- This Gurugram based consumer electronics showroom deals in a lot of affordable brands
- Small ticket size consumer electronics, as per the showroom, sell most around festive seasons in India
Manjeet Singh (MS), owner, Bhagwati Electronics & Telecommunications, in an exclusive conversation with EFY’s Rajeev Kumar shared his thoughts on the debate of online vs offline consumer electronics retail channels in India. Manjeet Singh is of the view that Diwali is a festive season for all the businesses in the country.
He said, “Bhagwati Electronics and Telecom has grown to five stores from a small size showroom just because of our sales team. We never treat them as employee, are they always treated as a part of our family. MY strategy is to build a team stronger emotional connect than mere business connect. Most of the employees here have been with us for last 15 years.”
Here are some more interesting excerpts from the conversation
ACE – When did you start consumer electronics retail business? What was the reason for entering this business?
MS – I started this business in 2007 with a small showroom of mobile phones and telephone accessories. In early days of starting my career I used to work part-time at a mobile phone shop. While I was paid negligible salary there, my aim was to learn everything I could about the retail business of mobile phones and accessories.
Then I collected and borrowed all I can and started this mobile and accessories retail business in a small shop. Today we operate five showrooms – four that retail smartphones and accessories and one that retails consumer electronics. We started our fifth showroom last year only. We choose this business because I was always sure that mobile retail business will definitely grow in the future.
ACE – What’s your vision for your business and India’s ACE industry?
MS – My vision is to make Bhagwati Electronics & Telecom a large retail chain. We plan to open premium stores to capture premium market in consumer electronics as well. I think India’s ACE industry will grow because when I entered this business, mobile business was in its starting phase.
If we look at smart phones business, TVs business or accessories business, all of these have grown at a rapid rate. I am sure all other product categories will also grow in the coming times.
However, consumer electronics manufacturing in India is not growing at the pace it should have. We are still importing a lot of products from China and other countries. With the new govt in place, I am sure consumer electronics manufacturers will get a lot of respite in terms of policies.
ACE – What are your expansion plans in the near future?
MS – Currently we have five store in this market. Four of these stores deal in smartphones and accessories while our newest retails consumer electronics. The target audience or consumer of these stores are mostly budget oriented. These look for affordable yet impressive features in home appliances and TVs.
Now we are thinking of expanding our business to new locations. We are also considering nearby locations and opening a premium store. Our plans include opening four new stores in next two years.
ACE – How’s your business doing in this FY? There’s a lot of news of growth from the ACE sector—are you witnessing it too, in your business?
MS – Yes, we are witnessing good growth in the smartphone category from our stores, We are also doing good in the newly opened consumer electronics showroom. Home appliances and smart TVs are two verticals that are generating good revenues for us. Most of the consumers here prefer 40-inch TVs more than 32-inch TVs. There is also growth in the kitchen appliances category. Wireless speakers as a category is also growing.
I think the low price gap between smart and normal TVs is also diminishing. These low price gaps are also leading to smart TVs selling more than normal TVs.
ACE – Any product segments or brands that are affecting your business positively or negatively?
MS – There is a lot of competition in the smartphone business from small retailers in this locality. Many a times they sell products without GST bill because of which they are able to sell on lower prices then us.
If you talk about consumer electronics business, then there’s no issue at all. We are doing far better than a lot of retailers here.
ACE – Any new strategy implemented by your team in this FY that’s resulting in growth?
MS – We have been focusing on three things since our entry into this business. These include our brand name, product display and customer service.
Product Display – We always try to keep live display of consumer electronics in our store. For example if it’s a smart tv then it will always be connected to the Internet. Similarly, whether premium of mid-range, we have almost all major smartphone models placed on live display. Though most of the consumers here are budget centric, but since we started displaying double door refrigerators and fully automatic washing machines, their sales have increased too.
Store Branding – When we entered consumer electronics business we made one commitment to ourselves and thas was being able to catch attention of every passing person from this street. Our branding around our name and consumer electronics we deal in is so interesting that a lot of times people just walk-in to check products.
Customer Service- We try to maintain a database of customers who purchase consumer electronics from us. We always try to wish on life events like birthdays and anniversaries. We even cut birthday cakes for consumers visiting our showrooms and also celebrate birthdays of kids if parents are visiting to purchase gifts.
ACE – What’s your strategy for developing your team to guide and sell the right product to your customers?
MS – Bhagwati Electronics and Telecom has grown to five stores from a small size showroom just because of our sales team. We never treat them as employee, are they always treated as a part of our family. MY strategy is to build a team stronger emotional connect than mere business connect. Most of the employees here have been with us for last 15 years.
ACE – Do you indulge in B2B (institutional) sales also? If yes, how much of that is it, a percentage of your overall revenue?
MS – We are not focusing on B2B business but still we make good B2B Sales. These sales take place during festive season. In simple words B2B consumer electronics sales are default during Diwali in North India.
The products that sale the most during Diwali as corporate gifts include power banks, electric kettles, sandwich makes, juicer mixers, coffee makers, hair dryers, trimmers and other small ticket size consumer electronics. We are able to do that because our store is surrounded by Udyog Vihar and IT companies located in it.
ACE – How are you handling the challenges created by Online portals like Amazon and Flipkart?
MS – Yes, challenges from the online channel exist, but they are going away slowly and steadily. If I had to choose consumer electronics verticals that face most of these challenges from the online channel, then these would only be smartphones. Verticals like smart TVs and home appliances face no challenges from the online channel.
Even brands have started to help offline retailers now. They ave started following different model different channel policy that has helped us a lot. Now, we can easily match the prices available in online channel in the offline channel.
ACE – What’s your strategy for products that get discontinued or obsolete? Why so much focus on affordable consumer electronics brands?
MS – Every brands’ sales team visits our showroom every now and then. We also order products after careful planning. We try to liquidate outgoing models through sales and brands also help us in liquidating these products by offering discounts and schemes on these.
This area is surrounded by the middle class and lower middle class families. That is why we are trying to keep products available at affordable price on displays.
ACE – Are you accepting digital payments from customers through Debit Cards, Credit Cards, PayTM, etc? Are you seeing an increase in the same?
Yes, We accept all digital payments. I think this is very important now as without digital payments you cannot survive in the market. We are also witnessing good growth in business because of digital payments.
If consumer chooses to go for the digital payment option then it costs us around 1.5 per cent. When discounts go beyond the limit and hit our margins then we recommend them to use paytm or phonepe.