Creating a fashion synonym

Every one wants to be trendy, fashionable and in-sync. Catering to the fashion needs of the youth, Globus has scored high as a popular fashion apparel retailer. Mridumesh Rai, Head Customer Experience & Sales (West & Central), Globus shares his vision on
Mridumesh Rai

Every one wants to be trendy, fashionable and in-sync. Catering to the fashion needs of the youth, Globus has scored high as a popular fashion apparel retailer. Mridumesh Rai, Head Customer Experience & Sales (West & Central), Globus shares his vision on what Globus is all about. 

Jasmeet Sahi (JS): Customer is king today. Would you agree?
Mridumesh Rai (MR):
That is an old school of thought. As per my new understanding, the customer is your WIFE. This is an analogy that I use, to train my sales staff. Some of its interpretations are:
She is the most important person in your life
You cannot afford to upset your customer. 
You need to constantly strive to win her over
At anytime if there is an argument, you need to remain polite and first help her cool down. Then only she will appreciate your point of view.
Keeping the wife happy works exactly the same way as you wish to keep your customer happy always.  

JS: Tell us something about your journey in retail so far.
I accidentally got into retail five years ago, and have been enjoying every bit of it. I left my dream job opportunity with Infosys BPO corporate planning for a job in retail with ‘Piramyd’, a relatively unknown company then. But I was betting on the retail sector. In the past five years, I have handled responsibilities in Strategy, Business Development, CRM and Operations. I would like to think that it has helped me understand the supply and demand functions very well. 
On a broader level in the few years that I have been in retailing, I have seen moods change from euphoria to an era of serious introspection. Life for retailers has come full circle, but I feel the tough time was needed to separate the boys from the men. And my experience through all this has left me richer and sound footed.  

JS: What is the USP of Globus? How does the brand seek to capture the interest and loyalty of the customers?
At Globus, we are aiming to provide latest fashion to Indian youth at affordable prices. Our core target group is 18-25 yrs old boys and girls, and we look at 25-35 yrs old men and women as our extended target, since all want to look young. Given their lifestyle and global aspirations, we constantly strive to provide them trends from across the world and since many of them are students, so we keep it affordable. Our offering of trendy yet affordable garments, is something that keeps them coming back to Globus. 
In addition to products, we also compliment it with active service on the floor, through our team of Globus assist. They are trained to understand the customer requirements and make the right suggestions, which is slightly different from self-service approach used by some modern retailers. We proactively seek and act upon customer feedbacks, which helps us remain close to them. 

JS: Does Globus have in-house designers? 
Design is at the heart of any fashion retailer like Globus. To maintain its edge in fashion and style, Globus has a strong team of designers, who are young and trendy and hence in-sync with customer preference. The backbone of retail operation consists of research and design, production and merchandising functions. Globus design team regularly carries out a market research to determine the current developments in the world of fashion. We have also collaborated with the International Agency WGSN for sourcing forecasting inputs.
Globus also has a full-fledged design studio, Globus Design Hub (GDH), to support its new product development process. It is the most well equipped design studio in India with ISO certification for continuous innovation. 

JS: Where all is Globus present? Through which route does Globus expand?
Currently, Globus has 25 stores across 14 cities and towns in India. The details are also available on our website. Since for a fashion retailer like Globus, both store presentation and customer experience are very critical, we only have fully owned and operated stores. Going forward in the near future this will be our preferred route, as we want to establish Globus as a synonym for young and trendy fashion.  

JS: What marketing strategies is Globus adopting to counter competition from other apparel retailers?
Competition is a must. Organised retail in general and fashion retail in particular in India is still at its nascent stages and a concerted effort from all players is required to develop the market and create more awareness. Our focus is always to maintain an edge in fashion and to keep sharpening our offerings. To give just one example, this party season the new hottest trend of the season is “jeggings” (leggings + jeans) and these are already available at Globus stores and not many other retailers have them. In addition to that, we do put a lot of focus on customer service, which is much appreciated by customers, who are looking for tips on while they experiment with fashion. 

JS: How crucial is the customer experience in a retailer’s success rate? Would you agree that at the end of the day it is only about good sales and profits?
For retail success you need a combination of product and service. I read that ‘product gets the customer to your store the first time, but service ensures that he comes back’. 
As you correctly mentioned, at the end of the day it is about the top-line and bottom-line i.e. Sales and Profit, but how do you get it? And for a sustainable business, Customer Engagement is must. Multiple options are vying for the customer’s share of mind and wallet and only Customer Engagement will create a bond between customer and retailer and keep them coming back to you.  

JS: What was the reason behind choosing Kareena Kapoor as the brand ambassador for Globus?
Given our positioning of young and trendy fashion and rapid expansion, we needed a well recognised face that represents brand’s attributes. Kareena Kapoor, the bollywood actress is seen by the Indian youth as a fashion icon that made her the ideal brand ambassador for Globus. In new markets an ambassador helps in establishing brand identity much quickly.  

JS: Lastly, what is in the pipeline? Any future plans you would like to share with us?
At Globus, we realise the potential for fashion retail in India is immense, one just needs to create right platform. We at Globus have got a business model running successfully in premium location in Delhi, and Mumbai as well as tier II towns like Aurangabad, Raipur and Moradabad etc. This gives us a much larger footprint to look at as the scope for growth is immense. At the same time, profitability is of paramount importance for us. In 2009 we opened four new Globus stores at Mumbai, Rajkot and Ahmedabad. You will soon see new Globus stores at Nagpur and Hyderabad and many more to come.

Mridumesh Rai, Head Customer Experience & Sales ( West & Central)