Miniso, the Japanese designer retail brand has taken Bangladesh by a storm. The simplistic and eye-catching presentation of its products has attracted consumers from groups of all ages in a very short span of time. So, how did the brand, in such a short span of time, win hearts of tens of thousands of consumers? We talked with Shah Rayeed Chowdhury, the Director of the international franchise to find out that answer.

What’s your vision with Miniso in Bangladesh?

To understand our vision, you need to know a little history about the brand Miniso. It
originated from Japan and later began to develop in the Chinese market. Almost all of its
products are made with the sole focus on aesthetic beauty. The main vision of the Chairman of Miniso is to increase the standard of living with products having everyday usage at a very reasonable price. We are trying to sell the experience, maintain the international standard and most importantly make our customers happy. In Bangladesh, the starting price of our product is Taka 99, which means that our brand caters to a wide range of customers with lifestyle products. We aim to make Miniso a household brand among the people of Bangladesh.

How far have you been successful in achieving that vision?

At first, we thought it would be challenging to bring a franchise of a low-cost retailer and
variety store chain in Bangladesh. However, we believed in the brand. Now, in just about a
year, we have been able to launch over 15 stores in Dhaka. That means we have, more or less, covered the entirety of Dhaka city, including its prime locations. This is a clear sign that our brand has been very well received by our consumers. We plan to open our stores countrywide eventually. People are regularly communicating with us to open our franchises in other districts of the country.

What are the criteria to get the franchise of Miniso?

The main criteria are ‘Nothing’. You invest in the store, and the rest is handled by us. As we all know, the retail market is booming in Bangladesh, which resulted in every other retail store popping up all over the country. However, it is difficult to sustain, operate and expand at the rate Miniso is increasing. Naturally, the question comes to mind how Miniso grew so fast. The answer is we work on a franchise basis. This means we run the operation; our HR team takes care of recruitment and training, our marketing team does its magic, the research and developments are done abroad.

We have teams led by foreign professionals; the head engineer is responsible for maintaining the aesthetics of the store such as the interior and exterior as per international standards. Our international operations manager takes care of the coordination amongst all 100 Miniso stores world wide and our Bangladesh operations so that we gain knowledge from everyone for the sake of constantly improving our operations.

If this is not enough, our commodity manager in charge of all products handles the analysis of customer demands among his other responsibilities. Miniso’s 2 area sales managers look after all 15 stores, carry out the training for our sales team, take care of displaying our products and overseeing sales of our stores. All these professionals are from China. Moreover, we should mention that amongst the criteria, potential franchisees should believe in Miniso and should be ambitious to grow alongside a Billion Dollar Japanese Designer brand with over 4,000 stores across 100 countries. It is safe to say that they will be in safe hands!

Miniso is known for its extensive colourful daily products starting from beauty to household to entertainment. What has been the response so far from the clients? Has there is a different kind of response from consumers from different parts of Dhaka?

We have had a very positive response from the beginning. For example, in terms of the
conversion rate of customers, we have the highest. We have a very effective product analysis team. Their main job is to analyse what is preferred by consumers from a particular area. After carrying out a thorough analysis, we tweak our product ranges based on the needs of the consumers from different areas. This method helps us to understand our customers and deliver more suitable products to them.

Miniso opened in CTG recently. How was the response?

When it came to branching out to other cities, Chattogram was our first target. We initially planned to launch in Chattogram in 2020, but the immensely positive response from our customers made us move ahead of our plans, and we ended up opening our store in December 2019. You will be pleased to know that the response from Chattogram has been outstanding.The incredible customer traffic has led us to keep our store open till two in the morning, whereas we close by ten in Dhaka. We are now planning to open our second store in Chattogram. Now, franchisees and customers from Khulna, Barisal and Sylhet are urging us to open stores in their home towns. This is definitely a good sign, we are tirelessly working towards making Miniso a household name and put smiles on our customers’ face, not just in Dhaka but now also in other parts of the country.

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K Tanzeel Zaman

K Tanzeel Zaman, Staff writer of ICE Today Magazine. He is an avid traveler, aiming to fill up his passport and express his perspective of the world through his write-ups.