­ing keep­ing it rel­e­vant for fran­chisee and cus­tomers. What is the kind of sup­port that the com­pany is go­ing to pro­vide its fran­chisee which takes on the Mini TRS con­cept? We work with like-minded en­trepreneurs, who have the right at­ti­tude for cus­tomer ser­vice and have a growth mind­set to part­ner for re­tail ex­pan­sion.

The key to its suc­cess lies with the con­duct of en­gage­ment and train­ing pro­grammes that we pro­vide on var­i­ous sub­jects per­ti­nent to modern re­tail like prod­uct train­ing, cus­tomer re­la­tion­ship man­age­ment, staff de­vel­op­ment, vis­ual mer­chan­dis­ing and op­er­a­tions, apart from evolv­ing prod­uct port­fo­lio that en­sures the prod­uct of­fer­ing is in line with the chang­ing con­sumer pref­er­ences and re­quire­ments.

We ac­tively en­gage with our fran­chise part­ners where their knowl­edge of their mar­kets is lev­er­aged through sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy pro­vided by Ray­mond to ac­ti­vate the brand in the lo­cal catch­ment and de­liv­ery su­pe­rior last mile ser­vice de­liv­ery. What in­no­va­tive re­tail strate­gies have you lined up for the fu­ture? Mini TRS will con­tinue to pro­vide the im­mer­sive Ray­mond re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence across all emerg­ing mar­kets and towns to its dis­cern­ing cus­tomer. The key levers are ‘Sin­gle view of cus­tomer’ ir­re­spec­tive of which chan­nel, city and store they shop in. ‘Think Global.

Act Lo­cal’ brought alive by our em­pow­er­ing our store man­agers, fran­chisee and area man­agers.

Ev­ery fran­chisee is sup­ported by an Area Man­ager who builds lo­cal calendarized ac­ti­va­tion and mar­ket­ing plans for each out­let de­pend­ing on the lo­cal fes­ti­vals as well as key talk­ing points. Through a co­op­er­a­tive mar­ket­ing pool, the ac­ti­va­tion cal­en­dar is im­ple­mented through the lo­cal fran­chisee and store so that they may lever­age their lo­cal knowl­edge to max­i­mize the ef­fi­ciency of all such ac­tiv­i­ties.

While there are broad brand guard-rails avail­able, each city/ mar­ket de­vel­ops and drives ac­ti­va­tions and pro­mo­tions that are best suited for its mar­ket and cus­tomers. What is the kind of turnovers that the re­tail di­vi­sion is aim­ing in the years to come? In re­tail we have mantra for growth that we in­ter­nally re­fer to as 5Gs of growth. These are Com­pet­i­tive Growth (faster than the com­pe­ti­tion); Prof­itable Growth (+ve

EBIT); Sus­tain­able Growth (con­tin­u­ous year on year); In­clu­sive Growth (Com­pany and Fran­chise part­ners) & Ex­pe­ri­en­tial Growth (en­hanc­ing cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence). This 5G growth leads to ex­po­nen­tial growth for Ray­mond. What are your ex­pan­sion plans? Our am­bi­tion is to bring alive the Ray­mond brand im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence across all towns of In­dia through our ral­ly­ing cry #Harshe­harmein­ray­mond.

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