The penchant among youth for superheroes is not a secret, but given the cold air around toys for teenagers, there is a serious dearth of the right kind of merchandise in this segment. And this is what Devesh Chhabria aims to address through Superhero Toy Store - an online platform for selling superhero collectibles, action figures, and posters. A finance graduate, Chhabria defines his ideal target audience as the ‘man child’ who secretly believes in the superheroes.
Talk to us about Superhero Toy Store.
Superhero Toy Store is the one stop solution for action figures and collectibles. What feedback we traditionally get from our customers is that we are basically their haven, their access to the stuff that they never had, access to quality merchandise at great prices. Over the time we are being able to curate a market at price points which are affordable. At the same time, the reason that customers keep coming back to us and not to likes of Amazon is the level of interaction we give them, be in by way they shop wherein we have a chat window, we are continuously responsive to emails. Superhero Toy Store is about connecting people to their passion and getting them the stuff that is right for them.
What is the need that you are addressing?
I always wanted to do something related to feeding the people with their passion. I grew up on He-Man, G.I. Joe, Batman, Superman etc. When I was ideating for my next concept, I thought why not work with toys because that’s what I love and it is still an untapped market. Traditionally mom and pop retailers or even modern retailers don’t tap to the demand of individuals of my age. Even though the product is made for us, salesmen are not oriented towards it. If a 15 plus lad goes to buy toys, it is yet looked down upon in majority of India, while metros have passed it. My point was why not open something which gives people passionate for their superheroes.
How would you define your target audiences?
My target audience is between 18 to 40 years and I would like to call it the ‘man-child’ which is the late teens to one level after the baby boomers. We all want to connect to some form of superhero. Someone may think of himself as the cape crusader and is passionate about superman. He would want a superman on his desk.
How has brand licensing helped you?
We deal more in global brands and we bank on the quality these global brands bring in. I think licensing is a journey which is very essential where you need to find right suppliers, right quality and right audiences. We deal in Diamond Select Toys, Kotobukiya, Square Enix, DC Collectibles, Hasbro, Mattel, Dark Horse Comics.
What are the retail points that you are present at?
So we are gradually moving into offline space as a lot of customers want to come and see the merchandise. Though they do this at our office, but we want to give them an environment that is lot more conducive. Currently retail presence is online because there is co-demand in the metros and smaller cities where there is demand but not as large to open physical stores. The offline price point start from Rs 99 and go up to Rs 40,000. Online the price range is from Rs. 499 to around Rs 90,000.
Talk to us about your plans to scale up.
We want to launch physical outlets in metros starting with Delhi and Mumbai. And then we want to extend ourselves into sports, we are looking for football. Cricket doesn’t have that kind of merchandise yet. Most of it is restricted to T-shirts, though some merchandise has been created around Dhoni, but it is barely there. I being a Steve Jobs fan would also want to extend in business catergory along with automobiles.