These stores would be spread out across India, with 15 cities already identified, including Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Delhi, Chennai, Nagpur, Gurgoan, Bhopal, Visakapatnam, Goa, Chandigarh, Vijayawada, and Mysore.
Some of these will be express stores with a smaller area of 400 to 500 sq foot or larger ones of up to 1,200 sq foot. The type of store opened will depend on the demography of the location.
At the moment, the offshoot of nutraceutical and health foods company Genomelabs currently operates three stores in Hyderabad which is between 700 to 1,200 sq foot. It will soon open another store in Mumbai.
Founder Suresh Raju told NutraIngredients-Asia that the plan to open 50 new stores would incur an investment of about INR$600m (US$7.9m), which he said would consist of self-funding from the company, as well as fund-raising drives in the upcoming year.
“We have chosen areas with good spending power, good awareness about nutrition and healthy lifestyles [to set up new stores],” he said.
With in-store nutrition counsellors, these stores currently offer assessments on consumers’ health metrics, such as their BMI and body water concentration for free.
“Anybody can walk into our stores and in store nutritionists will conduct and assess the report and recommend products accordingly.
“If they want to lose weight, they will start with products to lose weight, if they have to gain weight, they will give them whey protein or plant protein-based products.”
Emphasising its position as an omni-channel retailer, he pointed out that the company also sell products online on its official website.
Aside from the stores’ expansion, the company plans to offer additional health screening services, focusing on hair scalp and skin health in all stores. However, in view of the COVID-19 safe distancing measures, the plan will only take place further down the road.
“There are three areas that we want to do, one is overall wellness, second is fitness, third is beauty. All these three areas require nutrition.”
The tests will be non-invasive, meaning no injection is involved.
For example, the hair scalp scan is done via a small camera connected to a computer or iPad to measure the number of hair follicles on the scalp.
For the skin test, UV light will be used to assess damages on the skin.
The in-store nutritionists will then make nutrition recommendations based on the results. Such services will be introduced to all of the stores.
Products from major brands including GNC, Nestle, are sold in Fitday’s offline stores, on top of those from brands owned by parent company Genomelabs, including same name brand Fitday, Floney, Super Diet, Super Herb, HI-VOLT, and GINST 15.
Product categories sold range from sports nutrition, weight management, herbs and Ayurveda, VMS, to kids’ nutrition, and breakfast, snacks, tea, and coffee.
Complementing online presence
Offline stores expansion can help complement its online sales, Suresh explained.
The COVID-19 pandemic has in general, increased online sales activities and Suresh believes that the trend is set to continue. The company’s revenue was INR$30m (US$398k) last year.
However, being a new entrant to the market, the one-year-old firm said it would need to build up its reputation against major competitors such as Amazon and Flipkart.
“If you are physically present, there is reliability and trust and growth,” he said, citing how Amazon has also set up offline stores known as Amazon Go, a partially automated store in the US.
At the moment, about 15 to 20 per cent of the sales are coming from online, with the remaining from offline sales.
To establish itself as a health and nutrition products retailer both online and offline, Suresh believes that the company would need to offer unique services and providing scalp, skin condition screening is a way to do so.
“The hybrid model [consisting of online and offline sales] is the future…Moving forward, we want Fitday to be the go-to health retailer for consumers.”
The retailer also recently introduced new SKUs to its offline stores. They include packaged whey protein ice-cream, smoothies, and fresh juices.
Due to the pandemic, the products are to be consumed as takeaways.