Having survived five years of highs and lows, The Loot has outgrown its small set up phase and building up to be a 600+ Company; No wonder, it has surely created a benchmark for itself in a unique way. Having started with one store, ‘The Loot’ has gone upto having about 150 stores pan India. We decided to catch up with Jay Gupta, MD & CEO, The Loot to understand more about the concept behind the Company and what sets them apart….
Vrinda Oberai (VO): How did you zero in on the idea of EMI scheme that you have recently introduced?
Jay Gupta (JG): Apparel shopping is the utmost need of people during festive seasons, apart from renovation of houses, buying jewelry etc. This leads to increased expenses, hence we have introduced first time in ‘The Loot’. This special scheme of EMI is to help our customers shop without any restriction on their budget. They can choose variety from the floor and take it away by opting for this scheme which will be lighter on their pockets.
VO: What is your business model? Why do you describe it as an ‘unconventional business model’? Who is your target audience?
JG: The Loot is a multi-brand, multi-locational discount chain offering customers a wide range of products including apparel, footwear and accessories for men, women and kids with discounts ranging between 25% and 60 % throughout the year for top national and international brands to meet the aspirations of the common man at an affordable price. We target the youth and young professional as we have extended and have further increased the categories of merchandise. Our target is shifting to the men, ladies and kids categories as also accessories, bed linen etc.
VO: What advice would you like to give for the new entrants who are seeking to explore the industry?
JG: There are a few pointers that the young entrants must keep in mind. I will precisely listed as:
- Identify the goal and pursue until achieved.
- Be an asset for every role or character you play in life.
- Play to win.
- Think big and set examples for others to follow.
- There is no substitute for hard work.
- God lies in details.
- Find solutions rather than multiplying problems.
- Listen to all but do what you feel is correct.
- Add value in whatever you do in life.
- Don’t run away from the problem but face it and solve it.
Lot of hard work and dedication is the mantra to success. Follow your dreams and achieve them while you enjoy doing so. Work hard, very hard and you will see success. Focus and always be positive. I believe "Life is always tough, but one can make it easier by sharing one's dreams and creating co-dreamers to move up on the success path."
It is very important to follow your belief and do the right thing- always.
VO: What are the recent expansion plans that ‘The Loot’ has in store? What is your marketing strategy?
JG: With currently 150 operational stores, we are in the process of launching more 50 more stores in various other cities giving an opportunity for masses to enjoy aspirational brands at discounted prices. We have introduced various brands like Levis, Blackberry, Lerros etc giving the consumers a better variety to choose from.
When we talk about our marketing strategy, The Loot’s creativity also lies in the fact (apart from other things) that we are India’s first company to sign a negative character of Hollywood and Bollywood – Mr Gulshan Grover as its ‘Brand Ambassador’. Gulshan Grover acts like a modern day Robin Hood who loots big brands and passes them to the masses at the lowest rates.
It pioneered in this value format concept and initially when the first Loot store was launched in 2004 people had a completely different perception of the brand as a seconds store or factory outlet. We had to change this image and for this we had to work on a number of factors like the store ambiance, the advertising, promotions, events and in-store communication.
Ambiance plays a pivotal role in the positioning of The Loot store because as soon as one enters he/she will realize the difference between any ordinary factory outlet/ seconds store and The Loot store in terms of the “entire shopping experience”. Today’s customer does not just look for mere shopping but it is an entire process of comfort, friendly sales executives, appropriate lighting, proper stacking of the merchandise, after sales service which leads to ultimate customer satisfaction and loyalty.
VO: Given the kind of competition that exists in the prevalent times, what remains to be your USP?
JG: Well, USPs of The Loot are:
- 365 days discount.
- Minimum 25% off.
- Upto 60% off.
- Guaranteed Price, guaranteed products
- No fakes, no seconds.
- Choice of a number of brands within each category of products.
VO: What is the kind of research involved when you plan your stores/products?
JG: Some of the basic requirements that we look out for are:
- Store Area: Minimum 2500 sq. ft. (carpet), ideally not more than 2 floor plates.
- Location: On main road with potential for good footfalls.
- Investment: Approximately Rs 25 lakhs-Rs 75 lakhs.
- Skills & Experience: We consider our franchisees as our business associates and partners rather than mere investors and thus the selection of the franchisee depends on factors like entrepreneurial spirit, personal involvement in the store, relevant retail experience if any, etc.