Jaldi 5 with Amit Chaudhary: Toy Story, no Child’s Play

20 Nov,2012

On November 9, Simba India, a subsidiary of toy giant Simba Dickie Groupin association with Exelixi Management Company from India, launched a large format toy shop at the Oberoi Mall in suburban Mumbai. Amit Chaudhary, Founder Exelixi Management is bullish about the business in this interview with MxMIndia.


01. It’s interesting that you have opened a toy store in Mumbai at a time when children are increasingly taking to electronic toys – Xboxes, PSPs and the like – or on the computer and tablets. Wouldn’t an investment in that direction have been wiser?

I don’t see electronic games outside the purview of Toys & Games. It is one of the categories just like Outdoor Games, Wooden Toys, or Remote Control Cars. Children, and parents as well, are still looking for options in non-electronic games and we are happy to bring some really world-class toys in those categories to Indian customers. Yes, electronics is an emerging and an important category, and we are not ignoring it. You will see that reflected in the product mix in our stores as we grow.


02. How much of a focus are you keeping on electronics, given that it is such a rage?

We feel we have a good understanding of our customers, and the product mix in our stores is a result of studying the market for almost two years at the ground level. The share of electronic games will reflect that understanding.


03. As the footprint of Simba stores is increasing in India, what does your marketing plan look like?

We are a neighbourhood toy store with international standards. Our products, their quality, and the service levels in our store are the best marketing tools that we have to connect with our customers. We have a good mix of ATL and BTL campaigns lined up over the next 18 months for our stores. While share of ATL will increase as the store footprint expands, our spend on BTL will continue to remain significant. We want to be relevant to our customers and the best way to connect with them is to do so at the local level. All of our stores have a very aggressive activity calendar geared towards kids, and we intend to keep it that way even as we expand.


04. Are you looking at tying up with schools or TV channels etc?

Yes, we are keen to tie up with playschools, nurseries, crèches, children activity centers, and TV channels as well. A number of discussions are underway on that front. It will be premature to make any specific comments on this topic as of now.


05. In a price-conscious country such as India, how do you compete against smaller stores stocking cheaper though sub-standard and even counterfeit products?

It’s a myth that Indian customers always prefer cheaper stuff. Especially when it comes to their children. Indian parents want to provide their children the best that is available in the market, of course within their budget. It is another myth that the low quality toy products available today in the market are cheaper than branded products. Our pricing is very aggressive and there are enough instances where our high quality products are substantially cheaper than the counterfeit and sub-standard products available in the market. With us our customers can come and shop knowing that they get an International shopping experience, products at a very competitive price, and the confidence that they are buying some of the safest products in the world for their kids.


06. How has the response been thus far… being a part of a mall of course ensures sure footfalls. Any more stores on the anvil in Mumbai?

We are very happy with the response so far. Our visitor books are full of customers who have thanked us for opening the store! What more can we ask for? We will definitely open more stores in Mumbai. In fact, you can expect at least one more store in the area before the end of this year.


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