Gopal Jeyaraj (GJ), head, SAARC & India, Anker Innovations, in an exclusive conversation with EFY Group credited Anker’s channel partners as the prime reason behind its 100 per cent year-on-year growth in India. He shared that unlike many other brands, who focus on end-consumers, Anker’s focus is more towards the retailers.
“Anker’s Russia trip for its channel partners is an example of how focussed we are to develop our strategy and channels in India. We want to make our channel partners feel happy about their association with us,” noted GJ.
“The question that we ask our partners is always the same – Rs 500 margin on a Rs 25,000 product or Rs 500 margin on a Rs 3,000 product, where will you like to invest,” added GJ
The company is now present in 70 countries. Anker Innovations operates several brands under its umbrella and is also planning to bring one more brand to the country.
Here are some more interesting excerpts from the interaction
ACE – How are Anker products different from others?
GJ – Anker innovations, under its umbrella, operates five brands: First is Anker which is focused on charging, the second one is SoundCore which focusses on Bluetooth audio products. The third brand is Nebula which focusses on smart projectors while the fourth brand is Eufy which is into smart home appliances and smart security. The fifth brand is Roav, which is into smart car products.
Anker has retained its position for so long because we spend a lot in R&D every year. We try to make products that are more focussed on technology and innovation rather than focusing on matching prices with other brands available in the market. We want to offer products which are more durable and more competitive in technology.
ACE – How was the last financial year and how’s this year turning out to be for you in India?
GJ – We have grown twice in comparison to last year. The average growth for us, since we entered India in 2017, is almost 100 per cent. In fact, we are now present in over 70 countries in the world.
For 2020 also, our plan is to continue the growth rate. When I say it has been a fine growth, it’s all five brands put together. The reason and confidence behind this growth is our sales channel partners. We have some of the best channel partners a brand could wish for in India.
ACE – You recently took some of your India-based channel partners on a trip to Russia. What does that move signify?
GJ – We as a brand, are currently focusing on developing our channels and creating a strong base for us. So, whatever channel partners and retail partners we have are the ones who made this development extraordinary for us within a short span of time.
Anker as a brand in India was established in 2017. Ideally speaking, we are just a two years old brand, but we have been doing much better than what other brands have achieved in the last 10 years. This achievement is all because of our channel partners in the retail sector.
“Anker’s Russia trip for its channel partners is an example of how focussed we are to develop our strategy and channels in India. We want to make our channel partners happy about their association with us. The Russia trip was for channel partners of one of our brands called SoundCore.
This scheme was in-fact very much appreciated and accepted by even tier II and tier III retailers. We are also planning to introduce more such schemes for all our five brands.
It is simple, some brands focus on end consumers to drive the traffic, and some brands focus on retailers, where the conversion happens at the point of sale. Our strategy is to focus more on our retailers because they are the ones representing our brand to the end consumers.
ACE – When you say that you plan to grow twice in the next financial year, does that mean you would also be expanding your distribution and sales channel?
GJ – Currently, we have four major national distributors in India. We are also in talks with one more national level distributor for an upcoming brand.
Anker has national distributors for all its five brands. Then we have one distributor for Anker who handles large format stores and APR stores. Now, we are in talks with a national distributor, who will be taking care of our upcoming brand in the smart home appliances ans smart security products vertical. This brand Eufy, will be introduced in India, during the first quarter of 2020.
When it comes to retail base, we have covered the general phased channel, large format retail and organised regional channels almost completely. In online, we have presence over Amazon India, and we will soon be entering Flipkart as well.
Currently, we’re focusing on tier-I channel and maybe in 2020, we will establish ourselves strongly into tier two and tier three channels. Establishing our WOD (Width of Distribution), to have more focused and strong retail partners for all our five brands, is our plan for 2020.
ACE – You noted that you already have four national distributors and you would be adding one more. What’s the model that’s followed then? Is it up to national distributors to go ahead and appoint dealers and retailers, or how does it work?
GJ – We follow a unique channel model. Under national distributors, we have some distributors for each state, then for different cities.
These distributors on the state level help us in going to the retail. So, it is national distributors, sub-distributors and then retailers. When it comes to large format stores like Reliance and Croma, our national distributors directly lead there.
ACE – Let’s suppose that a guy is interested in taking dealership or distributorship of Anker, then what is the criteria that must be fulfilled for you to consider him?
GJ – For identifying distributors for cities, we mostly focus on telecom distributors. The criteria include not to have a conflict in categories.
For example, Anker is into charging accessories with power bank cables and chargers. If a distributor is already dealing in same products of some other brand, we might not have him on board with us because we don’t want any distributors to have a conflict in categories because of two different brands.
ACE – That was the dealer part. Why should somebody join your sales channel? What’s in it for him? What kind of support does Anker give to dealers and distributors and retailers?
GJ – When we explain Anker as a brand, we stress on overall solution. We will have different national distributors for different brands. However, when it comes to sub distributors and retailers, for them the value is in dealing with not one but five different brands.
For someone dealing in Anker, we will give them an opportunity to deal in SoundCore, an opportunity to deal in Nebula. So, the idea is you get to deal in five different product portfolios under one umbrella.
Then comes the margins part. Would you like to make Rs 500 margin on a Rs 25,000 product or the same margin on a Rs 3,000 product? That is what we ask our channel partners. We treat their investment as our own investment.
We are globally strong and present in 70 countries now. This makes it easy for channel partners to understand that this brand is not going to vanish.
ACE – Where is your focus right now, online channel or offline channel?
GJ – Why limit yourself to one channel? We want to be present in both and we are working for expansion around the same. For dealers and retailers, we keep a good share in the margins. When it comes to consumers, our products are aggressively priced.
Our biggest strength is keeping the prices same for the online as well as the offline channel. That’s has given us a lot of attention in both the channels. Anker does not want to cannibalise sales from either of these channels.
ACE – When you introduce a new brand in the first quarter of 2020, will your existing channel partners will be given preference to deal in those products or would you be open to adding new channel partners for that as well?
GJ – One of the reasons that retailers and distributors are happy with us is because if they sign one brand, then they will have an opportunity to do five brands for Anker. We normally consider our existing distributors as our first choice for preferred partners when we launch a new brand or category of product.
If they feel that this category is totally diversifying for them, then only we will go and approach a new channel partner for us in any city.
Author – Mukul Yudhveer Singh. An avid reader, Mukul finds peace in books and technology. He’s as passionate about writing as he is about cricket and Playstation. If not writing or reading, you will most likely find him drawing tattoo designs or analyzing political campaigns.