Landmark Group’s youngest and most trending format – Easybuy – is on a growth spree. With a clear mission to tap opportunities in small towns and metro suburbs, serving the biggest consumer segment of India, the brand started its journey in 2014 with its first store in Karimnagar, Telangana to test the format and received an excellent response.
The actual journey started in 2015 after refining the format based on consumer insights and today within 3 years it’s one of the fastest growing value fashion format in India with 60+ stores pan India. Incidentally, their 60th store which opened recently also earmarked their first store in Eastern India. Easybuy is the new buzz in the market which is revolutionizing the Indian value fashion space in India.
Anand Aiyer, SVP & Business Head – Easybuy (Max Retail Division) says “Our vision is to become the most preferred value fashion destination for the aspirational ‘Navbharat’ families who are seeking ‘super styles at super prices’”.
“We will successfully close this year with a turnover of over Rs 330 crore+ with over 75+ stores and by 2022, we aim to achieve Rs 1000+ crore turnover with over 200+ stores” Aiyer adds.
The Revolutionising Journey
A few years before, Landmark Group sensed an untapped opportunity in emerging India after understanding the specific needs of customers in this segment. The brand’s research showed that while this segment aspires for trendy fashion, their affordability factor is very different from other Tier I segments of the country and the ‘value for money spent’ is of key essence to them. To penetrate into these small towns and satisfy the needs of aspirational Navbharat India, Easybuy was launched in 2014.
“Easybuy was created with a very unique proposition. It is the only ‘compact family format’ in India that offers trendy fashion for the entire family – including footwear and accessories – under one roof, in 5000 sq. ft. of retail space. The prices offered by us are lower by anywhere between 20- 25 percent from nearest competition. So, in a nutshell, our USP is ‘providing intrendstyles at delightful prices with high productivity’” says Aiyer.
The brand’s other USP is to offer custom ranges and store assortments basis regional requirements. Easybuy doesn’t offer one merchandise across the country, but customizes according to the needs of specific regions and markets. The brand offers more than 1000 styles which are relevant and aspirational to Navbharat consumers.
A New Dimension to Franchising
Easybuy has a vision to open one store in every district headquarter in the country. Since India has over 500 district headquarters, this is a huge opportunity which is in front of the brand.
“We are building an FMCG model in fashion, where scale is critical for profitability and hence we need to expand faster. For faster expansion and local understanding, franchising is the best model, and so we chose the franchisee route. Today, we are one of the fastest growing businesses in India,” says Aiyer.
“India is a land of opportunities and the franchising model works best, but one must carefully understand market barriers and challenges to ensure this model is built for profitable growth,” he adds.
Some of the market nuances which Easybuy takes into account are:
- Geographically changing market preferences
- Urban and rural variations
- Lean cost model structures
- Logistics setup
- Merchandise width Pricing
- Local marketing strategies
- The uprising digital journey of consumers
“We consider franchisees as our success partners and hence they play a very critical role in our model. Apart from choosing the right location, we work very closely with franchisees in staffing, recruitment and store operations, apart from leveraging their local knowledge as input into our local marketing plans,” says Aiyer.
“Franchisees bring in a lot of expertise in customer understanding and also enable us to customize merchandise, marketing and promotions for the respective locations and clusters,” he further adds.
Super Style, Super Price
Indian consumers are aspirational but value-conscious at the same time. New-age consumers, especially the youth, are experimenting with their fashion choices. Their wardrobes have expanded to include different choices ranging from occasion wear, casual wear, work wear to athleisure. Shopping for fashion is more frequent than just being occasion/festival-based.
Younger audiences want a wider yet ‘curated’ choice when it comes to fashion, and this is where Easybuy’s proposition of ‘Super Styles at Super Prices’ comes into play.
“About 90 percent of our products, presents over 1000 styles to choose from in the price range of Rs 69 to Rs 699 making them extremely affordable. The Rs 400-500 price band is the most popular among the customers and the average ticket size is Rs 900- Rs 1,000,” Aiyer states.
Easybuy has an extensive product range with more than 1,000 styles. Aside from this, the brand churns out four style seasons in a year.
Easybuy’s proficient in-house design team ensures international trends are picked and then adapted to the market needs. Currently their merchandise portfolio mix is balanced with 40 percent coming from menswear, 30 percent from womenswear, 25 percent from kidswear. The remaining 5 percent comes from footwear and accessories. To cater to this audience, the brand is present both in malls as well as on high streets in equal amounts.
“Predominantly, our choice of location is based on the type of city or town and local shopping preferences and hence our presence is a balanced mix of malls and high-street stores. In terms of preferences, we always opt for malls since impulse buying is higher in malls, while you need to build a brand on a high street,” Aiyer explains.
And the store front is not the only area where Easybuy aims to excel. Two years ago, the brand adopted the Dynamic Automatic Replenishment System for its backend supply chain.
“Everyday orders get generated and products are dispatched automatically replenishing at style, color and size level. Agility in supply chain is critical given our major presence in small towns where logistics lead time is more,” says Aiyer, adding, “We also introduced ‘stylus’ at our stores and this gives us real time data on the availability of stocks, not only in the back room but at a nearby store too to satisfy consumer needs.”
In addition, the brand’s loyalty reward program is unique and differentiated.
“Given that our format is different, we decided not to be part of the group loyalty program, but created our own loyalty program ‘EB Rewards’. We understand our consumer behavior and our consumer insights which enable us to develop promotions that suits our shopper needs,” says Aiyer.
Easybuy operates in a start-up culture and being a unique business format, it is imperative for new employees who come from varied organisational backgrounds to align to the brand’s vision, its key components of work culture thought processes and ways of working.
Easybuy’s training focuses on 5 core aspects that drive business:
- Development of Self
- Customer Service
Class Room Training (CRT) and On-Job Training (OJT) are conducted, with an emphasis on a practical and holistic approach to ensure that the training program is effective and provides clear expectations. It encompasses video-based training, presentations, team building activities, role plays, etc. A refresher training program is planned within three months to further reinforce the learnings of the core aspects. To add as aspiration value to the roles, the training also includes discussions with role models and an orientation on career progression in the organisation. Further objective assessments are done before and after the training program to measure the training effectiveness.
“From its inception, Easybuy has been an organisation that was focused on its people. Easybuy has adopted established HR practices of its parent company, Landmark Group, and adapted them to its fast-paced & agile franchise-based business model. A testimony to the importance that Easybuy places on its people is evident from the fact that every employee – whether in self-owned or franchised stores – is a part of the same engagement program and get the same benefits and HR initiatives.
Landmark Group was also awarded ‘Images Most Admired Retailer of the Year 2018 – Employee Practices’ in recognition to its strong employee practices.
Retail success is about getting and retaining repeat customers. Consistently delivering in-trend merchandise that customers want with a sharp focus on quality and product, great prices and excellence in customer service will ensure loyal consumers and a very positive word-of-mouth, which in turn will bring in new consumers,” Aiyer says.
The brand plans to expand faster in East and North in 2 years apart from strengthening its presence further in South.