Ram Chandra is one of the well known industrialists in Indian retail
sector. He has been running retail business for more than two decades and
has done one successful exit. Being a fashion enthusiast himself, he has
the ability to put himself in customer shoes that helps him bring lot
of innovation to the retail business.
Through V2 Retail, which stands for Value and Variety, Ram offers an unparalleled retail mix combined with value and
variety to his customers. Ram believes in offering complete Value for money to the shoppers through
V2's large Variety of Smart, Trendy, Fashionable apparels across
categories under one roof. V2 Retail presence in 17 states of India with 77 high fashionable
Operational stores, makes it stand amongst the pioneers in setting up
unique precincts with modern ambience retail chain. Ram has also started V2's own eCommerce platform V2 Kart which has great future plans to compete with the biggies in the industry. Ram has also seen two major financial crises and now is well versed with how to deal with crises.
Let's hear from him to
understand his retail journey, his inputs to aspiring entrepreneurs:n the industry.
Can you brief us your family background and education.
I come from a family of four with my wife and two children. My son is
also a part of V2 retail as the Director and my daughter is pursuing her
graduation at the University of southern California. After I completed
my B.Com, I was pursuing my LLB, but I had to drop out to pursue my
dream of becoming an entrepreneur.
What motivated you to venture into business especially retail business?
As we know, fashion is the integral part of our society today and is
more of a necessity than a luxury. Fashion is a highly competitive
industry, especially with the constantly changing trends and new styles
coming in. For fashion enthusiasts like me, this is the best place to
be. You are surrounded by everything fashionable – apparels,
accessories, footwear, etc.
How has been the retail journey over a period of 20 years?
In the year 2001 I started a Retail chain of stores by the name of
Vishal Mega Mart. The company went public in June 2007 and raised Rs 110
crore through its IPO. Later on, Vishal Retail become the first retail
company in India which successfully operated more than 100 stores in
India and I served as the Managing Director of the company. However, due
to business disruptions, Vishal Mega Mart was sold to TPG and Shree Ram
Group in 2011.
In the year 2011, I have started a new
retail chain/company by the name of V2 Retail Limited and opened its
first Retail Store in Jamshedpur. The company V2 Retail Limited achieved
the turnover of Rs 100 crores within 2 years by of its inception by
2013. In the year 2017 V2 Retail Limited crossed the annual turnover of
Rs 470 crores and total number of stores increased to 37. In the year
2020 V2 Retail Limited has crossed the turn over of Rs 700 crores and
total number of stores increased to 80 across the Country, moreover, in
the said year the company has also launched the E-Commerce website . V2
Retail limited also has its own production unit and private label.
What led to sell Vishal Megamart and start V2 Retail?
2008, Vishal Retail had 2,50,000 square feet of retail space and five
factories, and we planned to open more stores. We had taken short-term
loans and planned to later infuse capital through equity to pay off
these loans. The unforeseeable financial crisis of 2008 led us to dilute
our equity, but we found that there were no buyers. Soon,
everything started to fall apart - sales fell, debts started piling up,
and real estate maintenance became a financial burden. "Banks started
pressuring us to bring in a new equity partner, and we finally sold
What is the unique value proposition of V2 Retail?
V2 Retail offers an unparalleled retail mix combined with value and
variety to its shoppers. This fashion avenue gives an extraordinary
experience with an embracing portfolio of product offerings. V2 retail
believes in offering complete Value for money to the shoppers through
its large Variety of Smart, Trendy, Fashionable apparels across
categories under one roof.
With online's share growing, what is prompting V2 to continue to add physical stores?
Digitization has made our lives easier in numerous ways, but sometimes
it can also make life more complicated. Online shopping offers almost
unlimited choice. However, this choice overload can also paralyze
people. Physical stores help customers by offering a selection of the
best and most popular articles only.Shopping is more than just
determining your preferences, comparing product specifications, and
looking for the lowest price. Shopping involves both the left and right
side of the brain. People want both a rational and an emotional
confirmation that this product suits them best.
How's technology enabling V2 business and scale the business and how do you intend to adapt to new technologies?
V2 is a technology driven Organization and we are enabling more
technology driven processes in company. With the help of technology all
Warehouse processes have been shifted on Handheld devices in place of
Laptop or Desktops which increase the productivity and help in scaling
the business. The ERP change project from ECC to HANA is already in
process. Our loyalty program is also implemented. We have also
integrated with various technologies for our e-commerce platform to give
our customers a better experience.
If you were to start V2 now with the current technologies available (mobile apps etc.) how would you start?
I would start V2 with the current ERP's and the most user friendly mobile apps which would increase productivity.
What are your suggestions for new entrants into entrepreneurship and new venture into retail business?
- Choose the right niche
- Obsess over customer needs
- Focus on profit instead of revenue
- Start with a narrow focus initially and expand
- Focus on employee morale
- Start a business that matches your personality
- Always be aware of your competitors’ moves
- Just do it (even if it isn’t perfect)