Archies Charts Strategic Growth with ‘AMA’ and Middle East Expansion

Archies Charts Strategic Growth with ‘AMA’ and Middle East Expansion
The brand has set a significant milestone for February 16th, where it plans to unveil the first phase of AMA merchandise targeted at Gen Z.

By Vaishnavi gupta , Sr Correspondent

25 Jan 2024 | 12 min read

Recognizing the significance of engaging with the upcoming generation, Archies embarked on a strategic initiative to cater to kids, the age group ranging from three and a half to 11 years old. Acknowledging that these youngsters are exposed to mobile devices from an early age, the brand aims to establish its presence in the children's category, ensuring brand awareness that would carry into their teenage years.

In 2023, Archies introduced its inaugural brand mascot, AMA, designed as a gifting symbol for the company and dedicated to the millions and Gen Z demographic. “The goal is to familiarize them with the Archies brand during their formative years. Extensive marketing efforts, both online and offline, have been employed, with a special focus on social media starting from Valentine's Day, where AMA serves as the central theme for product campaigns and advertisements,” said Varun Moolchandani, Executive Director at Archies.

The brand has set a significant milestone for February 16th, where it plans to unveil the first phase of AMA merchandise targeted at Gen Z. This launch event aims to establish AMA as a beloved character akin to icons like Mickey Mouse. The initial phase will showcase an array of AMA-themed products, including greeting cards for birthdays, notepads, diaries, lock diaries, key chains, slam books, and even games. Additionally, a variety of AMA soft toys in different sizes and baby clocks will be introduced. This multi-faceted approach aims to create a lasting connection with the younger demographic, fostering brand loyalty and awareness from an early age.

45 Years of Innovation

Established in 1979 by Anil Moolchandani, Archies is a venerable 45-year-old company with a rich history rooted in a passion for innovation. The brand initially ventured into the world of English songbooks, providing a unique solution to the challenge of understanding lyrics for international songs with captivating tunes. This endeavor gained swift popularity, leading Archies to diversify into stationery, wrapping sheets, shagun envelopes, and carry bags, establishing a prominent presence as pioneers in these domains.

Always drawn back to paper-oriented products, the natural progression led the brand to the realm of greeting cards. The concept was to create emotionally resonant keepsakes that would transcend the fleeting nature of digital messages. Since its inception, Archies has become the leading greeting card brand in Asia, offering an extensive range encompassing various sizes, shapes, and aesthetics.

Archies has established itself as a comprehensive destination for all occasions and celebrations. Its extensive range of products encompasses greeting cards, mugs, photo frames, soft toys, chocolates, perfumes, jewelry, and an expanding line of home decor items. The brand prides itself on catering to the diverse needs of its customers with a collection that spans 22-23 categories, each with its subcategories, ensuring a wide array of choices.

“Our product offerings are intricately linked to the calendar, covering birthdays, anniversaries, special days like Mother's Day, Father's Day, Daughter's Day, festivals such as Rakhi, Christmas, New Year, Diwali, and the ever-significant Valentine's Day. These occasions form the cornerstone of our 365-day inventory, influencing our entire SKU range and inspiring creativity in every category,” asserted Moolchandani.

Bridging Offline and Online Celebrations

With a robust presence of around 125-130 company-owned stores and 150 franchises, Archies has primarily focused on high-street locations, particularly in North India. The brand's core strength lies in its extensive network of over a thousand retailers, dealers, and distributors across India.

The onset of the pandemic prompted Archies to recognize the potential of online platforms, given the disruptions caused by lockdowns and restrictions on movement. Responding to the changing landscape, the company ventured into the online domain with its official e-commerce platform. This platform offers customers the convenience of shopping for the entire Archies range, making it accessible for everyday needs, akin to popular online marketplaces like Flipkart or Amazon.

“Currently, we operate primarily offline, with approximately 85 percent of our business conducted through physical stores. However, due to recent collaborations and strategic initiatives, we anticipate a significant shift in the coming fiscal year (2024-25), with online channels accounting for approximately 20 percent of the business,” he stated.

Rapid Delivery Revolution

In 2023, Archies ventured into Quick Commerce partnerships, collaborating with Blinkit, Swiggy, Instamart, and Zepto, among others. This move has proven to be transformative, with the brand experiencing an unexpected surge in demand for its paper categories, including wrapping sheets, Shagun envelopes, greeting cards, and carry bags.

“The response has been remarkable, positioning us as a Quick Commerce player, delivering our diverse product range to customers within a mere 10 minutes. This paradigm shift has positioned us in a manner reminiscent of FMCG companies, where customers can now receive essential items swiftly and conveniently. The partnerships with Quick Commerce providers have not only met the immediate needs of customers but have also established Archie's as a contemporary and accessible brand in the digital landscape,” added Moolchandani.

Digital Loyalty Leap

The company is making a significant investment in enhancing its social media presence, with a focused strategy for Instagram and Facebook. Over the next three to four months, the brand aims to revolutionize how Archies is perceived in the digital landscape. The primary focus is on elevating the quality of posts, showcasing the diverse range of products, and collaborating with influencers and bloggers to effectively promote the brand.

“As part of this journey, we plan to unveil a transformative ‘Archies Club’ within the next few months. This initiative, set to launch by Rakhi this year, will serve as a loyalty program for Instagram and Facebook followers. By joining this exclusive club, affectionately known as the "Little Cute Club of Social Media Archies," customers will gain membership benefits, including access to exclusive deals, fantastic discounts, and special promotions. This innovative loyalty program is designed to reward and engage Archies' social media community, creating a more interactive and rewarding experience for followers,” said Moolchandani.

Archies Expands: North India Focus

In parallel with this digital expansion, Archies remains committed to strengthening its offline presence by opening new stores, particularly in North India. The focus is on prominent locations, encompassing Tier II, and III cities, as well as A, B, and C towns. For the current fiscal year, the primary emphasis is on expanding in North India, with a strategic concentration on high streets.

“The key regions targeted for offline expansion include Punjab, UP, Delhi NCR, Himachal, and Rajasthan. This strategic approach is expected to result in the opening of around 30 to 35 company-owned stores within the fiscal year. The goal is to solidify our presence in these regions and leverage our strong identity, especially in areas where it is perceived as an international company,” he highlighted.

Global Debut

This year, Archies is set to embark on an ambitious expansion plan by venturing into the Middle East. With a strategic focus on the GCC countries, the initial launch will take place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with Dubai serving as the first flagship location for Archies' entire product range.

“Ongoing discussions with potential channel partners are underway, and the goal is to finalize agreements by the fourth quarter of this year. The objective is to establish Archies as a prominent brand in Dubai and subsequently extend its presence across the entire UAE before expanding into other Middle Eastern countries,” Moolchandani noted.

“The phased approach involves introducing Archies products in the initial stage, followed by the establishment of a master franchise in the Middle East. Additionally, plans include exploring shop-in-shop opportunities within malls to maximize brand visibility and accessibility. The anticipated timeline for launching Archies online in the Middle East is set for November or December of this year,” he concluded.

Recognizing the significance of engaging with the upcoming generation, Archies embarked on a strategic initiative to cater to kids, the age group ranging from three and a half to 11 years old. Acknowledging that these youngsters are exposed to mobile devices from an early age, the brand aims to establish its presence in the children's category, ensuring brand awareness that would carry into their teenage years.

In 2023, Archies introduced its inaugural brand mascot, AMA, designed as a gifting symbol for the company and dedicated to the millions and Gen Z demographic. “The goal is to familiarize them with the Archies brand during their formative years. Extensive marketing efforts, both online and offline, have been employed, with a special focus on social media starting from Valentine's Day, where AMA serves as the central theme for product campaigns and advertisements,” said Varun Moolchandani, Executive Director at Archies.

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