Despite retail sector taking a hit, how Chumbak saw growth during the pandemic

In a conversation with YourStory’s Daily Dispatch, Vasant Nangia, CEO, Chumbak, talks about Chumbak’s growth during the pandemic.
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The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on the retail industry in India and across the world, as retail outlets were forced to shut down for months during the lockdown.

Chumbak, a Bengaluru-based lifestyle and home décor brand, also faced challenges on the online front during the pandemic. However, its online business showed significant growth.

In a conversation with YourStory’s Daily Dispatch, Vasant Nangia, CEO, Chumbak, speaks about the growth of the brand during the pandemic and the strategies being devised for the post-pandemic phase.

The brand, which operates on both offline and online front, is famous for its joyful fashion as well as home décor products.

“The pandemic was unforeseen by everybody. It’s been quite a shock to a lot of people. We have a vast network across India that has been abruptly shut,” says Vasant.

It posted a revenue of Rs 40 crore for the financial year 2018-2019 and is currently eyeing a significant double-digit growth year-on-year and a triple-digit growth on the online front this year.

The online home décor and lifestyle brand also on-boarded Bollywood actor Sara Ali Khan as its first brand ambassador earlier this year.

According to Vasant, the home décor category has been doing really well during the pandemic as people are staying at home and are wanting to redo their space. Another important category that has done well during the pandemic is the protective masks.

Due to the difficulty on the online front, Chumbak has now devised an omnichannel strategy to boost sales. Vasant explains that offline business will not become obsolete in the near future. People still like to go to the stores physically and browse before buying something.

So now, around 45 Chumbak stores across India will be linked to the website. Customers can shop on the website and the goods will be supplied from one of the stores so that customers can return or exchange from the stores if at all they are not satisfied with the product.

The company will stabilise at 50-60 percent of the businesses coming via the online route in the next few years as per projection.

“We are in the business of home décor and fashion where you need a physical presence,” says Vasant.

Chumbak’s growth strategy, as shared by Vasant, is multi-layered. There are home décor, lifestyle, and fashion categories within which there are specific categories such as kitchen and dining, bed and furnishing, etc. The website and even the stores are organised in a very consumer-friendly way.

He says, they are now looking at widening Chumbak’s portfolio of products so as to give more choice and clarity to the customers.

One of the important strategies is to align the products with the design requirements. Chumbak has grown from a joyful souvenir brand to a universal lifestyle and home décor brand. With the evolution of the design requirements, the product range has also evolved to fit the needs of the customers. Another strategy is to broaden the target base and various promotional measures are being taken to implement that strategy.

Lastly, strengthening bonds with consumers and improving digital means to grow are certain strategies that are being employed by the brand.

In terms of international expansion, the internet-first strategy is being deployed. The brand plans to explore markets like the UK, the USA, and Japan where the internet-first strategy could be implemented as a significant entry methodology. Secondly, the brand aims to expand in markets where the products will have resonance.

“We know what consumers are looking for in which country. It is a data-layered approach to how and when we go international,” says Vasant.
Edited by Megha Reddy

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