In the era of digitization, where shopping is made convenient with just a click of a button, there are numerous opportunities lying for budding entrepreneurs. Thus, starting a new business in the cluttered online market can be mind boggling many times. Below are few actionable steps to be followed for starting an online business.
Choose your business
One should carefully decide on the business product he/she wants to sell online. And to arrive on to this, one should ask him/herself questions like- Am I willing to do this business every day for years? Will I be able to sell the same product every day? What do I like and passionate about? What are the things that are both profitable and at the same time I find enjoyable?
Pick your market
Picking up the right marketplace basis the nature of your product is yet another important factor. Check the existing market for the product and do a thorough competition analysis. A deep research on understanding your consumers is also on the key list.
At the same time, understanding the market policies and documentation for sellers is a mandate. For instance, the essential documents required for registration on marketplaces include- Vat/Tin certificate, bank a/c details, ID proof and address proof.
Decide on the name
Create a name that is catchy, easy to remember and has a strong brand recall. The name will put every element of your business in a nutshell.
Since customers will be taking leap of faith when buying online, make sure that the product is clearly described from a consumer point of view. Thus, product description should be detailed and accurate.
It is always advisable to get inventory management software at the start of the business. Since you are new to the online business environment, you might want to focus on other areas other than stock management. Thus, the software unburdensyou from the questions like- selling period of products, best time to restock your products, etc.
Also with passing time, your business stock will get larger and diverse. Inventory management software will make it easy for you to add products and compare sales data from the start of your business to the present.
Focus on product photography
Photography is another important aspect that needs to be taken care of while selling products online. They say an image is worth a thousand words, which is true in case of online business, where a buyer buys basis the image of the product. Effective product images definitely strikes a chord with the desired consumers and leaves a long lasting impression about your brand. We suggest this is delegated to a professional product photographer. Each product photograph to include physical description.
Post giving a name to your business, the first thing to be done is toregister your business. It is suggested to get your business registered by following the set legal process. By doing this, you are reserving your business name.
Procure business license
Next step in the setting up of the online business is registering for business license. Now this necessarily may or may not be needed when you first get started, but it is always good to have down the line. Also, it’s suggested to check on the procedure of starting an online business in your state or county.
Post undertaking the above mentioned steps, you are set to kick start your venture. Learn to adapt to the dynamic business environment and accept all your failures to a learning experience. Remember, successful people never give up.
Devise market strategy
Once the online business takes off, one needs to start thinking of marketing the product well at the marketplace. Out of all, ads and online promotions yields better results than offline for a brand. A close attention to things like- how the marketplace’s search engines work, how product ratings affect your sales, how does your seller account health help you, your competitors etc. will certainly help you in devising an effective market strategies to maximize your sales.
This article has been authored by Dipti Singla, Co-Founder, BluBox.in
Reliance Fresh, one of the successful sister ventures of Reliance Industries, which has not left any stone unturned in bringing one of the best retail brands.
The brand has successfully established itself as name, everyone businessman aspires to become.
Reliance Retail to expand its business-to-business play by foraying into the distribution of apparel, FMCG, and white goods directly to neighborhood and Kirana outlets since it wants to tap a larger pie of the market considering the scope of exponential growth in organized retail, currently limited to 8% of the total market.
For those who want to come under the huge umbrella network of the company, can get franchising offered by Reliance Fresh, here are some of the basic steps to get the Reliance Fresh Franchise:
As soon as you plan to take up franchising from Reliance Fresh, do a thorough market research to know if they are open to franchising, if yes then go to the parent company or try reaching out to them to know the procedure.
Prior to getting in touch with the parent company, try to reach out to the other franchisees, near your town, to know how they are performing and what the profit rate of their franchisee is. Also gather a rough idea about the investments required, choosing a location and other basic requirements, before visiting the parent company.
Once you get the basic idea to set a franchisee store, evaluate yourself on the basis of the report. Question yourself whether you are ready to commit that amount of money, time, dedication and hard work in shouldering the brand’s value and reach.
When a brand gives you an authority to start a business under its name, it ultimately shed some responsibility, which is why self-evaluation is important as your work is directly or indirectly going to benefit or harm the company’s reputation.
After self-evaluation, you are confident enough to take care of the company’s expectations and your own. Investment plays a vital role in any business, which is why it is very important to secure enough investment to fulfill all the basic needs. It is a good thing to have more than enough than having less than the calculated amount.
Look out for investors, who would agree to invest in your business plan, or else there are banks who offer loans after they get convinced by your business plan and by verifying your legal documents.
Investors and banks will only agree to pay their hard earned money, only if they verify your legal documents. So getting all the required documents is a must. Get the details of documents that are needed from other franchisees, then start applying for them because getting the license consumes a lot of time.
Once you get the legal formalities done, go to the parent company and get all the agreements and deals signed then approach the investors or bank for loan approvals and start working on the Reliance Fresh retail store.
Once the deal is done, agreements are signed, time to focus on the helping hands. Try and hire people, who are experienced, trained and have a good professional record. These will help in training the junior level workers and supervise to keep the business’s flow smooth.
You cannot keep an eye on every individual working in the store, which is why plant security cameras and the experienced seniors can handle them. In retail stores there have been many technical works goes in, which is why it is important to give proper training to the junior or fresher.
A far as the financial details required for setting up franchising unit is concerned, one can reach out to us by commenting on the post.
Eastern India is the new hub of business and expansion and as debatable as it might sound there are several factors that substantiate this. Eastern India which was considered for a long time as a market averse towards business and industrial growth has come up with possibilities of investment and growth of business.
As the trend has been until a few years back, investment in business was always confined to the developed states and cities due to the smaller amounts of profits and huge investments in Eastern India had prospective investors face away from the Eastern parts of the country. With the eventual changing face of the market and realization that the market of eastern India with its recent growth is maiden and has the potential to be tapped to the fullest of profit has moved retailers and businesses to expand through franchising.
Some of the major pull factors that have kept Eastern India from being explored and invested on can be traced back to hostile political situations, lack of infrastructure, access and connectivity, general lagging in terms of technological advancements, lack of research and development and also the conservative attitudes of customers towards experimentation. But the recent development has ensured that east India’s full potential is tried up to its highest limits with Kolkata as the major gateway to all the major cities and also the hub of all major regional, national and international brands.
Eastern India is a market where cultural diversities form a prime factor which has to be considered while expanding or setting business and it is essential that brands and businesses understand and cater to the ethnic needs of local people. Suvankar Sen of major Kolkata based jewellery brand said that, “It is the market that gives respect to value for money. It gives value to relationship. That is the driving force”. He further explained that eastern Indian market was the last to attain growth by adopting new practices and keeping up with the changing trends. The market has immense potential of growth in terms of water, food and manpower.
According to Arun Biyani, MD, Mobel India, eastern market has developed at a healthy pace over time. Unlike other parts of the country where there is a sporadic growth in business leading to a higher risk, the growth in eastern market has been steady.
Mr Biyani explained that the current driving forces in franchising in eastern India is the development of smaller cities and town. These markets are still virgin and they last on the list of organised retailers. The local entrepreneurs are seeking to encash the opportunity to introduce quality products to the customers of eastern India. “The combination of the strength of the companies which understands the needs of the eastern consumers and local entrepreneurs are the driving forces behind franchising in eastern India” said Mr Biyani.
Dos and Don’ts
Mr Sen said that it is important to think about the franchiser who is investing on the brand. His return on investment on one brand is most important. He added, “Do not just think about yourself”.
Mr Biyani explained, it is very important to explain the pros and cons of the business before signing a franchisee agreement. It is important that the franchise partners are treated the same way as family members and they get the same experience as consumers would and they must always be informed. He said, “Don’t compromise on the customer experience” and added if things don’t go well one should never blame the franchisors and should devise a strategy to help the business back on track.
Plans and ideas
Mr Suvankar Sen said, “we would like to grow at 20% rate by opening more stores and franchises in various cities and towns of India”. At present Senco has 85 stores with 40 franchises mostly in eastern India. “we are the most respectable jewellery brand in eastern India and we hope to expand through franchise model And earn respectable partners” said Sen.
Mr Biyani said on the same line, “we have currently 26 stores and hope to make them 40 by next year, up to 100 in the next three years and 300 in the coming six years”. He revealed his plans to earn a 50% growth each year for the brand. He also revealed his brand’s current model and that they have gained access to the market through outdoor advertising solutions, leaflet distributions, billboard solutions advertising through campaigns in cinema halls and various other methods. The brand provides an unparallel coverage in all directions.
Talking to these regional brands who have gained access to a pan Indian market showed that franchising is a much viable option for growth of business as it ensures quality service and products to customers while spreading among more and more cities.
Les Petits, one of India's multi brand luxury store for kids' apparel, accessories and furniture, has launched its second store at Palladium, Mumbai.
Eminent brands such as Fendi Kids, Mayoral, Young Versace, Paul Smith Junior and Kissy Kissy for children in the age group of 0 – 10 years are made available by the company under one roof.
It has given a child-centric essence to the store, to offer its customer a delightful experience. Designed for the little guests, the ‘fairy tale’ decor adds to the magical and fun-filled experience.
Les Petits claims to be known as a company, which spoils the parents of the little ones with umpteen luxurious choices.
One could choose from a fine collection of formal and party dresses, beautiful lacy, pastel coloured tops, trendy pants and premium shoes.
Accessories like fancy hats, handbags and belts make Les Petits a preferred shopping destination for the urban Indian consumer.
Helios, a premium watch retailer from the mother company Titan, has reportedly partnered with Raymond Weil, a renowned Swiss watch making company. Raymond Weil made its entry in India around 30 years back and is known for have broken tie-ups with 12 retailers.
Helios already has 48 stores spread across the country and has tie-ups with 25 international watch brands.
And as reported bt ET, this luxury watch brand will be exclusively retailed in India through Helios and Ethos stores.
Ravi Kant, CEO of watches and accessories at Titan Company Limited said that the contribution of the swiss brand with Titan is only 25-30 percent.
He expects the sales of the luxury brands to double over the next three to four years.
Olivier Bernheim, President, Raymond Weil said that to provide best service to the customers and to have quality distribution network are the only reasons, due to which he has partnered with Helios.
KSS revealed that the Birla Jewels has recently inaugurated the opening of a new retail store at Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh.
Birla Jewels, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of KSS, inaugurated the store on 23 October, 2016.
The store is said to provide service as a jewellery retail outlet through franchisees to run it successfully under the banner of 'BJewelz', as the brand is owned by Birla Jewels.
Keeping Diwali and Dhanteras in mind, it has hit the bull’s eye by opening the store now.
Currently it is focusing on the launch of 'BJewelz' retail outlet through franchisee model and then it is planning to open around 500 retail stores across the country.
Arvind Ltd, a textile firm has split its brand to sell 10 percent of its stake in a new entity.
The source revealed that the firm has split its brands and retail division into separate company to sell its 10 percent stake in Multiples Alternate Asset Management for 740 crore INR.
Led by former ICICI banker Renuka Ramnath, Multiples is a private equity firm.
The new firm is said to house more than 24 in-house and global franchisee brands with an enterprise value of around 8,000 crore INR. The in-house and global franchisee includes GAP and US Polo along with joint ventures with Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.
In 2005-06, Arvind retail business was just 7% of Arvind Ltd's annual revenue. Now, the segment accounts for over 30% or Rs 2, 500 of the traditional textile firm's overall revenues.
Toonz Retail India Pvt. Ltd., one-stop shop for all needs and occasions of kids aged 0-12 years, gifted clothes to kids from NGO Smile Foundation for a "meet & greet" with Michelin starred Chef Vikas Khanna.
Kids of 6-12 years of age looked stylish in Toonz brand "SuperYoung" fashion forward collection. The evening had a fun and playful vibe as kids met the internationally acclaimed Chef Vikas Khanna in Toonz clothes.
Sharad Venkta, CEO and MD, Toonz Retail India Pvt Ltd., said, "It feels really nice to see these little kids in Toonz clothes looking so lovely. We are happy to associate with NGO Smile Foundation and make them look stylish as they meet Chef Vikas Khanna. Nothing beats the joy of gifting kids and bringing a smile on their face."
Given the increasing number of air passengers every year in India and a crunch for quality retail space being faced by many foreign and domestic retailers across metros, airports are emerging as the next battleground for retailers. Following in the footsteps of major transit points globally, both the Delhi and Mumbai airports now offer a good tenant mix and demand for retail space is expected to rise at other busy airports too.
The current retail-tenant profile at Indian airports includes brands ranging from apparel to wellness, convenience, travel and books, electronics, fashion accessories, opticals/ sunglasses, watches, jewellery, F&B, perfumes and cosmetics, wine and liquor as also travel accessories. More brands belonging to categories such as fashion accessories, F&B, opticals/ sunglasses plan to expand by opening stores in airports too.
The average store size varies according to the retail category. So while apparel stores can have a store size ranging anywhere between 500 square feet and 5000 square feet, bookstores have an average store size of 200-300 square feet. F&B store sizes are generally smaller as common sitting areas are provided by the airports. In case the F&B store is not in a food court or has limited store formats, it may have a sitting area within the store or if in the food court, reserved exclusively for its patrons.
India versus international transit airports
Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) surpassed the 48 million passenger mark in FY2015-16, witnessing a growth of 18 per cent in traffic over the previous year. Also, Indian airports are witnessing tremendous commercial transformation through public-private partnerships, which is resulting in the development of such dedicated retailing areas.
Retail developments such as Worldmark at Aerocity (near Delhi airport) are good examples of the potential for branded retail to come up around these facilities. It would be interesting to see if some other airports see similar developments in the future, especially the upcoming international airport near Mumbai.
The major brands operational at airports currently include: Marks & Spencer, Shoppers Stop, Mango, Superdry, Lacoste, Armani Jeans, FabIndia, Tommy Hilfiger, United Colors of Benetton, W, Zodiac, Madame, Victoria’s Secret, in fashion and apparel; Da Milano, Hidesign, Ethos, Hugo Boss, Metro Shoes, Basecamp, Samsonite, Fossil, Tresmode in fashion and travel accessories; Swarovski, Tanishq in jewellery; Croma Zip, Samsung in electronics; Sunglass Hut in opticals; The Body Shop, Forest Essentials, Parcos in cosmetics; Theobroma, Starbucks, Costa Coffee, McDonalds, Burger King, Punjab Grill, Café Delhi Heights, The Beer Café, Dominos, Haagen Dazs, KFC, Mad Over Donuts, Pizza Hut, Subway in F&B.
Very high returns for some brands from their airport stores explain why this format is turning so lucrative and in turn, helping transform airport terminals in major metros to retail hubs. Interestingly, the product assortment offered by both international and domestic brands at their airport shops could differ from their other stores and requires research on an ongoing basis as the merchandise mix and type of offers here are geared towards travellers and not shoppers. The primary motive of travellers is flying to their destination and not shopping.
However, thanks to the increase in passenger traffic, it is expected that retail sales would also increase at airports in the future. The retailers need to get their product mix right and airports need to understand the dynamics of maintaining a good tenant mix. If this happens, the future for airport retailing in India looks very promising.
This article is authored by Pankaj Renjhen, Managing Director – Retail Services, JLL India
Retail conglomerate Arvind is in advanced talks to acquire Sequoia Capital-backed T-shirt portal Freecultr. According to reports, Freecultr will be acquired by Arvind Internet - the online arm of retail conglomerate that is spearheaded by Kulin Lalbhai, son of Chairman Sanjay Lalbhai.
While the officials of Arvind are tightlipped over the development, Sandeep Singh, cofounder of Freecultr, called it ‘speculative’.
Started as an online fashion brand in 2011, Freecultr has of late launched a new digital crowdsourcing platform, Freecultr Express that allows anyone to create and sell T-shirts through their tee-stores on the company's sites without any investments in inventory, operations or logistics.
Moreover, the eCommerce player has acquired licensing rights of Disney, Marvel, Yash Raj Films to produce licensed merchandise of properties such as Mickey, Avengers, Star Wars etc.
This format is based on commission sharing on sales. According to the online portal, more than 5,500 individuals have used the platform to create more than 24,000 designs.
The portal also operates nine brick-and-mortar stores, including ones in NCR, Mumbai, Dehradun, Lucknow and Bengaluru. In 2011, Freecultr raised $4 million from Sequoia. In the following year, it got another $9 million from Sequoia and Moscow-based venture firm Ru-net.
Lately Freecultr has been in the market to raise funds, but without any success amid funding drying up and this prompted the company to initiate talks to sell to Arvind.
If the deal goes through, Arvind will become the latest among a host of offline retailers including the Future Group and Mahindra Group to acquire struggling online players.
Arvind has many brands of its own, such as Flying Machine and Excalibur, and also sells global labels including Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, US Polo Association, Gant, The Children's Place and Aeropostale.
As per Peyush Bansal, CEO, Lenskart, the company plans to expand by opening 1,000 brick-and mortar shops through the franchise model. These shops, which will also enable delivery, service and return of products ordered online, will allow the company to expand quickly, while remaining asset light.
According to Bansal, the eyewear category is highly fragmented and dominated by small neighbor-hood stores. The online retailer ships close to 1,20,000 orders a month, that is too high compared to the competitors.
The Titan Company, which also sells eyewear, watch and jewellery outlets had 1,266 stores at the end of December. Reliance Retail operates India's largest chain, with more than 3,000 stores in 371 cities. Lenskart, based in Faridabad, already operates 150 stores. Presently a majority of its business comes from its mobile apps and stores, unlike last year when all orders were placed online through desktops.
The company aims to open another 150 outlets in the coming months and hopes to reach the 1,000 mark very quickly. Apart from catering to demand from offline customers, the partner network of franchise stores would offer supplementary services for online consumers.
Bansal said that the same partner network allows for many things. It services the online orders via home delivery, takes care of the logistics and payments and provides home service. He added that the company won't have to spend on setting up the stores and these shops in turn would help expand business.
Lenskart has about 170 employees on ground in seven cities who conduct about 1,000 eye exams at home every day. Bansal said that they hope to expand to 55 to 60 cities in the next six months.
The firm received funding of about $22 million in a Series-C round led by private equity firm TPG Capital, Hong Kong-based TR Capital and existing investor IDG Ventures earlier this year. Lenskart is already clocking a revenue "run rate" of Rs 300 crore and hopes to reach the Rs 2,500 crore mark in the next four years. Although it is well funded, it could do with more funding to invest in its backend infrastructure and its manufacturing capacity.
One of India’s largest MNC food and beverage businesses, PepsiCo along with the leaders of franchising business in the country, Franchise India is all set to institute the first ever leadership forum on franchising called “World Franchise Congress 2015”. This leadership convection will take place on November 4, 2015 at Hotel Pullman, New Delhi.
The convention will help boost the growth of franchise landscape in the country. Headed by D Shivakumar, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo India, the conference will shed light on the current happenings and future runway of franchise trends on businesses, investors, financial institutions, technology, government’s entrepreneurial drive and of course on society.
Speaking on the launch of World Franchise Congress, Samudra Bhattacharya, VP and GM - India Franchise Commercial Unit, PepsiCo Indiasaid, “In the last two decades, our Franchise partners have played a critical role in the growth of the company. They bring with them the much required investment and execution capability to ensure we win in the marketplace. Our association with Franchise India is aimed at building greater awareness of, and appreciation for, this very critical business model. We are positive that this platform will benefit the franchise vertical immensely as it will give the business the focus it deserves and further amplify franchise management capabilities in India.”
Commenting on the same Gaurav Marya, Chairman, Franchise India expressed, “Distinction between small & big growth, between thinking local, regional, national, and global in franchising lies in seeing things on a bigger canvas. Indian Business scene is at juncture where Growth is the foundation of every business. Franchise Brands in India is ready for an exponential growth like the western market counterparts and World Franchise Congress 2015 has been initiated to fuel the growth of franchise Industry”.
The leadership convention onboard over 30 thought leaders, investors and industry forecasters who will connect with more than 250 franchisors, master franchises, large retailers, entrepreneurs, channel partners, and CXO’s of consumer & service brands through keynotes, panel discussions, master classes, and networking.Some of the eminent speakers includeMr. Andy Williams, President - Global Franchise, PepsiCo, Mr. Rod Young, Chairman, DC strategy, Australia; Mr. Ravi Jaipuria, Founder Chairman, RJ Corp; Mr. Shailesh Chaturvedi, CEO & MD, Tommy Hilfiger India, Mr. Vasanth Kumar, Executive Director, Max Retail , Mr. OP Manchanda, CEO, Lal Path Labs, Mr. K B Kachru, Chairman – South Asia, CarlosonRezidor Group, Mr. Alok Gupta, Chief Architect & CEO, Essar Retail, Mr. Sandeep Kulhalli, Senior Vice President - Retail & Marketing, Titan, Mr. Gaurav Mahajan, President, Raymond Group, Mr. Anuj Jain, CEO, JSL Lifestyle Limited and others.
Following the convention, World Franchise Congress 2015 will present country's most prestigious awards in the arena of Franchise Leadership. The awards aim to recognize and felicitate achievers, innovators, smartest futurists and franchise leaders from all over the world, who have contributed significantly towards the development of current and franchise future trends in business, government and technology and society. Awards process advisor is EY.