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    Affordability in Every Step

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    Khadim has been synonymous with providing the nation with affordable footwear that is high on style. Over the years the brand has not only gained a steady following but has changed its course of action too to bring in new strategies for growth. 

    Khadim was established on December 3, 1981, as S.N. Footwear Industries Private Limited, a private limited Company under the Companies Act, 1956, with the Registrar of Companies. Over the next many years, the company was involved in the whole-selling and distribution of branded basic utility footwear. From 1993, with its foray into retailing, Khadim emerged as a popular fashion footwear brand. Today, the brand has grown to 799 branded exclusive retail stores across 23 states and 1 Union Territory nationally.

    The company operates through two distinct business verticals, Retail, and Distribution, each with its predominantly own customer base, sale channels, and product range. They have established their growth and success in these two segments, serving customers’ need for affordable and quality footwear. Today Khadim is one of India’s largest branded footwear retail players in terms of exclusive stores operating under the brand’s umbrella through their retail vertical. They have the largest presence in East India and are among the top three players in South India. Their distribution business vertical has a strong network of 544 distributors.

    The brand understands the expectations of a ‘price conscious’ customer and works to deliver value to the expanding middle-class segment in India. They are known to offer quality footwear that is affordable for the entire family. The core business objective is‘ Fashion for Everyone’, and the brand believes that the company has over the years been able to create a well-established identity as an‘ affordable fashion’ brand, catering to the entire family for all occasions.

    In conversation with Namrata A Chotrani, CEO, Khadim India Ltd to understand the brand’s walk ahead and how it is changing its course of action to stay closer to its customer base in every step.

    Overcoming COVID with Ease

    The last 2 years have beena very big learning forall brands, including Khadim. All aspects of the business have been affected by the pandemic.Amidst everything, the value proposition for the product and tweaking product offering tosuit the needs of the majority has emerged as the biggest game-changer for most brands andthe same remains a big factor for Khadim too.

    Another big point here is that the pandemic hasrapidly increased digital adoption by consumersbecausepeople started appreciating theconvenience and turning to digital payments. So,there is acceptability and increased adoption,but at the same time Namrata hints thatpost-pandemic the movement of people intothe stores has increased and they are readyto experience offline retail and embracethat wholeheartedly. “In the pre-lockdown itself we have started doing a lot of work toreinvent ourselves, which continued post-lockdown as well and we have developed aninternal vision to be the largest and the mostsuccessful footwear affordable footwearfashion brand in this country.

    In order toachieve this, we had adopted a 7P model,for both our businesses, which is retail anddistribution,” Namrata mentions.

    Below is the 7P strategy adopted by the brand in a nutshell:

    • The 􀏐irst of the seven P’s is product offering. The brand is currently working towards positioning themselves as an affordable fashion brand in this country. They are aiming to make the merchandise much younger, fashionable, and trendy which applies to the mother brand and the sub-brands across both the businesses. The idea around the sub-brands is to provide a wider variety for various end-users and also achieve premiumization within the spectrum of affordable fashion.

    • Second P is people. In order to execute this vision for the organisation, the team is working towards hiring the right people and heavily investing in the right people across various functions, which is sales, merchandise, supply chain, marketing and production. From grooming people within the system to take up larger roles to offering an incentive-based growth plan, the company is making this vision work.

    • The third P is partners. The brand calls this ecosystem the Khadim parivar. Through emotions the brand work towards creating solidarity in terms of relationship and trust. The team is working hard to improve the relationship and also ensure that the partners are happy and make it a win-win situation for all of them. The intent is to always create sustainable long term partnerships which are mutually beneficial.

    • The next P is policy. An organisation with strong SOPs and the systems are reflection of a strong backbone and the brand firmly believes in this idea.

    • Next P is Process. The brand has aggressively started using a data driven approach for most decisions taken across various functions and introduced a stock management system called Theory of Constraints by which they have improved the stock efficiency, which has improved the entire working capital in the retail and distribution business.

    • The next P is promotion given that the brand is making changes to the product range and overall offering it needs to communicate this change effectively to their existing and potentially new customers. So with the Internet penetration that is 700 million as per smartphone but an additional 550 million social media users, it is becoming more and more significant. Thus, the brand has taken a conscious decision to increase investments through this platform and has introduced various brand rooms for festive influences, lead campaigns, moment marketing, and more to reinvent the brand towards the youth.

    • The Last P is profit. The focus has transitioned from only sales to profit first. Every possible lever is being worked upon to ensure it is profit accretive and some of the initiatives taken are focused on product gross margin suprememization and price increase rationalizing inventory purchases. With limited liquidation costs fixed cost reduction working capital efficiency, the data-driven approach has helped the brand to try some of the above changes. Every decision is being taken keeping in mind profit.

    Growing Through Digital

    Penetration

    “Online is definitely a platform which is of importance and today it is growing. But as I said earlier, offline business is also hereto stay purely because it gives that retail experience a product looks and feel which online is unable to provide. Having said that we are definitely doing everything possible to capitalize on the online platform as well. We are focused towards enhancing the omnichannel facility which means that today if a customer walks into our store and fails to find a product in terms of size or color, it will be delivered to him in next couple of days, from our store nearest to the location where the product is available.

    This facility is activated for almost all of our computing outlets. And we’re also trying to implement this in our franchisees. We are working towards finding serviceability of e-commerce orders also from the market places, and the idea is to help us improve serviceability timelines, and consumer experience, reduce logistic costs and improve working capital efficiency. So we are definitely working on improving our online experience on a regular basis. And that’s something that’s a platform that we definitely intend to capitalize on,” Namrata notes.

    Engaging with the Customer

    To ramp up the loyalty program for the brand, Namrata says “We have recently signed up with the CRM facility, and we are onboarding an agency who will help us with it. And, I believe it will definitely help us to be able to engage with our existing and old customers. We have been back with our campaigns which have increased the average billing value, and the campaigns have increased even the units per transaction. So we have different campaigns focused on different ideas. But the larger perspective is to keep engagement with our customers and bring them back because the cost of acquiring a new customer is always high, but the cost of engaging with your existing customers, and ensuring that there is loyalty with the brand. I think that’s something which we definitely believe in monetizing”.

    Further, in terms of an asset-light model, the brand will move towards growth in amore capital efficient way and is working on building a capital-efficient model. In the distribution business, they’re looking to capitalize the brand’s presence in the existing markets in the Eastern Market and slowly grow in the other markets as well.

    In terms of products, they are looking at revitalizing on the retail and the distribution side, and try to be as trendy and relevant in the younger target audience in the existing and the new markets. This is how Khadim plans to grow strength to strength in the coming years.