Mukherjee, The Economic Times
Kolkata, 3 September 2015
Mahindra Retail will rename its maternity and childcare stores as ‘Babyoye by Mahindra’, dropping the name ‘Mom & Me’ in favour of shopping website Babyoye. com, which it acquired earlier this year.
This is the first time that an Indian retailer is adopting the name of an online entity for its brick and mortar stores, indicating the bigger pull of e-commerce in certain segments. The retail arm of Mahindra & Mahindra had been operating its 115 maternity and childcare stores under the name ‘Mom & Me’ for six years.
The company said it wants a single unified brand presence across channels and that ‘Babyoye’ has a larger recall, is more youthful, and resonates better with younger parents who would interact simultaneously with online and offline.
"The Babyoye brand brings with it a connect due to its big online presence and we also wanted to capitalise on the Mahindra brand, which is our parentage and has its own legacy," said Mahindra Retail chief executive officer Prakash Wakankar. "Sufficient evaluation was done where both Mom & Me and Babyoye brands stood, and we decided to go for the latter not because it was superior, but since it’s more vibrant and a reflection of current consumer trend," Wakankar said. Wakankar said Mahindra Retail will completely integrate operations between the online and offline entity as part of the company’s omni-channel strategy.
"While Babyoye online would offer a wider range, consumers would eventually be able to order from the store any product sold online, pick it up from the store and even return it to the store," he said. Mahindra Retail had earlier shut down its Mom & Me online store and integrated it with Babyoye.com.
Analysts said it makes sense to put muscle behind one brand rather than two, if the segments targeted are identical.
"The pros and cons of picking one over the other depend on which one is more visible and has higher weight with the consumer. Also, since Mom & Me has been targeted at a broader age range, with Babyoye being selected as the operating brand the merchandise mix in the stores will also be significantly refocused and narrowed down," said Devangshu Dutta, chief executive at consultancy Third Eyesight.
Last fiscal, Mahindra Retail had revenue of Rs 210.5 crore and incurred net loss of Rs 118.9 crore, according to Mahindra & Mahindra’s annual report.
Wakankar said that with more than 92 company-owned stores, breakeven
is still a couple of years away, but the retailer has undertaken
several initiatives to increase per sq feet revenue which will
ultimately deliver results.
(Published in The Economic Times.)