Canon Image Square is a most recent retail venture from Canon India Pvt. Limited, a Digital Imaging Company and is a one stop destination for all imaging needs. In an interview Parveen Sahni, Asst Director, Retail division, Canon India Pvt. Ltd talks about the launch and success of the stores.
Abha Garyali (AG): Shed light on the origin, growth and success of Canon Image Square.
Parveen Sahni (PS): Canon Image Square came into being in 2010. It is a one stop destination for people with imaging needs. With Canon Image Square we are now available in almost all the regions in the country. We are tapping all the opportunities from corporate to retail sector. In less than a year we have opened 15 stores, which are running successfully.
AG: When and what inspired the brand to expand via the franchise route?
PS: We took the franchise route in October 2010. Franchising can definitely help in multiple ways. Main aim of our brand is to have a successful presence in all cities in minimum time. Franchisees with their local knowledge and expertise can sell the products in that area more successfully than a person who is new to that area. Another factor that guarantees success is location of the outlet. A combination of good location and capable franchisees is the key to success.
AG: What is the USP of Canon Image Square?
PS: The USP of Canon Image Square is that customers will get everything related to images, accessories, products, cameras, genuine products all under one roof. Moreover in our stores the customers are not dependent only on their knowledge. We have consultants, not sales persons, who provide information regarding different products. These consultants guide customers in selecting products according to their needs.
AG: All brands have their online as well as company owned stores. Which do you consider a better medium for sale?
PS: Online presence is always useful for brands because it is the best way to make customers more educated about the products and their features. Customers can know more about the technicalities of the product that interests them. However offline brand stores have their own advantages. All products are in front of the customers and they can use before buying them. The customers can get their doubts cleared by talking to the salesperson. The buying and selling atmosphere can only be present in offline store.
AG: What are the new products being added to the portfolio of Canon? From which product does the brand generate maximum revenues?
PS: All our product categories contribute equally well. There is a wide range of segments in buying a camera from Canon store. Customers can buy a life style camera, professional camera and there is a range for cameras for youth as well. The same is followed in our printers, scanners, projectors and cartridges. We have a multiple range in all these. Our portfolio consists of other accessories like photoframes, camera t-shirts and bags etc.
AG: Do you face competition from other organised players in this sector? What strategies have you employed for handling the competition?
PS: We cannot deny that there is competition in this field. However it is also right to say that each and every brand has its unique selling points that create an edge over others. For example Canon is sure about the perfection of its lenses. Moreover India is geographically a large country with a lot of population. Therefore there is tremendous scope for every brand in the market. There is still an untapped segment in the nation.
AG: What are the selection criteria for your franchisees? How much investment is required to take the brand’s franchise?
PS: We look for entrepreneurs from imaging background who have prior knowledge about the business. We are not in search for investors but for capable franchisees who understand the business and have a passion for it. They should be aware of all the products in portfolio. We prefer our existing franchisees and partners to take a franchise of Canon Image Square also.
In regard to investment there is no fixed amount. It is the company’s role to set up the interiors as well as all fixtures in the showroom. The franchisee requires investment in running the shop by taking all the products and equipments. Therefore approximately an investment of Rs 20-25 lakh is needed by franchisees.
AG: You had expanded the brand in Tier II and III cities and towns. What was the outcome of this strategy?
PS: We are getting great results from Tier II, III and other small cities. It is generally seen that an entrepreneur starts receiving ROI in the second year of business. However, in these small cities we have seen we are achieving ROI in the first year of opening. The smaller cities are coming up as great market places.
AG: How many franchisees do you have in India and in which cities? What are your future expansion plans?
PS: We have opened 15 stores in Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Bengaluru, Mysore,Jaipur, Mumbai , Chennai etc. We will be opening 5 more stores by the end of this month. In next two months we will open 15 more stores. We want to take the store count to 100 by end of 2011 and further take it to 300 in next three years. Our major thrust is on metro and smaller cities.
AG: How does the company support and train the franchisees?
PS: We have a training module for franchisees and his staff. We offer complete training on all our products to the franchisee as well as all his staff. Moreover for proper running of the franchise outlet we assign one experienced employee of the company to stay and mentor the new outlet. There is an online training module for our partners from where they can get guidelines. Any store of ours can only be opened after 100 per cent training of franchisee.