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Footwear retail 2010-03-24

Escalating offline stores the franchise way

By Ramanjit Kaur Feature Writer

Bigshoebazaar.com, an online portal for multi-brand footwear has taken the franchise route to expand the presence of its offline stores. In an interview, Manmohan Agarwal, Director, Bigshoebazaar.com shares the inception, and future plans of the company.

Ramanjit Kaur (RK): Brief us the inception of Bigshoebazaar.com.

Manmohan Agarwal (MA): Bigshoebazaar.com is a unique company, which has started its operations in August 2009. The company is operating under three business verticals, e-commerce online stores (also called bigshoebazaar.com), offline stores of bigshoebazaar.com and bigshoebazaar.biz. The first two verticals are operational while the third one is soon going to be launched. The online store is a multi branded store which is known for the quantity and quality of the products we offer. While the offline stores are multi-brand stores that are recently launched.

RK: When did the company started franchising? What has inspired the company to take the franchise route?

MA: The company started franchising in October, 2009 to expand the presence of its offline multi-brand outlets across the nation. We have taken the franchise route to open state-of-art modern stores, which can empower the small and medium sized retail formats.

RK: What are the eligibility criteria for selecting the franchisees?

MA: We prefer entrepreneurs who have the desire to run the franchise business. S/he must have his/her own space instead of rental areas. The size required to open our franchise stores ranges from 1,000 sq. ft to 3, 000 sq. ft. Besides this, s/he must have adequate finance to afford an investment of Rs 25 lakh to Rs 75 lakh.

As we are in the process of signing properties with real estate developers and malls on revenue sharing basis, so we can also offer our franchisees with this space to start the franchise operations. In this situation, the franchisee only has to bring in the investment and manage the outlet.

RK: What kind of support and training does a franchisee get when partnering with your company?

MA: We help our franchisees in the recruitment and training of the staff. We manage the entire supply chain as we have our own warehouse and the franchisees are connected with the warehouse through computer (IT software). The franchisees can easily access the stock details and accordingly manage the stock at the outlet. Moreover, the franchise stores also have bigshoebazaar.com kiosks that help the franchisees in situation where s/ he can offer its customers the products which are not available at the franchised outlet. Our kiosks have around 5,000 designs and all the brands bigshoebazaar.com deals in.

RK: How many outlets does the company presently have? What are your future target locations?

MA: Presently, we have seven operational franchised stores. Now we are targeting the eastern part of the country which includes states like UP, Bihar, Orissa, Bengaluru and all the north eastern states. We are also looking at Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and four states of south India.

RK: Could you please share the progress of the third vertical and what it is all about?

MA: The third vertical of ours will be a unique vertical, which will be an online wholesale cash and carry portal. This portal will be called bigshoebazaar.biz. This portal will help the various retailers across the nation to order online and get the retail margin. We deliver the consignment at the wholesale price to the customer, so that, s/he does not have to run anywhere for its delivery. This vertical will help us in reducing the supply chain problems that the retailers are facing and will bring a revolution in the footwear industry of India.

RK: What are the future plans of the company?

MA: Our aim is to take the count of the franchised outlets to 15 by 2010-11. We want to expand the brand presence in all the tier II and III cities across the nation.

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