Benita Chacko

INOX forays into merchandising; expects Rs 7 crore revenue in first year

The multiplex player will sell official and licensed merchandise of Hollywood films, Indian cricket team and also generic INOX products.

After evolving into a food destination last year, leading multiplex chain INOX Leisure is now launching a merchandise range. It will be selling official and licensed merchandise, including mobile and electronic accessories, fashion apparel, games and stationery items, consumer electronics, and home and kitchen on its website and mobile app and soon, in its theatres as well.

The merchandise will cater to not only movie buffs, but also cricket enthusiasts. The multiplex player has created three categories of products - Hollywood films, generic INOX products and cricketing merchandise. It will feature heroes from Disney, Marvel, Lucas Films, Warner Bros (DC Comics), Universal, and also have products of the Indian cricket team and Indian Premier League (IPL) through FanCode and MPL, respectively.

Anand Vishal
Anand Vishal

Anand Vishal, chief sales and revenue officer - INOX Leisure, says that it expects the merchandising business to rake in revenues of around Rs 7-7.5 crore in the first year.

"Introducing our special range of merchandise, is a conscious attempt to foster the unique bond that the patrons share with INOX as well as their superheroes from the famous franchises like Disney, Marvel and Star Wars. With aspiration of our ever-increasing and young customer base at an all-time high, it is important for us to keep them engaged by offering them more than just a cinematic content experience."

INOX also intends to use the merchandise to engage with its patrons in such a way that it creates a sense of belongingness among them and also builds consumer loyalty. "It is like the toy kids get in McDonald's. Our vision is to create a stronger loyal community through this," Vishal adds.

INOX wants to provide its patrons much more than just movies and ensure a wholesome experience, he mentions.

"These larger than life movies, like Batman, Doctor Strange or Avengers, are like brands. Consumers come to us to connect with this brand that the film creates around it. These films are a cult in themselves and enjoy a certain loyalty. The affinity to such films creates a community of loyal fans with that brand. We wanted to capitalise on that and create a new dimension for the consumers, so that they have a tangible experience, beyond the movie."

INOX forays into merchandising; expects Rs 7 crore revenue in first year

INOX had these plans for the last year-and-a-half, but it got delayed due to COVID-induced lockdowns. "These big films, which create brands in themselves and have a large fan following, weren't releasing. We decided to do it now as there are back-to-back films releasing. People have put COVID behind and are moving forward. With the kind of footfalls we are generating, this is the apt time for us to create this line of business," mentions Vishal.

Exclusively designed by Macmerise, an online consumer goods company, some popular products that will be available include customised and branded T-shirts, hoodies, travel essentials, sipper bottles, coasters, desk and mouse pads, laptop sleeves, phone cases, caps, mugs, wireless chargers, speaker, notebooks and headphones.

"The partnership with Macmerise will allow us to provide a physical experience of our patron's favourite characters from the movies or sports," Vishal says.

With its foray into the merchandising space, INOX will now be competing with the likes of The Souled Store and Red Wolf, which also sell similar products at, more or less, the same price. However, Vishal stresses that INOX has advantages over these brands.

"We wanted to create an offline experience as well. Soon, the cinema halls will be equipped to showcase the products. Since the other stores are an online model, we have an advantage there because of the physical space we own. Also, everyone else is doing merchandising with a particular category, but we are focusing on creating a category for movies, which is very loyal."

INOX forays into merchandising; expects Rs 7 crore revenue in first year

Moreover, Vishal believes, it will be far easier for INOX to advertise its products. "We will have a push mechanism, unlike others who will have to pull the customer to their site. They will have to advertise to promote its products. INOX has eight crore consumers. So, we can prompt them on our website, while buying tickets, and expose them to multiple levels of marketing in the cinema. We have a ready-made audience. We just have to create a visible opportunity for them to take notice and then convert them into a consumer."

In October last year, INOX had announced a tie-up with ITC’s ‘Kitchens of India’ ready-to-eat brand of Indian cuisines across all its multiplexes in India. Along with this, it had listed itself on food ordering apps Swiggy and Zomato, with plans to position its three food brands - Café Unwind, Insignia and Delights - into full-service restaurants to target non-cinema customers.

In an earlier interview with afaqs!, Dinesh Hariharan, vice president, food and beverages, INOX, had said, "Our thought process has to be 'Now Showing' to 'Now Serving'."

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