In an interaction with Supam Maheshwari, Founder & CEO FirstCry.com who shares his plan to open offline stores.
Please tell us in detail about your franchising model?
We believe strongly and completely in the franchisee model of retail. A franchisee brings with him/her a great deal of local knowledge/understanding that is the key to retail. This coupled with FirstCry’s competence and expertise in products and retail in general, creates a fantastic combination that’s difficult to beat. In fact, all our existing stores are franchisee stores and we intend to continue in that only.
Typically for an investor who is planning to invest in this sector, what are the factors that he/ she should keep in mind?
There are many factors which an investor should look at before investing in the sector. Primarily would be the financial position of the company in which money is being invested. How soon the company would be able to pay back. Apart from this, one more important factor to consider is, the leadership heading the company, their ability to scale up plays a major role in decision making. How innovative is the model that is being followed by the company helps a lot too.
What kind of training and business support do you provide to the franchisees?
We do proper hand holding of our franchise, right from the first day of the store. There are various kinds of training which are provided, like sales training, POS training, visual merchandising training, B2B portal training and other day to day operations.
What made you evolve your model from a digital platform to adding a retail channel?
Since the inception of FirstCry, we were clear that we wanted to create a holistic platform for parents. Thus opening an offline store was always part of our plan. India is a market where parents are still conscious about what they are buying for their kids and its imperative for them that they get to touch and feel the products. At FirstCry, we have created a hybrid model of retail where a parent has the flexibility to buy either from our online website or from a physical store nearby. Most people would do both. We plan to extend our leadership position online to our offline stores as well.
What is your expansion plans?
We have been witnessing tremendous growth across platforms and have grown 100 per cent year on year. We will continue to grow at this pace in near future as well. We aim to ramp up our store count to 700 stores in next 3-4 years. We want to be the clear market leaders for baby product market in India.