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AFL launches TouchWorld, forays into ‘convenience services’ retail segment

22-February-2006
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AFL launches TouchWorld, forays into ‘convenience services’ retail segment

AFL, an integrated supply chain service in India, has launched AFL TouchWorld, a ‘convenience services’ retail chain, which will offer services like Forex, money transfer, international telephony, international and domestic courier, travel insurance and e-ticketing, etc.

The AFL TouchWorld store will be a small format outlet, which will be driven by technology, offering the highest levels of customer service in a professional atmosphere. It will be situated at a convenient high street location.

The AFL TouchWorld brand will be primarily focussed on attracting footfalls from the growing market of People of Indian Origin (PIO) travelling to India, relatives of PIOs in India, Indians travelling abroad and foreign nationals travelling to India, who would be able to avail the various services offered at the AFL TouchWorld store to keep in touch with their own world. They can receive money, buy foreign exchange, make international calls at competitive rates, send gifts by courier, and buy low cost airline tickets for their travel requirements.

To begin with, AFL has set up the first TouchWorld store near Regal Cinema in south Mumbai and plans to expand to all major Indian cities in the near future.

Announcing this, Cyrus Guzder, Chairman and Managing Director, AFL, said, “Over the last six decades, AFL has been providing end-to-end solutions in the area of supply chain management and express services. AFL brings convenience to its customers through its world-class customer service, technology infrastructure and vast network. With the launch of TouchWorld, we are entering a new line of business and we hope to offer the same single-window experience to our retail customers that we are trusted for by our corporate clients. As the Indian economy continues to grow, more customers will need these ‘convenience services’. I am delighted that leading service brands such as Western Union, Air Deccan, and Phonewala have affirmed their faith in AFL by offering their products at the TouchWorld store.”

The advertising plan for AFL involves below the line medium along with print advertising, but in a limited way. With TouchWorld, AFL intends to increase its business turnover from the current $150 crore to $600 crore by the third year.

With over 20 million PIOs living abroad, 2 million foreign tourists visiting India every year and over 6 million Indians travelling abroad, the convenience services market offers a very large base for AFL TouchWorld to expand and offer its services to this customer base.

To begin with, the brands offering their services at AFL TouchWorld include Western Union (money transfer), Air Deccan (e-ticketing), Phonewala.com (international telephony) and American Express (traveller cheques).

Commenting on AFL TouchWorld’s expansion plans, Manoj Chandra, Head-Market Development & Brand Communications, AFL, said, “AFL TouchWorld is aimed at meeting all needs of the customer to keep in touch with their loved ones abroad. With economical rates, a nice and clean store ambience and great customer service, we hope to capture a large customer base in the coming year. Our first store has received an enthusiastic response and we will now rapidly expand the TouchWorld chain across India in the coming year.”

The plan is to open over 20 AFL TouchWorld outlets in major cities and towns by next year. More ‘convenience services’ will be added at the store over a period of time. The chain will also be expanded by appointing franchisees, and these outlets will be titled ‘TouchWorld Express’. AFL TouchWorld Express will add around 25-50 such franchised outlets every year to its retail network.

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