Suvankar Sen, Executive Director, Senco Gold & Diamonds talks about the successful franchise journey of his brand…
Tell us about your franchising journey.
The franchisee segment of Senco Gold & Diamonds segment has been growing steadily over the years. We have increased the number of franchisee stores to 51 in 2019. In addition to this, our COCO stores have also been given a conscious and dynamic boost and as a result we can now boast of a pan India presence with 54 stores. This year, our focus has been on re-aligning the franchise business by deep diving and improvising the core performing areas to enable it to become a better and successful business model.
What are the nuances that are typical to franchising operations in India?
A franchisee business is equally dependent on external funding from banking and other financial sectors. Presently, this source of funding is not conducive for financing jewellery business operations in spite of offering appropriate collaterals. There is a major reluctance shown by fund managers to finance the jewellery sector. This in turn pre-dominantly affects future business prospects and development. Moreover, with varied socio-economic and cultural differences of every region, the business model has to be customised as per the local need.
Tell us about the key milestones of the brand journey as far as franchising is concerned?
The opening of the 50th store in 2019 was the biggest milestone. Currently out of our 51 franchise showrooms, 48 are FOFO (franchise owned, franchise operated) and 3 are FOCO (franchise owned, company operated). Also, there has been a healthy year on year growth of average 25 percent.
What makes your brand a favorite with franchisee?
Senco brand has been successful and popular due to its integrity, honesty, quality, design, craftsmanship, relationship and customer delight and service. We provide training and support to the franchisees, and also monitor their operating standards. We provide them the latest technological support for inventory management and point of sale tools. Furthermore, every franchisee is a strong member of our brand and we maintain a clear and transparent business relationship. We also implement annual marketing plans of the brand by keeping the benefits of franchisee in mind. Regular open forums and franchisee meets are undertaken for business needs and its enhancement with appropriate rewards and award programs.
What, as a franchisor, do you expect from the franchisees?
Every franchisee has some basic essential expectations. All franchisors need to take care of its timely stock fulfilment, which is very much essential in maximising available sale opportunities. Apart from this, they also want a regular update of all the company policies and operating practices and they want the brand to keep them in loop with all information. Periodic sales and merchandising training is another major essential for the franchisee store staff . Marketing support as per a set calendar plan helps them in optimising their business.