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Meena Bazaar: In Tune with Trends & Technology

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Sameer Manglani, COO, discusses the retail presence, marketing and promotional strategies of the brand, and latest ethnicwear trends for the season.

Known for its exclusive and exquisite range of saree,suits, suit pieces, lehnga and kurti, Meena Bazaar endeavours to provide the beautifully design range at the best price. Delhi-based Indian ethnicwear retail brand was founded by Suresh and Vishnu Manglani in 1970 as a small store selling printed saree. Over the years Meena Bazaar has emerged as a leading retail ethnicwear label recognised by Indians globally.

It has retail outlets in major cities of India, and is rapidly opening stores in other cities. The primary focus of the brand was and still is saree. Gradually they added suit to their product category followed by kurti, lehenga and modern gowns and anarkali. Meena Bazaar believes that every woman looks the best in a saree. New design development in saree fuel their other lines especially suit and kurti.

What is the DNA of Meena Bazaar?

The best range. The best price. Meena Bazaar offers the finely crafted and designed Indian ethnicwear range at best price.

What is your retail format?

We have COCO (company owned company operated) stores varying between 800 sq.ft. and 2,000 sq.ft. located at high streets and malls. Our flagship 10,000 sq.ft. store at Karol Bagh is the jewel in the crown.

The brand has diverse range of collections, from saree to suit, anarkali, wedding and designer wear. From where do you source the various collections?

India has a rich and diversified culture across its various regions. We source our products from some of the cultural hubs like Kolkata, Jaipur, Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Benares, Surat, Farukhabad, etc.

Do you also manufacture collections in-house?

We work very closely with our suppliers as a team to create our signature line of collections. This allows us to add a lot of value with customisation.

How do you decide on different collections for the season?

At Meena Bazaar we try to feel the pulse of the market by interacting with our customers. We take their feedback for the current season and suggestions for the upcoming collections. Our suppliers work with us like family, and together we plan and work on the collections. The suppliers are our strength as because of them we can give customers what they want. We thrive on keeping our products current and follow a very quick stock turnover ratio. We have a quick stock turnover ratio of three months. This is the  reason the fresh stock is always our focus. To drive this, our promotional sales always introduce the fresh collection for the season.

Tell us about your latest collections for this season in terms of concept, design, style and colours.

This season the styles are mostly incorporated and influenced by Bollywood and daily soaps. Concepts from designer wear have been incorporated in different ways like long jacket with skirts, evening gowns, floor length anarkali and sharara. This season shades of pink, orange, red, bottle green, mango and maroon are making a strong presence.

The designer wear range represents the latest TV serial looks, including Madhubala, Ek Hasina Thi and more. What inspired you to come up with this exclusive category?

Indian women follow daily soaps and admire their favourite TV characters. The saas-bahu sagas reflect the very persona of the varied cultural Indian families and their lifestyle. Indian women are aspirational and want to look like their favourite celebrities on Indian television. We are the only Indian brand in this category that has roped in the famous TV personalities like Hina Khan, , , Simone Singh and for our collections.

Customer engagement and customer handling ensure quality service standards at a store. How does Meena Bazaar offer better customer experience?

As a family owned business we understand the importance of sentiments attached with the wedding and trousseau shopping. We ask our team members to understand and respect the same. We relate to the emotions that a family goes through while selecting the bride’s lehenga. As a new strategy and keeping in mind the impact of social media we allow our guests to take in-store pictures wearing Meena Bazaar outfits and encourage them to share it with their family and friends.

What are your marketing and promotional strategies to tap the potential customers?

We launch our celebrity collections twice a year which have a high recognition factor. This attracts the customer and they relate to their favourite television stars. Meena Bazaar markets the brand through all the media including electronic, print, outdoor and different social media platforms. We have started doing online promotions on Facebook,  Instagram, Pintrest, Youtube and Google. We engage the customers online as well as in-stores to participate in contests and to provide feedback about the brand on social media platforms. Our budget for marketing is growing with our sales year after year and we leave no stones unturned to make sure that we get the correct positioning for the brand like main front full pages in the leading dailies, premium outdoor sites, etc. Currently, our ad expense for new media is about five percent and it is growing. We have recently  added online social media as a platform and this year our expenditure on online itself is projected at fi ve percent of the overall marketing budget.

Our main focus is traditional print media with an empahsis on premium positions in the leading newspapers. Our database has more than one lakh customers and growing. We send weekly emailers and newsletters informing them about our latest collection and the trend setting fashion.

E-commerce is growing as a powerful tool. How do you plan to optimise this opportunity?

Our clientele base is not limited to India. It is very loyal and is present all over the world. People who have migrated to other countries tend to buy from us whenever they are in India. To service them better we launched our website Meenabazaar. com. It is one of the fi rst in our trade to offer COD (cash on delivery), surprise gifting, made-to-measure and worldwide shipping. We are promoting and investing more on our ecommerce platform. Also, we have a separate team with people master in their fields like social media marketing and in-house graphic designers to handle the portal. But the key element we are focusing now is on adding new variety and products online. How quickly we update stocks in our stores is the way we would ideally want to do it online as well.

Today technology plays pivotal role in business functions. What technologies are you using at Meena Bazaar?

We are one of the fi rst in our category to offer our customers a virtual 360° tour of all our stores on Google. Meena Bazaar has iPads at every single store for the customer to interact with the details of the collections or click themselves and share it on social media. We encourage our team members to use the Google Chrome books which enable the daily tasks to be on the cloud and shared by everyone on the go and the entire team can work together being at different locations. Also, we as a brand enable our sales team to have smartphones through which they can interact with the customer through Whatsapp and provide them the details and pictures of the collection, their made-to measure
status, size and colour modifications if any.

What are your growth and expansion plans for future?

Meena Bazaar has 20 stores across India and we are opening five more by the year end. However, store numbers does not matter, the correct market and great customer  experience is essential. We will also be entering the untapped markets like Mumbai and Pune. Exploring new territories and adding more talent into the organisation is on the list.