Our outstanding performance on the back of bold initiatives embraced over the past two years have validated that our strategy is working and we are now at the confluence of serving a large and growing customer base with an ever-expanding jewellery and lifestyle product range.
Enhancing customer convenience is fundamental to our business and one of our top priorities was a focus on execution, building over the initiatives that we boldly embraced over the last two years.
Our consumers look at affordability of high quality products as a primary driver of purchase. Within this context, consumers in moderate income groups prefer a staggered payment option compared to an upfront full payment and an interesting insight here is that they do not mind increasing their buying frequency if they can get an option to amortise the payment. With the availability of Budget Pay EMI option on our TV and web platforms in both the US and the UK markets, we now have an edge over competitors already offering EMI options as it makes our low-priced products even more attractive. As of now, Budget Pay comprises three installment options with the first installment to be paid on purchase and the rest at monthly intervals. As with our easy returns policy, this initiative was also well received, helping us drive increased sales.
Keeping in view the electronic retail landscape and the prevalent ‘multiscreen’ culture, we launched our mobile apps – ShopLC in the US and TJC in the UK, across both iOS and Android platforms, which received a positive response and have enhanced customer engagement. Our focus on moving with the markets was also evident when we developed SmartTV apps that facilitate live streaming of content via internet on these televisions. Additionally, we also upgraded our e-commerce platform SAP-Hybris to the latest version which strengthened responsiveness, elevated user experience and hence, customer stickiness.
We are a unique business having developed a sizeable business-toconsumer franchisee in the developed markets of the US and the UK. We have an efficient manufacturing presence in India and a large global sourcing chain that covers the markets of India, Indonesia, Thailand and China. Our low-cost production assets together with flexible and scalable worldwide procurement capabilities enable us to remain proactive in identifying current trends while offering products with compelling stories of value to a thriving customer base.
Having set up this distinctive and competitive network, we are now reinforcing our pipeline with newer ranges of lifestyle, fashion, beauty and home products. This potential product basket will allow us to deepen consumer engagement as well as open up the potential to drive higher margins. We also offer in-house brands and collections that have interesting background stories that resonate well with our customers.
Through our ShopLC and TJC brands that have become an integral part of our customers’ lives, we are present in 110 million (FTE basis) households in the US and the UK.
Rebranding The Liquidation Channel to ShopLC in the US brought in encouraging customer response and we are now present in 85 million households (FTE) out of a potential market of 118 million households*, providing ample opportunity for growth. ShopLC is available on most major television feed carriers including dishtv, Verizon FiOS, DIRECTV, Time Warner, etc. In line with the rebranding program, we also enhanced product presentation by investing in a new studio facility and operationalised a new warehouse for better customer service.
The Jewellery Channel (TJC) in the UK enjoys an entrenched presence in the full 25 million households (FTE) and the recent launch of Budget Pay on television has further enhanced opportunities to deepen customer engagement. TJC possesses longstanding relationships with television distributors like SKY, Virgin, Freeview, etc.
A focus to be where our customers are is evident with almost 20% of our revenues now being derived from nontelevision sales including our website – both desktop and mobile. We are also available on emerging internet-based streaming devices such as Roku, Apple TV, etc. that deliver our live video streams when the device is attached to a television. We have recently launched applications for mobile devices and Smart TVs to maximize reach. Yet another emerging opportunity comprises OTA (over-the-air) customers that include about 20 million households. These so-called ‘cord-cutters’ or ‘cordnevers’ present a large potential market to tap into cost-effectively. We are already in over 9 million such homes.
With major capex already invested in the business, we are now focusing on maximising benefits from our operations. This was visible in our 2016-17 performance when profitability growth was substantially higher than growth in our revenues. We expect the embedded operating leverage to play out as we further scale our operations and this in itself will help create a sustainable longterm shareholder value creation platform.
Our unique culture is one of the most important contributors to our success. It makes our people hungry to achieve more and frees their entrepreneurial instincts, while encouraging them to work collaboratively and act as entrepreneurs in thought and action. This drives us to do better for consumers and shareholders
Our approach to reward and groom high performers is a fundamental part of this culture. We empower our people with the opportunity to earn long-term rewards for outstanding performance and this emphasis has created an organisation that is fixated on achieving long-term goals within the framework of our values.
With my best wishes,
Chairman and Managing Director