In an exclusive interview with Franchise India, Sharad Venkta, CEO & MD, Toonz Retail Pvt. Ltd. shares Toonz Retail’s new business Toonz Fashion.
Started in October 2010, Toonz identified the gap of end to end solutions for a complete Kids’ retail store, which is a one stop shop for the entire parenting requirement from newborn to 12 years. Toonz offers everything from prams to puzzles, walkers to rockers, clothes to crayons, blocks to board games, rattles to remotes cars and diapers to dolls. Toonz fulfills all requirements for a customer from being a fashion destination to toy store or be it shopping stationary for your kid’s new session at school, it is an ultimate destination for all the requirements of kids.
Tell us about your business model?
It is a partnership model, where expenses, investments and risk are equally shared between Toonz and our business partners. We primarily operate on franchisee model to build up an ownership in the chain. We like to team up with people who think likewise and a passion to drive sale and dreams; our store size ranges from 1200 - 2500 sq ft and an investment of Rs 35-50 lakhs.
What is the idea behind launching new format stores?
The idea behind launching Toonz Fashion stores was that the kids’ fashion industry has been on a rise and we generate more than 50 per cent of total revenue from our apparel category. We also wanted to provide kids with the best in fashion. The Toonz Fashion stores will be an all-apparel and accessories store that would strengthen our positioning of being “India’s Most Stylish Kids Store”.
What do you think is the USP of your brand?
Both our brands WOWMOM & SUPERYOUNG are simple yet have playful designs offering wide range for everyday, party, traditional wear, which are quite unique and appealing. Apart from being fashionable, our apparel are comfortable and made with natural chemical free dye ensuring premium quality, ideal for kids.
What kind of training and business support do you provide to the franchisees? Elaborate the same.
Right from setting up the store, day-to-day operation; we offer complete support and training to our franchisee. We take care of the customer relationship management, virtual merchandise display and provide complete training to everyone at the store at every level, when a new product/brand is launched.
What criteria do you follow for selecting franchisees on board and what steps do you take to evaluate your franchisee’s performance?
For selecting the franchisee, there are three major factors that we consider before selecting our partners:
We evaluate our store performance on a regular basis and take corrective actions to maximise customer satisfaction and remain the first choice for them. Regular stock audits takes place to ensure availability of the complete range of merchandise. Regular marketing activities ensure existing and prospective customers are updated with the latest offers and new launches. These activities are handled by a team of professionals at the Toonz head office with inputs coming from the regional offices and franchisees.
In current scenario, is it necessary for a brand to be active in an offline model? Please elaborate.
As per our experience in India, customers residing in Tier 3 & 4 cities are inclined towards online shopping due to supply gaps in meeting their demands. The moment brick-and-mortar retail is available providing an option to satisfy their demand with added advantage of touch, feel, compare and choose from, customers have preferred the brick-and-mortar retailing over e-commerce. So it’s better the brand has an omni-channel presence.
Online retailing provides greater geographic reach than the offline model and is available to the customers to shop from 24-hours of the day. The convenience of shopping online is no doubt the greatest benefit, as consumers can select a product and purchase it within minutes. There is flexibility in stocking and displaying of the products as compared to offline retail. But on the other hand in offline mode people can try things on or feel the quality of the product while buying, plus customers don’t mind paying more for products once they are confident of the quality and fit after they touch, feel and try the merchandise. One of the largest pros for in-store shopping is the ability for customers to receive the product immediately.
What are your expansion plans?
We are looking at expansion from 100 stores to 200 stores in the next two years. We are also opening 50 fashion outlets in the next two years, which would cater Kids from 0 to 12 years. Recently, we also entered the GCC region and are looking at expanding Toonz Retail in other countries too.