The company is planning to launch refrigerators and air-conditioners in the country. It is already retailing Bluetooth speakers, washing machines, TVs, heaters and air coolers in India
Vinit Agrawal (VA), Marketing Director, Aisen India, in an exclusive interaction with EFY Group, shared insights on the consumer electronics industry in India. He said Aisen focuses on expanding its reach in the smaller towns and rural markets, before entering metropolitan cities.
Aisen’s expansion strategy includes opening service centers before establishing sales channel in any area. Here are some more interesting excerpts from the interaction:
Que – What was the idea behind launching Aisen In India?
VA – We started with air coolers business about five-six years back. At that time we were already doing OEM business for other consumer electronics companies in India. Soon, we realized that we have a very strong distributor network in the country and hence we decided to introduce our own brand in the country. With the company being present in the ACE industry for about 35 years, it was quite a natural thing for us to launch our own brand here.
We are the first Indian brand to give three years warranty on TVs. Our vision is to build our presence in all districts in the country and aim for a 10 per cent market share in this category. We target to be among top five Indian consumer durable brands with presence in all the categories by 2020.
Que – You are presently offering products including TVs, speakers, air coolers, heaters and washing machines. Are there plans to introduce Aisen products in more consumer electronics verticals? What about smartphones?
VA – Yes, we will be launching refrigerators in India in the first half of 2019. Our refrigerator line-up for India is in its last stage of testing. Aisen will also be introducing air-conditioners in India next year.
Smartphones is a different channel altogether. We would like to focus more on our strengths. Right now, we are working on what we are strong in. Aisen wants to concentrate on expanding its reach to every corner of the country.
Que – Out of TVs, speakers, air coolers, heaters and washing machine verticals, which are you strongest in?
VA – We are strongest in the air coolers category as we have been working on it since last four years. Washing-machines and heaters are new fronts for us. We are trying to build it up from a scratch. In the past few months we have also built a strong presence in the tower Speakers & Home theatres (2.1,4.1,5.1 Channel) categories. We believe the future of consumer durable industry is in the TV and Audio categories, where it will be all about re-invention, quick adaptation and tailoring solutions as per what the audience needs.
Aisen had launched heaters in the middle of the last season. We believe that there is more to explore and we are waiting for the next winter season to introduce some more heaters in India.
Que – Which regions in India is Aisen strongest in? Which Indian regions you are planning to expand in future?
VA – Right now we are doing very well in U.P, Uttarakhand, Mumbai, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and North Gujrat. We have a strong distributor and retail network in these areas. We have covered Orissa, Assam, North Bengal and parts of Bihar also.
Covering the entire state of Gujarat, M.P and Tamil Nadu is next on our priority list. We have been meeting distributors and retailers from these states from last few months. I hope that we will be fully functional in these states before the refrigerator season kicks in India.
Being a ‘Make in India’ brand, we have a strong foothold in the country. Aisen has been bringing tailor-made solutions to meet the needs of its audience since the very beginning. Keeping the same mantra in mind, our walk and rock series comes with in-built battery which has a playback time of upto 4 hours! So, even in rural market where there is interrupted power supply, a consumer can enjoy uninterrupted music. We also offer the industry best warranty across all segments.
Que – How do you choose a retailer or distributor?
VA – Aisen is a channel-friendly company and we believe in growing with the channel partners. We consider our channel partners as an important part of our growth, as they do contribute to our brand image. Aisen works with distributors to fulfil the demand from corporates, retailers, resellers, and end customers in India.
We work closely with partners to develop profitable and sustainable businesses. In return, we reward the channel partners with training, certification, specialisation, business planning and marketing tools, as well as very competitive margins.Online channel is a very lucrative business these days. We are running a little bit behind the trend of online sales of consumer electronics. The distribution, on the other hand, is basically a free market and we see a lot of scope in small towns.
Our focus currently is on the B grade and C grade towns. In small towns a lot of people already own flat TV. Big group companies coming from outside India are definitely expanding, but none has been able to tap such towns. We have very strong references in such markets and this is our strategy.
We look for distributors and retailers who have strong reach in markets that fall beyond the Tier I level. It is simple for us – cover smaller towns before covering big cities.
Que – Retailers and distributors would like to know what’s in store for them after they associate with Aisen?
VA – Our strategy is not to go into the market just to sell and make profit. Yes, profits are critical but brand value is far more important for us. Our concern is to make the user happy at the end.
The time of providing installation services for an Aisen product is far less than any other brand in the industry. Our service network is also one of the fastest in the country. The margins we provide on our products are excellent as well. We keep on delivering new designs to keep our audiences entertained. We have everything that a distributor or a retailer thinks of an ideal brand.
We have also been inviting business leaders, who interested in associating with us, to our factory to see how products are manufactured and the kind of quality testing they go through. We believe in our products and want our sales network to believe in the same too. Our plan is to reach pan India by 2020.
Que – The states that you mentioned earlier, are you looking for distributors and retailers in those areas?
VA – Yes, we have started adding retailers and distributors in our sales network in many Indian states. However, we appoint service people before appointing sales network in any area.
India is a big market, and we want to enter new markets only after we are seen as a consumer-friendly brand in that area. People appoint sales persons first. We, on the other hand, appoint service people first. It is a process that we always follow – start with service network and end with sales network.
Que – What service model does your company follow? Is it door-to-door or is it from service centre to customer, how does it work?
Ans – We follow the on-freight service model. If it is a small speaker, user will have to bring it back to the store. In case of big products like TVs, air-coolers or heaters, its on-freight service.
If a person from Kerala buys an Aisen product from Mumbai and takes it to Kerala, irrespective of the fact that we are operating in Kerala or not, we will be providing after sales services to him at his place.