The largest electronic retail chain of India, NEXT Retail India Ltd., is amongst the pioneers in organised retailing of consumer electronics, home appliance, IT, imaging and other such accessories. In an interview Sunil Mehta, CEO, NEXT Retail India Ltd shares the success story of his company.
Ramanjit Kaur (RK): Could you shed some light on the origin of NEXT Retail India Ltd?
Sunil Mehta (SM): Next Retail India Ltd was incorporated in 2003 with five showrooms in Hyderabad. Now we operate over 500 showrooms across 16 states with a presence in 187 cities and towns spanning across the metros, tier II and tier III towns under the brand name ‘NEXT’. NEXT Retail India Ltd has tied up with all the leading brands of national and international repute which are showcased under one roof, combining the best in quality, service, convenience and price.
NEXT is a multi-brand and multi-product showroom and stocks an entire range of consumer durables from AC, LCD and plasma TVs, home theater systems, washing machines, refrigerators, microwaves to small home appliances. NEXT retails some of the most popular brands such as LG, Samsung, Sony, Electrolux, Kelvinator, Whirlpool, Onida, Philips, Kenstar, Videocon, Sansui, including its own brand. NEXT also stocks Xbox of Microsoft, computers and laptops by Acer, HCL, Lenovo and HP.
RK: What inspired NEXT Retail India Ltd to take the franchise route? Have you noticed any difference after opting for franchising?
SM: With the mission of creating a unique customer satisfaction through innovation, quality productivity, human resource development, we have started franchising our business. Franchising is the best available option for any company to expand its business. Also, it provides an opportunity to the young and experienced entrepreneurs to establish themselves through this wonderful mode. After opting for franchising, we have become capable to expand our network rapidly and generate good revenue out of it.
RK: What practices and initiatives have you introduced in Next Retail India Ltd?
SM: Since its inception, NEXT is continuously introducing new practices and initiatives for its customers and employees. Recently, we have introduced ZPOS (SAP at front end for customer billing) successfully. Now, we are soon going to implement BAR coding system for more convenient and fast movement of material.
RK: What kind of background is necessary for securing the franchise of your company?
SM: We usually look at retailers with thrust of business and dedication. These are the prime key requirements to secure the franchise of NEXT Retail. Besides, a franchisee is required to have a minimum of 1000 sq ft. carpet area showroom, which must be located in a potentially sound market area with high footfalls.
RK: How many outlets do you presently have? What are your future target locations to expand?
SM: Presently, the company has 506 outlets across India and we are open for proposals from all parts of India.
RK: What support and training does a franchisee get when partnering with your company?
SM: We provide our franchisees with all the required support and guidance. We provide them with advertisement and promotional support; offer periodic training and uniforms for the sales staff of all the franchisees to ensure smooth running of the business. Apart from these, we offer IT support and better return over investment compared to other companies.
RK: What is the break-even period for ‘NEXT Retail India Ltd franchisee?
SM: Generally, the break-even depends upon the turnover of the franchisee but it is expected to be achieved in a year’s duration.
RK: Any advice for young entrepreneurs?
SM: Being an entrepreneur, one must learn to serve and respect his/her customers to the best of his/her capability. S/he must pay attention and invest well in supply chain management (SCM), IT and after sales service facilities for higher customer retention.
RK: What are the company’s future plans in terms of expansion through franchising?
SM: We are planning to build a chain of over 1,000 showrooms throughout the country with an estimated annual turnover of Rs 3,000 crore in the next two years.