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Commitment and perseverance key to building brands

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"Keep updating yourself and work hard. Give your customers special services and one day, it’ll come back to you "

Feb 20, 2017-

Mukesh Kumar Shah began his business career early in life after taking over the mantle at his family’s ornament distribution store while still a student. After working to expand his family business for several years, he went on to become a distributor for HH Bajaj two-wheelers in three cities. For the past eight years, Shah has ventured into the retail business as the managing director of Orchids Retail—becoming the authorised seller of international clothing brands such as kid’s wear giants Giny & Jony, Madame and 109 Fusion Beats. In this interview with The Post’s Alisha Sijapati, Shah talks about the growing brand consciousness in the Nepali market and the current space and demand for international brands. Excerpts:

What is your take on the current state of retail businesses in Nepal?

Since I entered the industry, I have seen phenomenal change in this sector. When Giny & Jony store was launched eight years ago, I didn’t think the response would be great but to my surprise, the sales went well and is still going very strong. Giny & Jony are high quality branded products and with time we have gained a good number of loyal customers.

Due to globalisation and because of the increase in disposable income, customers in Nepal are becoming very brand conscious and the clothing industry has seen a big boom in the last decade.

Nowadays, travelling is easy and it is obvious that having seen so much around the world, people are aware of brands. I must say that Nepalis are well-informed about brands. Today, there are somany international clothing brands available in the country and this will definitely keep getting better with time. 

What are the key things that a brand manager or a business owner must think about when advertising their product?

When you are just starting out on introducing a product, you need to be well aware on how, where and when to advertise the product. Consumers need to be well introduced and informed on what kind of products you are selling. Just by starting a store, without giving proper introductions, it is next to impossible to create awareness for your brand.

Before you advertise your product, you need to see and work according to the targeted customer base and visualise advertisements accordingly. This boosts the confidence and morale of both the customers and the sellers. If you don’t have proper communication, a brand or a product is bound to fail. 

Now that the Nepali market is slowly shifting towards online and digital platforms, what are some things Nepali brands need to be on the lookout for?

People are getting busier day by day and most of them don’t have the time to go to a location and shop, not only because of the distance but also due to time constraints. Online and digital platforms have given a great option to us retailers to sell products online and deliver it to customers at their doorstep.

These kinds of platforms are beneficial to both the retailers and customers as it is a win-win situation for both.

Apart from physical stores, our three major brands are also a part of online shopping portals such as Kaymu, Sasto Deal and others—this helps in re-creating and promoting our brands again to the customers in a different platform rather than the traditional advertising mediums.

Now that we are in the new era of digital evolution and the popularity of online portals in Nepal is booming like never before, we have understood its value and have already made plans to come up with our own Nepali website; it is an advice I give to all emerging brands. 

In today’s highly competitive world, brands are considered one of the primary assets of a company. In that context, how important is it for a company to maintain its brand in terms of customer service?

Customer service is very crucial to turn a product into a brand. We heavily engage on giving the best services to our customers, not only while they purchase an item but also in maintaining a strong connection after sales.

For instance, our brands are well connected with our customers through SMS and e-mails. We inform them on our new collections, wish them on their birthdays or anniversaries and inform them on special discounts and offers.

This way a strong bond is created among the brand and customers, which leads to trust and loyalty from both sides. It is rare where we have had customers coming with a defective piece of clothing but even if they do, we take the matter sportingly and come up with the best possible solution to make the customers feel valued.

When talking about maintaining a brand through customer service, it’s not just about mega offers and activation initiatives, sometimes it is the smallest things that go the distance.  

What are the dos and don’ts of advertising?

You need to find your own formulas for success and break down your vision into simple plans. You cannot be imitating and competing with other products to gain profit for your own; you need to have originality. When planning to advertise a product, you need to build your own brand and try your best to fulfil customer expectations. 

What are your management mantras?

For me, management means service. If you give the best service you’ll get positivity and growth. It could be any business—retail or automobile—it doesn’t matter; but you have to focus on giving the best service to people. If you give the best service to the customers and your employees, they will always be with you. 

What advice do you have for readers wanting to join the retail sector?

Commitment is utterly crucial if you plan to build a brand name out of your product. Keep updating yourself and work hard. Give your customers special services and one day, it’ll come back to you. 

Published: 20-02-2017 08:50

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