How start-up merchandise companies are driving more sales?

Companies such as Campus Sutra, Alcis Sports, The Souled Store are craving their niches in offering official merchandise with seasonal touch at decent price points.
How star-up merchandise companies are driving more sales?

Effective merchandising strategy is a quite essential part for the natural growth of any retailer and manufacture. In a recent past, there are few start-ups such as Campus Sutra, Alcis Sports, The Souled Store amongst others which have done wonderful job in driving more consumption and sales by bringing innovation in their product strategy. Most of these companies are online brands selling quirky merchandise, and they are gaining popularity with each passing day. Let’s find out how…

Driving on Quirkiness and affordability

Though we have many conventional fashion and lifestyle brands which offer wholesome range of merchandise but there is a discerning section of consumers who look for different set of merchandise which could be ‘self expression T-shirts’, ‘quirky pop culture merchandise’ , ‘ sports merchandise’ etc., that too with affordable pricing. There are many start-up ventures which are craving their niches in offering official merchandise with seasonal touch at decent price points.

 For example, Roshan Baid, Managing Director of Alcis Sports said, “There are more and more Indians are getting health and fitness conscious. But the availability of products catering to this segment is only at the extreme ends of the spectrum - either expensive and high on quality or affordable but low on quality. We wanted to hit that sweet spot between quality and affordability. Our products bring consumers technologically advanced products backed by innovation.” 

Alcis Sports which is official partner for FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) for Manufacturing, Sales and Distribution of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Licensed Apparel Merchandise for India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan. Today, the company retails over 30000 items every month through various channels of sales, and its licensed apparel merchandise for the World Cup starts at Rs. 399 and comprises of apparel categories such as T-Shirts, Polo T-shirts, Shorts, Track pants, Tracksuits, Hoodies, Jackets, Sweatshirts, Jerseys and Caps. This comprehensive range consists of over 550 unique articles.

Alcis is not the one there are many…

What is their Merchandising Strategy?

Like, it has been said, ‘One size does not fit all’ very true! Merchandising strategies can be varied as per the categories and segments depending upon overall objective of the brand. Effective distribution is yet another very important part of overall merchandising strategy. Speaking on same, Aditya Agarwal, Co-founder, Campus Sutra said, “Merchandising for us is a very method of connecting with youth culture. We make merchandise relevant to Youth.” More than 70% brand’s TG is college going younger audience.

Time and again the company comes up with various product lines which drive a lot of traction for the brand. Citing the example of ‘stream based line’ Aditya informed,” Stream is an education based merchandise line where we introduced T-shirts engraved with convention educational subjects which is beyond IIT and IIM. Earlier there was a trend of IIT and IIM T-shirts, but frankly there is a very small percentage that goes to such institutions, but what about others? We saw a huge opportunity to cash in on.”  Still, stream based line’ generates huge traction for the brand.

Likewise, Campus Sutra introduced “dare to be different’ line which included T-shirts and hoodies based on arts and humanities related subjects. So far the brand has retailed over 20,000 pieces and there ever growing demand for such merchandise across the sale channels.

The company also deals in season based merchandising, the company has just entered into a partnership with Kolkata Knight Riders, now sees sales picking up for KKR t-shirts. However,  the overall sales of such merchandise depends upon the performance of the team , so there is always huge risk involved, also demand does not  remain same throughout the year. However, such merchandise is an excellent opportunity for brand visibility.

“For healthy inventory, we manufacture a very small quantity of merchandise at the begging of the event and then as per the trends we double down the numbers of best performing team/player.”Last year, company did Football world cup line called “shoot for goal” and sold over 10,000 pieces during the season.

So far, apart from its web store Campus Sutra is retailed via over 11 points of sales including three exclusive stores and eight shop-in-shops and the company plans to increase this number till 50 over next two quarters. The company has clocked the revenue of 120 cr in the last quarter (which was mainly drived from the online channel) and the company is looking to register 60% growth on same. This boot strap also plans to raise 10 million via equity investments.

Speaking on same, Baid informed, “Our merchandising strategy is to catch the attention of consumers and make them aware of our products as much as possible.  In terms of distribution, it depends on the sport or the event. For example, for the FIFA World Cup we are heavily focusing on the pockets in India that has the maximum following for football – regions like West Bengal, Kerala, Goa, the North East. We have also partnered exclusively with Flipkart for the online sales of the World Cup merchandise.”

Today Alcis products are available in over 700 retail shops across India and the company plans take this up to 1200 by the end of this year. The company will soon launch its kids’s range.

No doubt, there is an underline opportunity for quirky stuff also the market is maturing for licensed merchandise; still there is a long way to go. The key to success is innovation..




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