Anastasia Vasilkova, development director of TM Choupette, took part in the NR LIVE online conference "Development strategy for the children's goods market in a period of rapid changes". Anastasia spoke live about the investment franchise, the pros and cons of marketplaces, whether consumer behavior has changed and how the pandemic has affected sales.
At the conference, experts touched upon the topic of the “new reality” of consumer behavior. According to Anastasia Vasilkova, digitalization, new technologies and omnichannel appeared several years before the pandemic, and during the period of self-isolation, the retail sector did not change much. Smart consumption trend was revealed mostclearly during quarantine - Anastasia believes that if there are no further tough conditions, it will also develop gently.
If we talk about the demand in the summer months, then August exceeded the brand's expectations, as Like-For-Like amounted to + 18% compared to last year. However, this demand is countervailing as sales were significantly lower in the previous months.
Anastasia also spoke about the investment franchise - a new format that the brand has recently launched.“Of course, we are not the first to come up with an investment franchise, but in the fashion industry it is almost never used. In our interpretation, it is based on the main postulate: the partner invests and bears the investment risks - and the franchise owner manages the store. However, Choupette's task is not to just take management into their own hands - we want to teach how to manage a store. Over the course of several years, we will develop the necessary skills in our partner through the investment franchise format, and then we will transfer it to an independent mode. This is our perfect vision of the picture. That is why we do not just manage, but advise and offer ready-made solutions, which we discuss with the franchisee and jointly implement. Thus, the partner actively participates in the process. This format has already shown good results during the pandemic and is now continuing to evolve. The advantage of an investment franchise is that it correlates well with market demand: people are willing to invest, but are afraid to manage due to a lack of expertise . Thus, the Choupette brand embodies the dream of all new businessmen - to invest in business, do nothing and receive dividends".
During the conference, such an important topic as marketplaces was touched upon. According to Anastasia, they cannot be ignored, because they increase brand awareness and give good sales. However, the downside is that you cannot control the pricing policy of certain online retailers, for example, Wildberries. Each brand develops its own strategy for mutually beneficial partnerships with such large aggregators.
In conclusion, Anastasia Vasilkova shared her thoughts on what should be paid attention to in the next three years. In her opinion, the channel between the manufacturer and the end consumer is getting shorter, so now it is important to understand consumer behavior and make the most of your knowledge in this direction.
Choupette investment franchise as an anti-crisis format.
How did the idea of creating an investment franchise come about?
Of course, we are not the first to come up with an investment franchise, but in the field of fashion it is almost never used. The idea of developing a new format was born from our experiment - a pilot project for franchise management. We brought in Lynn Irons, an international business consultant, to develop innovative methods for managing development processes. In the process of working, we realized that our franchisees feel lonely in their regions, and if at the beginning of cooperation this inspires them to some extent, then later they feel a lack of communication and daily support. Our central office, of course, renders great assistance: training at Choupette University, merchandiser visits, interactive sessions, assistance from managers and the marketing department. But this support occurs in large blocks - it is often difficult for franchisees to assimilate such a volume of information at a time. Upon successful completion of the first phase of the pilot, we concluded that we had placed too much burden on our partners. In most cases, a franchise is bought by people who have no management experience, and therefore they cannot always correctly organize a business. Having reached this conclusion, we realized that the best support we can provide is the daily adaptation of information directly to the daily issues and problems. Our pilot project gave us not only an idea, but also certain algorithms that we have already tested and brought them out as the basic tools of a new format for managing an investment franchise.
What do we mean by an investment franchise.
An investment franchise is understood differently depending on the industry and country. In our interpretation, it is based on the main postulate: the partner invests and bears the investment risks - and the franchisor manages the store. However, our task is not just to take management into our own hands - we want to teach how to manage a store. For several years, we will develop the necessary skills in our partner through the format of an investment franchise, and then we will transfer it to an independent mode. This is our perfect vision of the picture. That is why we do not just manage, but advise and offer ready-made solutions, which we discuss with the franchisee and jointly implement. Thus, the partner actively participates in the process.
Further development of the project.
For us, an investment franchise is a new format that we have used in one store so far, and it has given good results. I think we will have many such examples. The idea that reads between the lines of any franchise, especially in Russia, is to buy a business, get income, but not be "extreme", and in principle, our new format is just in line with this desire.
On July 9, 2020, the grand opening of the Choupette store in Voronezh took place.
The brand store was opened in a new concept - the stylish "Neoclassic". A full assortment of goods awaits visitors: current fashion collections, clothing for celebrations, a school uniform, images for the little ones, christening clothes, children's shoes and accessories.
We are waiting for you at:
Voronezh, Koltsovskaya street house 35, 4th floor
SEC "Gallery Chizhov"
Daily 10:00 to 22:00