Planet Superheroes is on a mission to take over the country one store at a time!

Ready, steady, fly!

Planet Superheroes recently announced its store expansion footprint to go beyond the metros of India. With six new retail stores in the last quarter – they have expanded into towns like Jabalpur, Surat, Mangalore, and Vapi making the total count at 25 across India. With 10 more stores opening in the next quarter, Planet Superheroes is leading the way in terms of its omnichannel footprint across both physical and online channels.

Planet Superheroes was launched in 2014 to cater to the huge comic fan community of India which was hungry for a brand focused on providing officially licensed character merchandise. In a market that had been widely polluted with counterfeit products, Planet Superheroes took the leap of faith that Indian customers wanted value for money and preferred official merchandise with consistent quality over counterfeit products. They have now established themselves as a market leader in just under five years both in terms of retail footprint and in the breadth of characters and categories they sell. They have also established a pan India distribution in the toys category to cater to the Mom and Pop Stores of India that still rely on traditional distribution channels.

In terms of licensing partnerships, they work with almost every major licensor from Disney, Warner Brothers, EONE, Viacom, Spin Master and Hasbro bringing joy to its end customers across age categories from Pre-School to hardcore Action Figure Fans who have no age limit! They sell 50+ categories from Apparel, Toys, Collectibles, Electronics and Accessories to name a few. They have also been winners of the Comic-Con Gold Awards for two years in succession.

Licensing in India

The Annual Global Licensing Industry Survey 2018 estimated that the global licensing industry is worth $271.6 Bn. However, licensing in India is still at a nascent stage. But the entry of licensees like Planet Superheroes, coupled with advancements in technology and ever-expanding marketplaces have provided the much-needed tailwinds needed for the growth of this sector. There is still a lack of retail players as traditional retailers do not understand the power of curation. As one of the earliest licensed merchandise brands, Planet Superheroes started focusing on creating ‘character merchandise’ as a category in itself and became a forerunner in bringing this concept to end consumers. While brands like Hamleys, Reliance, Lifestyle etc. also sell character merchandise in silos under Apparel, Electronics, Toys, Planet Superheroes has taken a contrarian “curated category” approach on the lines of other global players in the world that have succeeded in this space.

Challenges

The most important challenge in retail is managing the expectations of the mall owners who often expect Planet Superheroes’ “trading density” (Revenue per square foot) to be on par with other premium fashion brands. This is a challenge because, despite the better than average conversion, the average price of these products are much lower compared to the bigger brands who command a much larger premium. However, after successfully executing its first 5 stores and proving the value addition, most mall operators now approach them to become a part of their upcoming mall launches because of the uniqueness and customer engagement value that they bring to the mall. They currently work with almost all the marquee mall developers from Phoenix Mills, Viviana, Nexus, Infiniti, VR Mall and Forum to name a few.

Way Forward

Planet Superheroes will continue to expand its retail footprint into territories that are underserved. Their next focus will be in the Eastern and Northern parts of India going as far as Guwahati in the North East of India. Planet Superheroes is a brand with a technology DNA – their technical ambitions surpass their current scale. While most retailers 5x their size have started thinking about these problems, Planet Superheroes has been quietly investing in leveraging automation, data-warehousing and intelligent algorithms to crack the complex world of omnichannel inventory management. They strongly believe that their robust tech infrastructure and process-driven expansion would be key differentiators as they scale from store number 25 to 100.

Special thanks to Jaineel Aga & Nikita Zankar from Team PlanetSuperHeroes.

 

 

6 Trends and Takeaways from Comic-Con

In addition to all the awesome swag, we left San Diego with a metaphorical loot bag chock full of insights. Lucky for you, we’re willing to share.

The key to brand longevity is a solid, devoted fanbase, and there is perhaps nowhere on Earth where fans are more visible than the annual San Diego Comic-Con International, which this year celebrated its 50th anniversary. Comic-Con presents the unique opportunity to be on the ground with the world’s uber-fans and see firsthand what brands and products they are responding to, in what has become a very crowded character and entertainment landscape. Here’s what we saw:

Snoopy Travels to the Moon

NASA (and Space Travel in General) is Having a Moment

Driven in large part by the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, fans and brands are showing a renewed interest not just in fictional space travel but the real deal. Peanut’s NASA collab got a pop-up museum/store in a prime location just outside the convention center, and NASA itself had a booth in the hall with a VR experience. NASA also hosted a number of panels about the organization’s ongoing search for extraterrestrial life and its efforts to send humans to Mars. As the Apollo 11 mission proved 50 years ago and the anniversary is reminding us, sometimes real-life feats of human bravery and accomplishment can be just as, if not more, exhilarating and unifying than those of fiction.

The Big Ones are Still Big

Star Wars Sith TrooperThe pure variety of characters and brands on display at Comic-Con can be a bit overwhelming, but for the most part the brands that made the most noise (and stood out in the crowded hall) were the familiar, studio mainstays: Star Wars (unveiled the new Sith Trooper from the forthcoming The Rise of Skywalker), Star Trek (made a big push for the upcoming origins series Picard), Avengers (made sure fans knew that Endgame is far from the end).

Given all this, the streamers’ presence felt subdued. Netflix’s Stranger Things and Umbrella Academy had some fan-driven buzz (with UA’s Klaus in particular appearing to be a favorite).  While the traditional studios spent big on splashy booths in the hall, the streamers seemed to focus more on content teasers (Netflix’s Dark Crystal in particular had people talking.) One notable exception was Amazon, which had a massive exterior activation located about a half mile from the convention center (free to everyone, not just CC attendees) to promote three upcoming shows: The Boys, Carnival Row and The Expanse.

The heavy focus on streamer content makes sense ­– originals are now crucial for these platforms with the competitive landscape expanding and studios pulling their back catalogs in-house as they launch their own streaming services.

Villains are the New Heroes

Villains Harley Quinn Comic-ConVillains have always been essential to any good plotline, but the glory tends to go to the heroes. Not so anymore though, as villains are increasingly getting the hero treatment in the form of coveted merch, cosplay tributes and standalone content.

A few examples: WB’s Suicide Squad featuring an entire crew of supervillains including Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang and Killer Croc is getting two follow-up films in the next two years; Marvel villain Loki was the inspiration behind the audience-selected winning dress at the annual Her Universe Comic Con fashion show this year; Angelina Jolie will return as Maleficent later this year; Avengers Endgame supervillain Thanos is getting major merch love in the form of toys, apparel, costumes and more.

We could go on and on, but you get the point. The complex, conflicted personas of some of the best bad guys are clearly hitting home with today’s audiences.

Star Trek Picard Museum

A Deep Storyline = Longevity

The most long-lasting brands are built within deep, intricate universes that can explored and mined for decades. Two of the best examples of this – Star Wars and Star Trek – both had great showcases this year. CBS’s Picard, which is set to premiere exclusively on the network’s All-Access streaming platform in early 2020, was featured in a special off-site museum that delved into the life of the starship captain complete with detailed descriptions and artifacts. Meanwhile, Disney had the whole show floor in a tizzy when it revealed an all-new stormtrooper, which will make its debut in the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – the Sith Trooper. The true brand-building power comes from the book series, that’s what keeps brands (and fanbases) alive in the fallow years between major TV/film releases, bridging the gaps in storylines and telling the before and after that fans are hungry for.

Licensing Takes a Prominent Place at the Fandom Feast

First Comic-ConNaturally after 50 years, things were going to change a little bit, but this year those changes were somehow more evident. About 15 years ago, Comic-Con started shifting from comics to pop culture. Now Comic-Con is celebration of fandom as lifestyle and a big part of that lifestyle is the merch that helps you express and celebrate your favorite brands. Enter licensing, which has helped to vastly increase the range and diversity of the types of products now available to fans on the Comic-Con show floor and at retail.

The t-shirt towers aren’t gone, but they are no longer the only show in town, as other merchants showcase eclectic merchandise like cereal, accessories, skateboards, sneakers and more.

Comic-Con Today Family Friendly

Throw in the fact that Comic-Con has now become a family affair with parents and children attending together, and you’ve got a bigger, more diverse fanbase than ever before eager for product to support their passion. This show featured more exclusive products than ever before and fans ate it up. We had reports from the the Borderlands and Star Trek exhibits that they sold every single piece of merch they brought to the show.

Where are the POD Players?

Given the fan-driven nature of Comic-Con, the major print-on-demand players should feel right at home on the show floor and yet they are nowhere to be found. We hear rumors that that is likely to change in future years, and that’s great news, because the fact is, the true essence of Comic-Con is kept alive by the artists. POD platforms have the opportunity to provide some structure and legitimacy in this space, to bring Comic-Con to the masses in a way, long after the convention center doors have closed.

Source: https://licensinginternational.org/news/6-takeaways-from-comic-con/