Acknowledging the increasing bicycling trend in India especially in urban areas Firefox Bikes is today the most respectable and renowned brand name in hi-end bicycle industry. In an interview, Shiv Inder Singh, Managing Director, Firefox Bikes Pvt. Ltd shares company’s further growth plans via franchising.
Namita Bhagat (NB): Brief us on the origin and concept of Firefox Bikes?
Shiv Inder Singh (SIS): Firefox Bikes Pvt. Ltd is a leading importer and retailer of hi-end bicycles in India. The company started operations in 2005 and it is headquartered in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh. Firefox is an exclusive distributor of renowned international bicycle company, Trek Bicycle Corporation which is based in the US. Firefox’s product portfolio includes a broad range of over 70 models for all age groups and all categories such as ATB, MTB, BMX, Hybrid, Road and Kids bikes. The bikes are designed as per international quality and specifications with models having features like light weight alloy, dual suspension, multi speed disc brakes and many more. Moreover, Firefox also offers bicycle accessories and spares from well known global brand names like Slime, Finishline, Shimano to cater all bicycling needs. Our wide range of accessories and spares includes products like helmets, locks, speedometers, and gloves.
NB: What makes your brand promising?
SIS: Firefox brand has become an aspiration for the kids and adults who are looking to buy a quality bike. In the past few years, Firefox has created its goodwill by providing quality product and services to the consumer resulting in continual growth in numbers and value. The urban biking culture in India is catching up and moreover every kid has to ride a bike. With the increased money power and quality consciousness in India, Firefox has got a bright future.
NB: When and why did the company begin franchising?
SIS: Firefox Bikes has been franchising since 2006. We preferred franchising route for speedy expansion of our operations across India. We wanted to maintain our quality and thus did not opt for the dealer route. Franchising is apt for our brand to increase our presence, reach out to more costumers, and make our products and services easily accessible. Firefox’s exploration through the franchisee route has got many success stories of its franchisees, all through these years. We also have several franchisees operating multiple units.
NB: Could you share brand's current presence and further expansion plans in India?
SIS: Firefox currently has Indian presence through mix of company owned as well as franchised outlets. We have presence in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore and all other major cities through eight company owned stores and around 95 franchised stores. We plan to expand our presence in existing cities and looking to expand in all un-represented areas. Firefox plans to add 20 more franchisees in its present store network by end of this year. We would like to have extensive pan India presence through our retail outlets in the coming five years.
NB: How lucrative is the business opportunity for an aspiring ‘Firefox’ franchise?
SIS: The bicycle industry in India has a bright future. The bicycling trend is on rise in India, especially in urban areas due to its environment, health and ecological benefits. Firefox’s business opportunity offers the best of the margins in the industry along with marketing, technical support, interior guidelines, internal, external brandings etc. The company is being handled by an extremely professional group of people and we have an excellent product range backed up by a great business module that makes it easy for even a layman to enter and adopt the industry.
NB: Could you share the franchise facts like area and investment requirement? What are the targeted locations for opening franchised outlets?
SIS: We offer different store formats that include shop- in-shop to large sized outlets. A potential franchisee will need an investment of Rs 6 - 20 lakh and an area of 500-2,000 sq. ft is required to open a Firefox Bikes outlet. The expected return on investment (ROI) is between 6-8 per cent. The preferred location for opening the brand’s store is any location which is suitable for retail business.
NB: How has been the brand’s journey so far? Where do you see your brand five years from now?
SIS: Firefox has successfully created a respectable brand recognisation and an aspirational brand value for itself. We have associated with international brands and co-branded with POPEYE, MTV. We endeavour to provide quality equipments (Bicycles, Accessories and Spares) and service to the consumer in a friendly retail atmosphere. Further, we are aiming to have an outlet in every potential city in India and to cater to complete bicycle requirements of the consumer under the one roof. We strive for immediate brand recall in mind of the consumers.
NB: Tell us about the company’s overseas presence and expansion plans, if any?
SIS: Firefox already has one overseas unit already in Bhutan. We are aspiring to grow our international presence by entering into neighbouring markets through franchise model.