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We aim to have 100 stores by the end of FY2024: Ashmeer Sayyed, DaMensch

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Ashmeer Sayyed, the chief retail officer of menswear brand DaMensch, on the online-first brand’s offline presence, store USP and expansion strategy 

Mumbai: In June 2023, online to offline men’s clothing brand DaMensch released a teaser on its official LinkedIn handle. The teaser was about a new store that the branding is planning to open at Dwarka in Delhi soon.

The Bengaluru-based online-first brand has been aggressively expanding its offline presence and has launched 13 stores since October 2022.

Founded in 2018 by Anurag Saboo and Gaurav Pushkar as a men’s innerwear brand that forayed into outwear in 2021, DaMensch started its offline journey in October 2022 by opening a 1200 sq. ft. store at the Mantri Square Mall in Bengaluru.

At the time, the brand had announced plans to expand to 100 stores in metros across India in a span of one year. The company was bullish on its offline business and expected it to contribute Rs 500 crore to the overall revenue by 2027. IndiaRetailing.com speaks to Ashmeer Sayyed, the chief retail officer of DaMensch to gain insights into its offline strategy. Edited excerpts…

In February 2022, the company raised $16.4 million in Series-B funding from A91 Partners along with the participation of existing investors such as Saama Capital, Matrix Partners and Whiteboard Capital.

Tell us a bit about your offline presence.
Currently, we operate eight stores in Bengaluru, four stores in Delhi, and one store in Mumbai. Our average store size ranges from 450 to 500 sq. ft.

We have tried to align the same UI (User Interface), brand language and retail identity as the consumer sees online. All ranges/products are on open display so that the consumer can touch the products and get their premium feel. As of now, we intend to keep the online and offline offerings as similar as possible to have the channels complimenting each other.

Typically, it takes around 12 months for a store to achieve profitability.

What factors are generally considered in selecting specific locations for your brick-and-mortar stores?
When selecting specific locations for our brick-and-mortar stores, we consider factors such as brand awareness, expanding within existing markets, and targeting areas with a concentration of our desired customer base.

Have you incorporated any features in your new stores based on your learnings from your initial stores?
Based on our initial observations, we have ensured that the ambient temperature in all our new stores is two degrees lower than in our earlier stories. This is helping us increase sales by making customers more comfortable.

A first in the industry, and in India, we have done something unique proposition with the packaging of our innerwear. The packaging is the same as the product inside. This required a lot of customization which we were able to achieve.

Is there a difference between your offline and online target audience?
Through our physical stores, we aim to strengthen our presence in markets where we already have brand awareness from our online presence. Therefore, the new store locations in Delhi align with our existing awareness in specific cities such as Bengaluru, Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Pune, and Hyderabad.

How do you plan to create an in-store experience that differentiates you from competitors?
To create a unique and immersive in-store experience, we focus on open displays that allow customers to interact more freely with our products. Additionally, we ensure a seamless experience by aligning our online and offline assortments, including pricing, to provide a consistent and cohesive customer journey.

So, your physical stores do not offer anything that is not available online?
While the overall pricing and promotional offerings remain aligned between our online and offline channels, we strive to cater to location-specific demands by curating exclusive product ranges for our physical stores, providing customers with an added sense of exclusivity.

How do you plan to integrate online and offline channels for a seamless customer experience?
To provide a consistent and seamless customer experience, we plan to align our product assortment based on specific market catchments. This ensures that customers can find similar offerings and pricing across both online and offline channels. We also leverage app-enabled promotions and extend our brand identity across all channels for a unified experience.

Can you share some revenue figures?
As per the latest audited and announced results for the fiscal year (FY) 2022, the brand has clocked a revenue of close to Rs 60 crore. The operating revenue of DaMensch surged over two-fold to Rs 59.4 crore in FY22 from Rs 21.2 crore in FY21.

The offline channel was initiated in October 2022. We are yet to complete a full year of business from this channel. However, we strive to be equal to the online business in the coming year and surpass the same very soon.

Any technology adoption you may want to highlight?
Technology upgradation is an endless process. Being a tech-driven company, there is constant upgradation on all aspects of the online business. Offline, we are digitalizing as many processes as possible with many industry firsts. Watch out this space for more.

Tell us about your offline expansion plans.
We have ambitious plans for offline expansion and aim to have over 100 stores by the end of FY 24. Our primary focus will be on the five cities mentioned earlier, with a mix of premium malls and high street catchments. We are determined to match the revenue generated from our online business, indicating our strong commitment to offline expansion and the significant role it plays in our overall growth strategy.

Da Mensch

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