First it was the likes of Roopam, Amazons, Benzer, Akbarally’s etc (I am restricting myself to options in Mumbai) that satiated the need to a modern shopper to shop in an environment that would be a one stop solution for all that was related to ‘apparels’. Then can in the game changer – Shoppers Stop. The launch of Shoppers Stop set the ball rolling for more department stores and multi-brand-outlets to open doors in India. Most notable amongst them would be Lifestyle, Globus and Westside. Where each one managed to win a strong patronage from their respective target audience; Globus got things a wee bit wrong and they were seen closing down stores and losing a lot many of their shoppers as well (me, being one of them). Lifestyle has got better and Shoppers Stop and Westside seem to have got into a comfort zone.
In 2006 MAX (a part of the Landmark Group that also own Lifestyle) entered the country. It was until 2015 that I got myself to enter a MAX store at one of their outlets in Pune. This was primarily to kill time. But instead I ended emptying my wallet in there. I was taken aback (pleasantly though) by the collection and price points they were selling at. What attracted me the most was their kid’s wear range. Impeccable quality and perfect colors to suit the little ones. No meaningless cuts and no meaningless quotes on tees. Just apt for me to dress my little one. The offers they run are tempting as well. Instead of discounting individual pieces of apparels, they offer a combo deal. I find this option better than having a 10 per cent off on individual things. Besides the kid’s wear range, the women’s wear range is fantastic as well. To repeat myself, the price points offer a sheer indulgence. And again, the designs are perfect for everyday wear.
The store design and layout is well thought of. You can quickly pick up the stuff you need and move out without wasting much time browsing through things you may not want to indulge in. The men’s wear section is well stocked as well though I think some price revision there would be appreciated.
To talk about the staff and customer service; without sounding too carried away by the brand, I must say that each of the floor stuff including the guard at the entrance are trained really well. Extremely courteous and extremely knowledgeable.
For a recent story on MAX that I penned for one of the retail magazines, I had a chance to speak with the executive director of MAX – Mr. Vasanth Kumar. He took me through the journey of the brand and post my telecom with him, I am all the more mesmerised by the brand. It was only within a year of its international launch that the brand set its foot in India in 2006. In this one decade, the brand has only managed to win more and more patronage for itself in the country with more than 145 stores covering tier 1 and 2 cities and towns. The minimum sq.ft. space occupied by any MAX store is 10,000 (the one at Panvel is 8,000 considering the store sizes at that mall aren’t more than that) and maximum is 12,000 sq.ft. Since their launch, the brand has stuck to its mission of Democratising Fashion and true to it, they indeed have. Every two months a completely new stock is added and every week new designs are introduced. The in-house staff is given ample of opportunity to climb up the ladder. Customer engagement initiatives include model hunts and various on-gorund events and initiatives wherein local celebrities are called in. The quality control team remains on its toes and ensure that consistency is maintained in the production lots. Nothing substandard from the vendors is accepted. The design team travels across the world to get their hands on the latest trends. In all, a MAX customer can rely on the brand for price, design and quality.
One of the many reasons why a MAX customer remains hooked to it is because of their decision to not indulge in national brands more than the need is. At any MAX store, there is only one national brand, for e.g. W in women’s wear, Peter England in Men’s Formal Wear and Bossini (owned by the Landmark Group) in the Men’s Casual Wear range. This leaves the customer less confused when he is shopping. The more cluttered the store is with a range of brands, the more confusing it gets for the customer to get the best option possible.
For my little one, I am not going anywhere. I have tried high end brands and seen her tees looking ugly after a few washes. But with MAX, I know I can spend and not regret.
-Zainab S Kazi