Online Sales Channel is Our Biggest Competition: Samrat International

  • Samrat International retails LG, Sony, Samsung, Panasonic and various other consumer electronics brands in Gurugram
  • Anil Sikri, business founder, Samrat International, said that digital payments account for 90 per cent transactions at his consumer electronics showroom
Smrat International Gurugram Front

Samrat International, located in Gurugram’s Jacubpura Road, is one of the oldest consumer electronics showrooms in Delhi NCR. Anil Sikri (AS), in an exclusive conversation with EFY Group’s Rajeev Kumar shed light on the challenges offline retailers are facing in metropolitan cities.

He said, “Digital payments cost us 1.5 per cent margins but it is not the case when payments are made via Paytm account. We are ready to give-away these 1.5 margins but we won’t let go of our customers. Our priority is to maintain best services and flexibility in the payment modes.”

More interesting excerpts follow

ACE – When did you start this business? Why Consumer Electronics and Home Appliances?

Anil Sikri, Business Founder, Samrat International

AS – Being a guy I was always interested in gadgets and consumer electronics and hence thought of making my passion into profession. This consumer electronics business is fruit of my love for gadgets, TVs and other consumer electronics. We started this business in 2001.

As a matter of fact, my younger brothers are also into consumer electronics business now. We all manage this consumer electronics showroom together. We were also distributors of Videocon home appliances in the past. Samrat International currently deals in Panasonic, Sony, LG, Samsung, IFB, Haier, Whirlpool, Hitachi and Voltas brands.

ACE – What’s your vision for consumer electronics business and for India’s appliances and consumer electronics (ACE) industry?

AS – It has been 18 years that we have ran this business successfully. We three brothers want to open more consumer electronics retail stores under the Samrat International name. We are also trying to tie-up with consumer electronics companies in order to become their distributors.

India’s ACE Industry is growing at a very fast pace. A lot of new Indian as well as foreign brands are entering the market. Samsung and Haier have started their manufacturing facilities here as well. There may be a slow phase now but the time when India is counted as a hub of consumer electronics is not that far away.

ACE – How has been business this financial Year?

AS – It has been a mixed year so far. Currently, we are not doing good. I think the entire consumer electronics business is facing this problem for the past three years.

The competition has increased and the prices have come down. Every consumer electronics brand, retailer and distributor that I know is trying to put efforts to sustain themselves in the market.

ACE – Are you following any strategy to develop your sales team?

AS – For running any business you need a good team and we maintain that goodness by getting regular training organized. In fact, each brand that we deal in keeps organizing sales training and some even deploy their own staff at our showroom.

Additionally we also keep track of the questions that most of the consumers ask. This helps us keep ready for all kinds of questions. Apart from product knowledge, we also conduct training on stock management, display management and post-sales services. Weekly meetings help us decide the course for next seven days.

ACE – Do you follow any strategy around the stock of discontinued or obsolete products? How to avoid losses in such cases?

AS – Yes, this is true that technology is evolving on a fast pace. This pace is even faster the consumer electronics space. India’s young generation is tech as well as money-savvy. While this is great news for the country, consumer electronics market is suffering a lot because of the same.

However, brands are now helpful to their sales channels. They issue schemes around outdated products. We also pitch such products to people who want to use the basic features. There are also people who do not want the best of technology. Such people prefer budget friendly consumer electronics.

ACE – Are you witnessing any competition from the online sales channel?

AS – Online channel has always been a tough competition to offline consumer electronics retailers. This competition is even tougher in metropolitan cities like Delhi and Gurugram. Almost every consumer who walks in to our store compares online and offline prices of consumer electronics. At times it becomes difficult for us to offer a particular model at prices it is available on the online channel.

Additionally, there are some models which are exclusively available in the online channel, and some in the offline one. This also creates problems for us. The scenario is improving but I think it will take a long time.

ACE – Is there any increase in the number of people opting for digital payments at your store? What about financing consumer electronics?

AS – Yes, we accept all types of digital payments like credit cards, debit cards, Paytm etc. In fact 90 per cent of people who walk into our store prefer to make digital payments.

Digital payments cost us 1.5 per cent margins but it is not the case when payments are made via Paytm account. We are ready to give-away these 1.5 margins but we won’t let go of our customers.

Our priority is to maintain best services and flexibility in the payment modes. Finance on consumer electronics at our showroom is generally done through Bajaj Finance and credit cards.