How This Raymond Franchise has Stood The Test of Time For Last Three Generations
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The business, which was started by Prakash’s grandfather Lachmandas Aswani in 1986 with The Raymond Shop (TRS) at MG Road in Kochi, has grown multifold with TRS at MG Road, Lulu Mall, Marine Drive and Tripunithura in Kochi, besides a couple of exclusive brand stores of Park Avenue, Color Plus, and Raymond Made-to-Measure. While Prakash joined the business in 2007, he has been instrumental in growing it by expanding the TRS footprint as well as conceptualizing and executing the project to renovate the old MG Road store to an all-new experience store, offering the full wardrobe solution under a single roof.
Tell us about the recently re-opened experience store and how it is redefining the customer experience.
We have completely renovated the old 6900 sq. ft store into a sprawling 10,000 sq. ft experience store offering a wide array of Raymond fine fabrics as well as ready-to-wear and ethnic wear. What makes this store a must-visit for every fashionista is the premium shopping experience with StyleME – a technology that enables the customer to visualize his look in a particular fabric. StyleMe, with over 20,000 fabric options, helps the customer choose from over 50 latest styles for shirts, trousers, suits, jackets, bandhgalas and sherwanis. With Park Avenue DIY setup and bespoke shoes, the store is all set to offer a complete wardrobe solution to its customers. Moreover, the store hosts a full-fledged collection of women apparel from Park Avenue and Parx.
Fashion retail is witnessing intense competition from an increasing number of brands as well as deep discounting from online players. How are you addressing this?
The brand positioning and innovative strategies from Raymond are enabling us to brace through the intense competition. While Raymond has a major mindshare and market share in the region we operate in, the brand has re-imagined the customer experience with its Technostretch and Technosmart fabrics. The company has completely re-defined its readymade brands like Park Avenue, Color Plus and Parx with innovative designs and fittings. In addition, Raymond is ages ahead of the competition with technological innovations like StyleMe.
As a multi-unit franchisee of Raymond, we leverage numerous cross-selling and up-selling opportunities across the brands. Moreover, it’s the customer experience which matters the most in today’s retail scenario. Raymond has always been ahead of time in delivering outstanding experience and convenience to its customers.
What is your biggest learning while working with Raymond?
The biggest lesson we have learnt with Raymond is the need to empower and enable front-end sales and managerial staff to continuously enhance customer satisfaction, stay-relevant to the consumer and aggressively grow in a highly competitive environment. We have worked hard to build a customer-oriented front-end sales team through careful selection, constant training, and skills upgradation. Our sales team is crucial for our growth as it is involved in selecting and procuring the range of merchandise at our stores in tune with customer’s fashion preferences for each season.
What’s your advice for people thinking of getting into franchising?
Our advice for them is to first assess if they mutually share a growth-focused, futuristic and sustainable vision with the brand that can be built on a strong bond of trust. Once you partner with the brand, have full trust and work closely with the franchisor.