How big is the market for riding gear and accessories in India?
The concept of riding-gear outlets, which is quite common in the Western countries, is comparatively new in India. However, the increasing popularity of biking and super-bikes with Indian consumers is making our country an emerging market for riding gear. The combined Indian market for helmets and riding accessories is estimated at Rs 550 crore currently, out of which Rs 500 crore is accounted for by helmets alone.
What are the factors propelling the industry’s growth?
The lifestyle motorcycle segment is booming in India. It’s not just bikes that are being touted as lifestyle statements, but also the accompanying accessories. Automobile industry is also growing day by day to fulfill the requirements as today’s generation is more passionate about riding fast bikes. The Indian youth loves adventure and riding for fun and they like wearing trendy helmets and accessories. Recreational driving is rising in cities like Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, and Chandigarh.
Please tell us about some of the trends you have been witnessing in india over the past few years.
People have become more style conscious. Earlier bikes were used as a mode of transportation but nowadays it’s more about
passion. With the entry of big players in India like Harley-Davidson, Suzuki, Yamaha and Honda, many people are becoming crazy
for these bikes.
What is the rationale behind opening the “Riderz’s Shop”? What objectives are you trying to achieve through this?
Our objective is to provide the best quality riding gear with a huge range of products at the doorstep of the consumer. Although Steelbird has significant presence in MBOs with a widespread distribution network, we realised there is a need to enter the direct marketing retail model, as the retailer sitting in an MBO is a quick seller and he would not be able to spend quality time with customers, giving information about our products in the way we desire. Our idea is to put an array of products in the stores and let the consumer experience and know about the innovative range.
While motorcycles account for a huge share of the Indian two-wheeler market, riders hardly have any choice if they wish to buy authentic, branded and international-quality riding gear. The Riderz Shop will certainly bridge this gap and educate people to go
for qualitative products that offer safety and style.
What is Riderz Shop’s marketing positioning? What kind of people frequent your stores and of which age group?
Riderz Shop is a trendy outlet, so all the youngsters frequent our store. The age group would be between 19 and 35 years.
Please provide us the details about brands and product range available at your stores.
We are selling an exclusive range of helmets, pannier boxes, gloves, shoes, jackets, goggles and other allied products. Helmets and kneecaps are being sold under the Steelbird brand, while jackets, raincoats and lowers are of Anoka brand. Besides this, other accessories will be imported from other international brands. We shall keep introducing new and hi-tech biking gear from time to time in these shops.
What is the price range for products at your stores? What are your best-selling items?
The range of products starts from Rs 770 and goes on to Rs 12,999. Helmets are the most popular item amongst them, as we are specialised in manufacturing them.
What is the location strategy for your stores- Malls or High Street?
Our target locations are all high streets with high footfalls.
What is the average store size? How much investment hoes into setting up each stores?
The average store size is 350–500 sq.ft. The investment per store would be around Rs 7–10 lakh.
Please throw some light on your expansion plans. What kind of franchisees are you looking for expansion?
Steelbird is planning to open 200 shops India-wide in a short span of 1 year, hence franchising seems to be a fast and workable solution for expansion. This is a specialised business and people who are already in automobile segment are the most appropriate franchisees for us. The company also plans to set up 8–10 dealerships in New Delhi in the next couple of months.
Our target markets are all metros and tier 1 cities where biking is a passion, more than commuting. We are targeting cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Indore, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata.
What kind of a Tie-Up have you done with the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL)?
We have formulated a strategic tie-up with IOCL to sell our helmets at some selective Indian Oil petrol pumps. The wide network of IOCL will help Steelbird make its products available at every nook and corner of the country. We have currently agreed to sell through 1,200 such outlets of IOCL across the country.
Please provide details about how your stores are manned and how many employees are there in each. also, how do you ensure their training and development?
We are giving special training to our staff for customer satisfaction. Each shop will be manned by two to three experts, who can give entire information about the products.
What kind of future do you foresee for riding-gear accessories stores in India?
Opening a riding gear accessories shop is a good idea in the country as it can serve as a gateway to having a stable and profitable kind of business. Today, the majority of the population in India owns a stylish bike. People are so fascinated with them that they accessorise them to make their bikes look good. The thing you as a retailer need to know is what kind of accessories people are looking for. There are endless possibilities when it comes to these.