Franchise Aspects Sep, 24 2015

Franchising is at the heart of our growth

By Sandeep Rana, TFW Bureau
Franchising is at the heart of our growth

When we talk of franchising, Re-feel and Clublaptop emerge as prominent and unique brands as all of their stores are franchisee-run.  Alkesh Agarwal, CEO of the company shares with us his strategies, plans and business opportunities for franchisees in an interview.    

What different are you bringing into the market with your brands Re-feel and Clublaptop?

As always as a company, we have remained committed to look forward to foray into industries that are unorganised despite huge needs. Our approach has allowed us to bring Re-feel and Clublaptop into existence. With both our models what we bring to the table is value for money proposition for the customer coupled with quality services that they have been longing for. Also, we aim to be eco-friendly group- both cartridge recycling and laptop service helps us to reduce e-waste significantly contributing to the nature.

There are hardly any organised laptop service brands in India? What have you been able to achieve with Clublaptop?
The idea of getting into this business took its shape from the fact that there is no other brand which is offering such services despite the need gap. It took us over 12 months to analyse the different facets of this business before taking it to the market. The response so far has been great and in such a short span we have already finalised over 100 exclusive Clublaptop stores across India with over 70 operational as on date. Also over few years we have introduced series of quality yet affordable accessories for laptops.

Our direct connect with users at their last leg allows us to be better placed against our competitors in analysing their core requirements and introducing new products/SKUs in the market. We still see a huge market opportunity and all set to grow our network of stores and product line. From here, we look forward to add new products every quarter.  

How important is franchising in the success of your brands?
Franchising has always been at the heart of our growth. We always believed and took the franchise route for fast paced growth and it helped. You can well understand the importance of franchising for us as we do not have a single-owned store till date. All our stores are franchise stores. Franchising is a great way to partner with right set of people in you and your partners journey towards growth but it needs lot of systems, processes and controls to drive it to success.

What strategies have you adopted to taste success in your venture?

I think in today’s ever-changing scenario, you cannot afford to be static and put to use a lot of thoughts and strategies in place. What worked for us is our focus on the market and our partners. We as a company have kept ourselves evolving with time and technology. We always took a kind of challenge to work on the concept of awareness.

Tell us about one good and bad thing you have learnt in your business so far?

Everything is good in business till you take it in the spirit of learning, and path for us has been quite a series of great moves and mistakes that we did in the past and even today. The good thing that we would like to mention is the team we created – it’s so important for one’s success. We always tried and were able to successfully put the right team in place. One bad thing is that do not procrastinate – this we learnt after burning a few INRs out of our pocket – as a business owners we need to be agile and hard calls like saying bye to an employee not suited for a particular role, wrong selection of an agency working for you etc.

Since e-commerce sector has become inseparable part of any business, how are you going about it?

E-commerce is a buzz word now. We also did launch our e-com store last year sporting all ClubLaptop and Refeel range of products. Also, all our products are marketed and sold through all major e-comm portals like Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal etc. There has been quite a bit of traction and we are seeing graphs growing high across this distribution line.

Share a word on the present cartridge refilling and laptop service markets?

Still in India, we are just at the inception stage if we talk about the organised industry across our both business lines. The market is huge and ever growing and there is a scope of more organised players coming in the trade. With increased sales of printers and laptops, we see a huge business coming along the way over next few years. Also using eco-friendly products while saving on your pocket is a great value proposition a consumer gets.

Related: Generating prospects in telecom franchising

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