We plan to open 300 retail outlets by 2020: Mohamed Sirajuddin Ajmal
We plan to open 300 retail outlets by 2020: Mohamed Sirajuddin Ajmal

Tax burden is the biggest hindrance which makes it difficult to compete with big international brands, even though the government has opened up the economy, it has still not given impetus for indigenous growth,  says Mohamed Sirajuddin Ajmal, Director, Ajmal Group of Companies during a candid chit-chat with Retailer  Media….

Ajmal has been a domestic fragrance player, tell us about the brands journey so far?

The humble story of Ajmal begins with One Man, the Late Haji Ajmal Ali who started out in early 50s in a little village of Alinagar, Hojai district of Assam. A rice farmer by profession, Ajmal made the historical move to Mumbai, trading in the precious Oudh from the Agarwood tree from Assam. After having established himself in Mumbai by early 60s, he began to venture towards the middle-east where there was a great demand for Oudh. The rest as they say is history.Today Ajmal, has 27 exclusive outlets across 18 locations and a distribution network of over 200 stores Pan India. Ajmal Plans to open over 300 retail outlets by 2020.

How have you positioned your brand? What are your plans for the same in near future?

Ajmal is a brand for all, there are products to suit every lifestyle across all demographics. We have a variety of products with fragrances ranging from Oriental/Exotic Concentrates, Oriental Sprays, French Sprays & Cosmetic Products like Talcum Powder, Lotions and Hair Oil.Ajmal in India has an aggressive expansion plan to increase its footprint and open 300 stores by 2020. We are in the process of setting-up a bigger manufacturing plant and increase our product lines.

Who are your target consumers? What are your strategies to retain your loyal consumers?

Discerning consumers who are looking for unique fragrances or something mystic to add to their persona are our target consumers.

We are looking to target the older generation of consumers with classical fragrances and the young with bold & vibrant fragrances.Quality has always been the hallmark which keeps drawing consumers back to Ajmal. We also focus on understanding the market and creating fragrances which keep loyalists coming back. Ajmal will shortly launch a loyalty program in India which will help consumers avail unique offers and previews of our up-coming products.

Indian consumers are price sensitive, so how have you priced your products?

It is a fact that Indian consumers are price sensitive. But India is vibrant and shining, the country has a growing economy which is helping more consumers afford products which were once considered out of their reach.You do find all the international brands in India which means that there is growing consumer confidence. Ajmal will soon launch an exclusive range of products ranging between INR 5000 /- to INR 11000 /- .

What are the challenges in the domestic  perfume industry?

TAX BURDEN is the biggest hindrance which makes it difficult to compete with big international brands, even though the government has opened up the economy, it has still not given impetus for indigenous growth. Price fluctuation and inconsistent quality of raw materials also makes it difficult to offer quality standard products to consumers. India is a huge country and consumers have myriad choices, besides it is difficult to cater to a large country as ours, leading to supply chain and logistics issues.

A thriving Grey Market & pirated/duplicate products are also a big challenge to tackle within industry.

How do you plan to compete with existing domestic and global perfume brands?

Retaining the high Quality which we are known for and continually improving internal processes are key to competing with brands in the domestic market. Our product pricing as against international brands is extremely competitive, which we believe gives us the edge.

It has been observed that the Chinese perfume makers are capturing the affordable perfume segment in India. How do you plan to combat that issue?

While Chinese products are known for their affordability, when it comes to quality, we do not compromise. We study consumer trends and cater to what would be suitable to the Indian market.

Do you have plans to venture online with an exclusive e-shop?

Yes, Ajmal is in the final stages of setting up its exclusive e-commerce portal.

What are your plans for the festive season? What are your expectations from the same?

India is a country of festivals and that is when major revenues come in for all organizations. We too expect that this festive season holds great potential for Brand Ajmal. We have planned an aggressive and focused marketing campaign which will not only augment sales but also create awareness.

What are your views about the perfume industry?

Perfume industry has seen a significant growth of almost 20% and we hope that the industry will go on to be a bigger contributor to the GDP. Talking about Ajmal in particular, we plan to open 300 stores in the next few years, creating over a 1000 jobs within the industry.

What are your expansion plans for this fiscal?

Ajmal has already targeted new markets with 6 outlets this year and we are in the process of opening 4 new outlets by the end of this fiscal year.Ajmal also has plans to make available its mid & low range products for consumers across geographies through a distribution network which will be spread across 200 shops.

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