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With 25 years of rich experience in handling diverse responsibilities spanning various industries, Narresh Mehtta’s journey from Raymond to spearheading Hidesign as a Chief Operating Officer, has set a benchmark for franchise professionals.
He talks to Amanpreet Kaur about his plans to take Hidesign to tier II cities by exploring the franchise way for expansion.
What according to you are the three skills needed to be a successful franchise professionals?
The ability to integrate the brand proposition through good retail practices and delivery of desired customer experience with the business needs of the franchisee in terms of certain profits and RoI. Secondly, the ability to build and value relationships with your franchisee partners. Third, partnering in the true sense so there is a win-win for three the customer, the franchisee and the brand.
What are the five key elements necessary in franchise business from a long term business perspective?
The company should have a long term business strategy in place and the business policies should ensure that there is minimal channel conflict. The business processes should support the franchisee in conducting his business seamlessly. The model should motivate the franchisee to earn his ROI and assist the brand in achieving its market share.
Are you bullish about the growth of franchising industry in India?
Yes. We have heard it all the demographic dividend, the aspirations of the people backed by purchasing power, the evolution of customer preferences and tastes towards brands, etc. The country poses a huge challenge in terms of geography and complexity and diversity. It makes strategic sense for a brand to focus on product, pricing, quality and customer experience and leverage the local understanding and goodwill of the franchisee to grow the business. There are a number of 'professionals' who are keen on being entrepreneurs and they can be great franchisees for the brands.
What all key strategies have you implemented to make your brand's franchise stores more profitable?
Most brands across categories have grown exponentially due to the appetite and enthusiasm of franchisees and not just products but also in services like beauty, wellness, education and fine dining. Besides what has been said above, the key to profitability is buying and merchandising. In retail, you should be in love with your brand but not with the products. It is important to maintain a profitable balance between buying in range and depth, stocking quantities and selling at full price and discounting. The store has to look fresh and inviting and management of space is critical.
What plans have you put forth for Hidesign?
We are now embarking upon expansion through the franchising model in the tier- II cities by opening stores in leading malls and select high streets. We want to reach out to our targeted customer profile so that they can see our latest collection and experience the brand in our store.